I am a firm believer in New Year’s resolutions. I love the New Year because it is a clean slate and a fresh start. Usually I try to set specific goals. As a life long believer that there is always room for self-improvement, I have also been a believer in goals for new behavior, such as send stories about the Quincy the Horse Books to 5 equestrian magazines, friend all new contacts on Facebook, ride each horse at least twice a week, and attend an equine assisted growth and learning conference.
Goals do have a downside though. They are a clear path to action and a source of motivation but they can also lead to guilt. People set goals to express the hope that they will follow through on their new behaviors. Guilt, which may occur when they are not able to get it all done, actually makes people feel worse and more immobilized in following through on their plans.
Another way of understanding the problem is to look at the difference between linear thinking and global thinking. I am a true linear thinker. This can be helpful because linear thinking gives direction. It makes me very effective in keeping on track and getting things done, and it helps multitasking because every task has a set of steps to completion. However, it is really tiring and can lead to rigidity. It also reinforces guilt when things do not go as planned, leads to becoming discouraged and to giving into the biggest enemy of the linear thinker, procrastination!
Given all this, I am going to do something different with my New Year’s resolutions this year. My hope is to master the art of bringing positive energy into my endeavors. I am not giving up on goals completely but I have decided to get outside of my comfort zone as a linear thinker and go global. I want to do this by focusing on global themes instead of specific behaviors. I want to see the big picture and be open to all sources of positive energy.
I have chosen 5 themes that are important to me. (For those fellow linear thinkers out there, remember it is counterproductive to rank the themes in order of importance.)
Integration– I am having a new Integrated Book Marketing Plan which addresses Direct to Reader marketing done by a professional to start 2012. I contracted for this in early December because I did not want to lose the great momentum that we built going into the Holiday Season this year. I am really excited about it and feeling lots of positive energy for the Quincy the Horse Books.
Friendship-It has been great spending time with family over the holidays and I am blessed with a wonderfully supportive family, but when it comes down to it, my friends are my bedrock. Friendship with its focus on getting and staying connected, being there for friends through good and bad times and receiving the love and support of friendship is an incredible source of life energy.
Enjoyment-I admit that as a linear thinker and goal directed person, I felt some guilt at including this theme. For the linear thinker, there are numerous traps where enjoyment is concerned. One is to put enjoyment last. Even worse, is the trap of believing enjoyment can only come once all tasks are completed, which in today’s busy, fast changing, multitasking world means never. The final trap is to try and derive enjoyment not from real enjoyment but from the successful completion of tasks. For sure allowing some enjoyment in life is crucial for survival in the 21st century.
Organization-I have all the arenas I need in my day to day world to work on this theme. Whether cleaning out the pictures files and old email on my computer, re-organizing the garage or spring cleaning the barn, this will be an active theme!
Health-In today’s world this is an important but daunting theme because there are so many problematic things in the environment that we cannot control. I have been trying to get my family onto a more organic regimen. I have found that this is a multiyear task and this starts year three. In New Mexico where little produce is grown, regular grocery stores actually had more organic fresh produce and canned items available. Where I now live in Pennsylvania, I am gardening more and this year we are joining a CSA Program for 2012. (See my upcoming post for more on CSAs.)
HAPPY NEW YEAR
PS: Global thinkers out there might consider setting some specific goals . . .