Goals & Resolutions for 2012

I have been thinking about what New Year’s Resolutions I should grab onto for this year, with an eye toward how easy it is to have so many I readily forget, propose unreachable ones that defeat me before I begin, or even such ideal ones that . . . well let me leave the ideal ones for the Übermensch or somebody else with the time and wherewithal to focus on the unfocusable.

With this said, taking stock of what is realistic and needed, without seeming like work (hey, who gets excited with focusing on work?), I want to try to do something new for 2012. I do not want to focus on giving anything up–that only stays exciting for a day and motivating for about two. I also don’t want to focus on cutting out or stopping anything, as that also feels like I am doing without (and once again, I will not realistically be able to maintain it).

This year I am hoping to take an appreciative inquiry-inspired approach to my 2012 goals. I am planning goals that will advocate doing something positive, rather than not doing something negative. I will reenforce the behavior and direction I want to promote, and leave the bad habits and such alone, as the focus on the good will help to reduce those more unpleasant ones. While I will avoid SMART goals, as that will add a certain amount of pressure that I don’t need (once again, too much like choosing to do work), I am hoping these will still meet those same criteria.

Thus, my 2012 goals and my New Year’s Resolutions are:

1. I Will Finish My Doctoral Thesis (Dissertation)

I have spent nearly all my life in college and university, and have a handful of degrees and such to demonstrate the wide breadth of knowledge and skills and experiences I have had along the way, but now ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I need to finish all of this formal stuff so I can in turn engage in all the nifty research and living that I have been putting on hold. I will finish my PhD (meaning defend it in the viva and fix anything that needs fixing) by the end of 2012.

2. I Will Engage in Fiscal Responsibility

I have never been good with money, and as I am self-funding my PhD now may not be the best time to start this, but I have to learn (or remember) some self-restraint. This does not mean I will get out of debt or stop spending anything (recall the appreciative inquiry above), but I certainly can have some restraint, something I will positively mention as engaging in doing something good, rather than focusing on stopping something not so good. I will focus on being responsible (something good) that still allows me to move about my day given my commitments and situation (cf. thesis work above).

3. I Will be Timely with Communication

Seems simple enough, though I tend to read emails or see Tweets or blog posts or the like, note to myself that I need to reply or post, and then move on. These electronic reminders then sit in my Inbox or in open tabs, while I busy myself with other tasks as I consider my replies and process or debrief what I want to reply to, or not. This means I at times take longer than I prefer to answer or file or delete (cf. Inbox Zero). So, rather than list exactly how long things will remain unanswered or unresponded to (too unbending for my personal life that will make this all feel like work), I will again focus on the positive by following the path of timeliness. Even as I am writing this I am down to only 6 items in my Inbox, so great strides are afoot!.

I have been working on this post for the past few days, and think it is now time to air in public. I know I wish to be around people who focus on these three seemingly unrelated items, and hope this will in turn help me to improve toward that unnamed person!

Resolutions, or Perhaps Not

Here we are at the beginning of another year. Most of us made it, and for that I am thankful. Being the season when it is common to look forward and back, I find myself thinking about what changes I want to make this year. However, do not think I will make any New Year’s Resolutions.

I know from my work in organizational and human resource development, that goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. I know that a resolution to lose weight is not specific enough to be measured. It is thus not attainable (how would I know when it happens?), and thus unrealistic. Timeliness does not even fit with it when thought of in this framework. The same goes with saving money, helping the needy more, being a nicer person, and the like.

The reason why I am not making any resolutions this year? For me, there are two reasons. Firstly, it is easy to be idealistic and unrealistic when so many people are thinking about the same things. Easy to get swept up into something that sounds lofty and admirable, though won’t last when times get tough. Secondly, the goals I may set today may not be the same ones I want tomorrow. Yes, I like consistency and smooth transitions with personal growth on a regular basis. With life as complicated and wonderful and chaotic and integrated, can I really set myself something that will, with my personality, make me driven to accomplish something that may continue to develop as I do?

Yes, I want to read more, be more holistic in my learning and teaching, and take a more balanced approach to decision making. I can transform these desires into SMART goals, load them into Outlook, create reminders and rewards, etc. Doing that, they would just feel like they were part of a system, with their own primal Kantian sense of duty; rather than be my own personal aspirations that I can develop when and how I please.

I prefer the these types of aspirations.

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