New Year New Changes
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
We all love new things. The smell of a new car. The cry of a new baby. The feel of new bed sheets when you lie on them for the first time. For us cooks, there is nothing like breaking in a new cooker. This time of year, our minds go to all things new. Once January 1st arrives, we have a new diet in place, a new plan to tackle the new year and a feeling like we have a new lease on life. As one person put it, “The new year is like we’ve been washed or reborn.” This is what it is like when there is new.
However, when you do get something new there are some new changes to be made. Just like when you get a brand-new cooker, you may have to change the configuration of your outdoor cooking area to accommodate. Or maybe you need to change some of the things you do in order to afford the new truck, so you have that new smell. I have a friend who is so adverse to change he doesn’t own a computer, only has a cell phone because his wife made him (it’s a flip phone and off most of the time) and is basically anti-change. Although there may be new changes, do not look at change as something bad but rather something which helps you to grow.
With the new year there will, there must, be new changes to make this our best year to date. When we look at our past years there has been significant changes and mostly for the better (a child was born, a dream career was begun). So, why should this year be any different than years past. Making some changes in certain areas will aid in making this our best year, despite the world around us.
Changes in Attitude
We’ve all heard the saying, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” I once worked in an office where this quote was made into a motivational poster and hung on our wall. After a while it blurred into the rest of the décor and was lost to the eyes but not the meaning. I remember when mom would wake me for school and I’d be grumpy, she’d always say, “Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed and he had better change his attitude.” Our attitude towards the day, our job or just the people we encounter can make a huge difference in the way we end our day. There will certainly be events beyond our control (a fender bender, someone being rude at the store) but it’s all in how we face it which will make the difference.
There is a Bible verse which tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for people” (Colossians 3:23). What would my attitude be if I walked into the office and Jesus was my boss? What would my attitude be if my preacher, my mom, my grandfather, etc. was my boss? Of course, it would be more positive and optimistic. I think my attitude would be one of which I could accomplish almost anything. When I head to a competition my attitude should be one of confidence, like a winner. When I approach my day, my attitude will be one of success rather than overwhelmed when I look at my “To Do” list.
One of our most beloved cartoon characters is Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories. He is loveable, laughable and we miss him when he isn’t on the screen. But as I think about it, no one says, “I want to be more like Eeyore.” At least no one seriously says this. The reason is he has, what can only be described as a pessimistic attitude. As we head into this new year, our attitude will determine the rest of the year, the rest of our lives. So, this year will see a change in attitude to one of optimism, one of success and one where nothing is impossible to accomplish.
Changes in Goals
Once you have a new attitude to match the new year, it’s time to set new goals. Looking over last year I set some goals which there was no way I would accomplish them. For a number of reasons, my attitude wasn’t conducive for them, they were unrealistic (a six pack with the way I like to eat) or they just weren’t attainable. When this happens, one feels discouraged. You begin to question, “What am I doing with my life?” This is where you face a crossroad. One way, you just give up and putter through life thinking you won’t accomplish anything. The other road (the one less traveled as Robert Frost wrote), is where we reassess and set new goals. The first step in goal setting is to make sure they are SMART.
We’ve all heard of the SMART process in setting goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time). One of the mistakes we all make in setting goals is they are too broad in scope. Make your goals specific in nature. Rather than saying, “My goal is to have more writing contracts,” I would say, “My goal is to have three new writing contracts by summer.” This is not only specific it is also measurable by saying “three new” contracts. When we aren’t specific then we can measure our progress which almost makes it “pie in the sky” goals.
This goal of mine (My goal is to have three new writing contracts by summer) is also attainable. Twenty new contracts are probably too lofty of a goal by summer. However, with three, it doesn’t seem impossible to achieve. Then once it is accomplished, as challenging as it may be, I get to celebrate and set my next obtainable goal. This goal is also relevant, in that this is how I make a living. Keeping your goals relevant keeps you focused on what is important as opposed to winning the lottery. With this goal, I have given myself a realistic time frame in which to accomplish (by summer). Putting a time frame to your goals helps you work harder to accomplish it. For this new year, “Work SMARTer not harder” as the old saying goes when setting your goals.
As we head into our New Year let’s make these changes to bring about great and successful new year. You’ve heard it said, “If you keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, it is the first sign of insanity.” I’m not suggesting we’re going insane, but it is time to make changes to make 2021 our best year.