NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS AND NARCOTICS

Southwest Asia -- “Man, I need to buckle down and get promoted this year.”

“I’m gonna cut back on sugary drinks.”

“New year, new me.”

Yes, it’s that time of year where we spend a moment or two reflecting on the accomplishments and failures of the past 365 days. While some may have more fond memories of the previous year, the one thing that unites us going forward is hope…the hope that our family, careers and well-being will be in a better place this time next year based on the choices and decisions we make.

There’s a funny thing we should all recognize about hope though, and I believe my last boss said it best: “Hope is a powerful narcotic, but a poor course of action.”

In other words, we often know the answer to questions such as “what could possibly go wrong” or “what are the chances that (situation X) will happen if I do/do not take this step.” More often than not, we find that we stand in the way of our own progress, but we also have the ability to shape our own futures. Sometimes it may feel like we don’t have any cheerleaders in our corner, but we’ve seen countless documented cases of people overcoming the odds to perform great works.

This brings us to New Year’s resolutions. They are, quite honestly, the largest coordinated goal-setting exercise we know. Even though we’ve learned, through all levels of professional development and on-the-job experience, that a goal without a plan is as useless as a screen door on a submarine, we continually place ourselves in situations where hope is our primary course of action. That’s a foul on our part, no doubt.

Again, when making your New Year’s resolution, I encourage you to set “S.M.A.R.T.” goals; that is, ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. If any of these elements are missing, then we are effectively setting ourselves up for disappointment, are we not?

So go ahead. Devote 30 minutes of each day to preparing for that next promotion. Limit your soda consumption to one per week. Approach each day with confidence, competence, consistency and character. Dedicate yourself to making this year better than your last one. But, when you develop the plans needed to achieve your resolutions, do yourself a favor and lay off the narcotics…we don’t want McGruff the Crime Dog after us.