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Evaluating Resolutions and Goals Partway Through The Year
Three Quarters of the Way Through the Year
I like to re-evaluate my New Year's resolutions and goals at least a couple of times a year. It is encouraging to see how far I have come along, and to establish what I need to focus on moving forward.
Do you evaluate your goals periodically?
- Poll on evaluating your goals. Feel free to participate
- Origins of the tradition of New Year's resolutions
- The benefits of setting goals
- A link to an inspiring article on goals
- Re-evaluating goals
- The 8 key areas of life
- Table: examples of goals in each of the eight categories
- Walking can be a great exercise in reflection, illustrated by photos
- Looking back 4 years later
- Entertaining videos on New Year's resolutions
Feel free to comment at the bottom. I enjoy feedback from my readers!
The Origins of the Tradition of New Year's Resolutions
I was interested in seeing where this tradition started, so I read an article on a History website, as well as on a Wikipedia page.
According to History.com, "The practice of making resolutions for the new year is thought to have first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot. (They would reportedly vow to pay off debts and return borrowed farm equipment.)"
To learn more, click on the quote above, or on the link below.
- New Year's resolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The origins, participation, popular goals, and success rate of New Year's resolutions
The Benefits of Setting Goals
I know some people are not thrilled with the idea of making resolutions, and many are discouraged. Sometimes our good intentions fall by the wayside as life "gets in the way". But here are some of the benefits of making goals:
- It's a great way to take charge of your life
- It gives you more of a focus on things that are important to you
- It helps you to visualize your success
- It increases your awareness of your strengths and weaknesses
- It is motivating
- It gives you accountability
- It helps improve your performance and productivity
- It increases your confidence
- It gives you a sense of purpose and direction
- It gives you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment
To see these benefits, you have to not only set goals, but have the desire to accomplish them. It's important to take action toward attaining your goals.
- Goal setting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Goal setting involves establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted (S.M.A.R.T ) goals.
"Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too, can become great." ~ Mark Twain
The 8 Key Areas of Life
There are an endless supply of goals that can be made, but these are some of the basic areas of life:
- Hobbies and Interests
After 8 months, hopefully you have accomplished at least some of what you set out to do. But if you haven't done as good as you had hoped, don't worry- there's another three months left of the year! There's time, but the trick is to figure out what is the most important to you.
This is what I think about at this point:
- What have I accomplished from my list of goals so far?
- What did I accomplish that I didn't even write down?
- What did I do that went above and beyond my plans?
- What could I improve upon?
- What didn't I accomplish at all?
Looking at what I haven't yet accomplished:
- What is no longer a priority? Don't feel bad about tossing out some of your previous goals. Our lives continuously change, and what may seem important at one point may be completely irrelevant later on
- At this point in my life, which of the remaining goals need to be worked on? Which ones are the most important?
Thinking about where I want my life to go during the next few months, I decide on new goals to add to my list. They don't necessarily need to be attained by the end of the year, but it's good to get a "head start" on next year. As good as it feels to attain new year's resolutions, it can feel even better to get started on things that can be very valuable the following year. Just remember not to overwhelm yourself with goals, or you'll defeat the whole purpose of this exercise!
Appreciate your accomplishments, make improvements on partially completed tasks, maintain ongoing goals, and work on the ones that are your main priorities (old and new).
Another thing I like to do is to incorporate something fun into my goals. Make it a habit to incorporate something from the hobbies and interests category into your New Year's Resolutions or goals, and you won't dread accomplishing them!
Examples of Goals in Each Category
Take college courses
Cut down on junk food
Spend more time with family
Get out to meet new people
Call family to chat more often
Be friendly to others
Do writing exercises
Go to the doctor
Write letters to loved ones more often
Interact with others in online communities
Stop worrying so much
Drink plenty of water
Keep up with them on my social networks
Read great literature
Get more sleep
Nurture existing friendships
Rediscover old friends
Hobbies & Interests
Be a better person
Find more ways to make money
Learn about and practice poetry
Be more helpful to others
Learn to effectively budget money
Delve into photography
Be kind and charitable
Learn new skills
Create a savings nest egg
Learn how to code
Be thankful and appreciative
Find a new job that has great potential
Become financially independent
Plant a garden
Listen to people
Learn how to invest
Get better at drawing
Start a retirement account
Cook a new meal every month
Walking Can Be a Great Exercise in Reflection
I frequently go on walks in my South Boston neighborhood, and it is a great time to reflect on my life. It is also a very enjoyable experience that has been most helpful to me as I try to determine which direction I want to take my life in, and where I want to go. Whenever I go out, I bring my journal and camera, so I can record and photograph some of the beautiful moments of my life.
The photos below are from one of my walks during an early morning stroll around sunrise. I hope you enjoy them, as well as the comparison between walking and life.
The Journey of Life Is Like A Long WalkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Some of My Own Goals As Life Has Changed Drastically
My own life has changed quite a bit this year. I have had some very positive things happen, as well as some that most would consider negative. If you had asked me what I thought of it a couple of months ago, I would have thought it bad, as well. But in reality, this is just a stepping stone to something different. I can't call my life bad, when I hear so many sad and devastating stories of what others are going through at this time, or have been through. It is all a matter of perspective, and I like to believe that I can make my life great, as long as I put in the effort. The experiences I have had over the past few years have been invaluable, and I don't regret any of it.
Since my life has changed, so have my priorities. At the beginning of this year, I wanted to learn how to code (it's completely different than anything else I have done, and is basically like learning a new language). I also wanted to finish writing a book I started years ago. But since my time is limited, I will put those off until next year. Instead, I will focus most of my effort on:
- Enjoying Boston while I am still here
- Moving back to Connecticut
- Working enough to pay my bills and save money, as I will be living on my own for the first time since 2007 (and the second time in my life). For me, becoming financially independent is not only something that is desirable, it is necessary
- Learning to live more frugally, and within my means
- Managing my money well
- Budgeting my time effectively
On the heels of this year, I want to:
- Get a more sustainable job
- Buy a car
Looking Back Four Years Later
Reading this article many years later, I am happy with how far my life has come since then. I recognized my hurdles at that point as something that could potentially be life changing in a positive way, and I was correct. The last few months of that year were a challenge, but I did in fact move back to Connecticut, established my financial independence and enjoyed my life as it was. I had a part time job to hold me over until I found a more substantial one, and I stretched my dollars and made it work.
Many of the goals I have set for myself have come to fruition in the years since then, and I look forward to accomplishing more in the years to come. Good luck with your goals and resolutions, and please enjoy what you already have.