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01 January 2010

Once More, A New Beginning

Today is January 1, 2010. One hundred forty-seven years ago, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Fifty-one years ago, Fidel Castro upset Batista and took control of Cuba. Thirty-five years ago, Mitchell, Haldeman, and Erlichman were convicted of obstruction of justice in the Watergate debacle. Sixteen years ago, NAFTA went into effect. Six years ago, Myspace was officially launched. Three years ago, Adam Air Flight 574 disappeared over Indonesia with 102 people on board. One year ago today, the state of California made it illegal to write, send or read text messages while driving.

Looking back always brings a sense of amazement to me, especially when I sit poised on the brink of a new year. Who would have thought that Castro would still be in power fifty years later? Did anyone realize six years ago just how predominant social networking would become? How many people in California have violated the text messaging law? Thinking about these, and other seemingly irrelevant questions, causes me to think about things that are relevant, at least to me. What will 2010 bring for me and those that I love? How will I effect change in not only my life, but the lives of those that I touch? How can I serve others? Will I meet my goals for this year? What are my goals for this year?

Making New Year's resolutions is fairly common. While more women than men tend to make these life-changing goals, men are actually more likely to keep them! Why do we make resolutions at the beginning of the new year? There are as many reasons to make resolutions as there are people that make them. Think back over the past few years. What have your resolutions been? Have you kept them? If not, why not? If you have kept one (or more), how did you succeed?

The first stumbling block in making personal goals or resolutions is a simple, yet sometimes overwhelming, one. Remember to make your goals SMART. What is a SMART goal? Breaking it down, S stands for specific. Instead of making a generalized goal such as "I'm going to get healthier this year," make the goal specific, "I'm going to lose weight this year." M stands for measurable. Measure your weight loss plan by further detailing the goal to read "I'm going to lose ten pounds this year." A stands for attainable. While we are familiar with the phrase "Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss you'll land among the stars!", that mindset does not always work well for goal-setting. If you plan to lose weight, for example, make your goal an attainable one. Discounting measures such as surgery or other diet aids, is losing 150 pounds in one year an attainable goal? You may have that as a large goal, but set smaller attainable goals to reach your large goal. R stands for realistic. A realistic goal is exactly what it sounds like. If my goal to increase my bank account in 2010 is winning the lottery, well, I think you get the idea. Last, but certainly not least, is the T in SMART goals: timely. Set a time frame to achieve the goal you've set for yourself. I think that there should be an B on the beginning of this goal-setting phrase for begin. Why? If you don't begin, even the SMARTest of goals will not see completion.

What is your plan for 2010? My goals for this year are not overly complex. To graduate from nursing school in May and pass the NCLEX to become a registered nurse is one major goal. One other goal? Live each day so that I am a witness for God, being thankful for his abundant blessings.

God, you have stood in front of me, beside me, behind me, and even carried me over the past 45 years. Once more, I ask your mercy and grace in helping me through. Help me to be your emissary in the days to come, for it is truly through you that all things are possible!

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength."~Philippians 4:13 NIV

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