Don't Make a Resolution; Set a Goal Instead

“Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” – American author Hal Borland It’s that time of year again.

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“Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” – American author Hal Borland

It’s that time of year again. Everyone begins thinking about making resolutions for the coming year and some do come to fruition, but let’s face it, most don’t. I’m proposing that we should forget the New Year’s resolution and instead consider setting a goal.

What’s the difference? Well, in my mind a New Year’s resolution has become something that is almost meant to be broken. We procrastinate until a new year is once again upon us, only to re-up on our promises to ourselves (and feeling guilty in the process). On the other hand, goals are something we can all embrace. It’s what we’re often asked to do in our work lives and should be something we endeavor to achieve in our personal lives. There is no time limit unless we set one. The only thing that matters is that we make the commitment to ourselves and do it.

Take, for example, Michael Duquette, plant manager at B A Die Mold, Inc., and known to friends and family as “Marathon Mike”. When Mike was 47 years old, having achieved his initial goal of running the Chicago Marathon (several times by this point – no small feat), he set a new goal he called “50 by 60”. Mike set his sights on running a marathon in every state by the age of 60! It took him 11 fun-filled and challenging years, but he achieved his goal this year, on October 11, in Lake Tahoe, California, with his family by his side and friends and co-workers cheering him on from their respective places.

For Mike, his pursuit of “50 by 60” was more than a goal. In an article he wrote for the Naperville (Illinois) Running Company newsletter, he says, “This has been a life-changing journey for me…I had mixed feelings as I finished my 50th state. Kind of like eating the last piece of a delicious cake. It was great, but now it’s over. So what’s next?”

Already looking ahead, he answered that question with a new goal. He hopes to complete at least one marathon a year for many years to come.

“Working toward the 50-state marathon goal brought many unexpected benefits,” he explained. “Making a commitment to my running goal led to improved health, more deliberate decision making and greater self-confidence. Also, I was very surprised to see how my efforts affected others. Their reactions ranged from curious, to amazed and inspired. I gained respect from my coworkers, as they recognized my determination and focus. They rallied behind me, and it became a team effort of sorts, which spilled over into our work environment. Realizing that I’m one who follows through and doesn’t give up led to a positive new level in our working relationship.”

I may be taking this out of context, but these words that Mike used in his article to describe finishing a marathon also apply perfectly to achieving a goal: “Whether the course is brutal or simple, it is indescribably satisfying to complete the distance and cross that finish line.”

Mike’s story is inspiring, to say the least. What’s your goal and how is it affecting the way you live and work from day to day? I’d truly like to hear about it.

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