The end of 2014

Today is December 31.  We are on the last day of the year.  I hope you had a great year, with many successes.  As always, you probably had some challenges along the way.  However annoying that may be, it remains that challenges are the best opportunity to learn and grow.  Of course, that is as long as they are not fatal challenges.

It reminds me of this discovery from the Biosphere 2, an Earth systems science research facility. It has been owned by the University of Arizona since 2011. Its mission is to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching, and lifelong learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe. One of their discovery was the importance of the wind in a plant’s life. The Wind causes stress, and the trees adapt by growing something called the reaction wood, or stress wood. Without the wind, the trees end up being much weaker and aren’t able to survive for long.

All this to say: let’s celebrate the success of 2014, and not regret the challenges of the past year.

A new year is starting

Time for goal setting

2015 is about to start.  It is the time of the year for resolutions and goal-setting.  From various authors, we see articles on how to set up goals for 2015 and be successful in achieving them.  We know it is not so hard to make resolutions.  We also know what often happens to resolutions: they just remain wishful thinking.

Beyond a plan

In project management, we stress the importance of planning.  It is often said that it is the most important step in project management.  You need a plan. Otherwise, you may just wander around and be very inefficient.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. / Alan Lakein

While planning is necessary, it should not stop there.  Actions are the fundamental requirement for success.

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. / Peter Drucker

The missing element

I guess I could add my voice to the list of articles on goal settings.  In some ways, I am doing that here with this post.  However, I will use a much different approach: the missing element of many plans.

What is this missing element? Simple:

What are you going to stop doing in 2015, to enable you to achieve your goal?

This is so important, because time is limited and the same for everybody.

We cannot do more of one thing without doing less of another thing.

We cannot set goals to do more of one thing, without having a goal to do less of another thing.

Otherwise, it is wishing for changes while trying to maintain the status quo.  In this scenario, it is very likely that the status quo is going to win.  After all, the status quo already exists and already fills your day with its load of activities.  It doesn’t matter if these activities are not productive or not aligned with your goals.

They exist and fill your day.

Do you want to go to the gym more often in 2015, the classic new year resolution?  It will take time, and it will not happen if you don’t decide consciously to do less of other things.

Do you want to save more money or reduce your debts?  It will not work unless you choose to spend less on various things with your money.

Do you want to spend more time with your spouse and kids?  It will not happen, unless you choose to spend less time doing other things such as TV, internet, work, etc…

Conclusion

In the end, a resolution is a call for action to change something.  You cannot have both a change and the status quo in your life.

Do you want to set goals in 2015?  Excellent!  A life with a purpose is the best way to live the life you want. But it is only half of the formula.

Without the other half, nothing will happen.

The other half of the formula is:

What are you going to stop doing in 2015, to enable you to achieve your goal?