Jan 8 Make goals, not resolutions

January 08, 1999|By Lynn F. Little

It may be more beneficial to set goals for the year than to try to keep New Year's resolutions. The New Year is a good time to stop and clear our mind from the past. Start thinking about the future. Rather than setting unreasonable or unrealistic "resolutions," plan for the future with "goals."

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Make goals for the next few months or years and develop a plan for working toward those goals. Write down the goals and your plan. A written step-by-step plan will make it easier to see progress toward your goal.

Many people make New Year's resolutions that are unrealistic. For example, they say, "I want to lose 25 pounds before May," but do not set out with a diet and exercise plan that will help them achieve the goal. Without a plan, reaching a goal is difficult. You may be disappointed when you fail to reach your goal.


Consider making a list of goals that can enhance your life. Be specific on the goals and how you will accomplish them so you will know when they have been accomplished. Here are some examples:

* Plan to pick two current consumer or government issues that are of personal concern to you, read up on them, and make at least six contacts with local and state elected officials to let them know your concerns.

* The amount of waste in this country is increasing. To help keep the amount of waste to a minimum, plan to make better use of recycling opportunities in the community.

* As a collector of "stuff," your house may seem constantly full. Weed out, simplify and free yourself of some of the material goods that need constant dusting and sorting.

* Realize that a happy and secure retirement doesn't just happen. Whatever your age, take time now to do some retirement planning, put a savings plan into action, update your will, look realistically at family finances, develop some new interests and enjoy family life.

* During the past few years, your family finances may have grown out of hand. Enroll in a personal financial management class. Make realistic spending plans. Teach your children how to manage money and give them the opportunity to make mistakes. This will help them learn money management skills such as budgeting, savings and using banking services.

Maryland Cooperative Extension can help you with these goals and many others. Call us at 301-791-1504 or visit the office at 1260 Maryland Ave. in Hagerstown and let us answer your questions. We "educate people to help themselves."

Maryland Cooperative Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, sex, disability, age, religion or national origin.

Lynn F. Little is a family and consumer sciences extension educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension, Washington County - University of Maryland.

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