Friday, February 27, 2009

View from the Top>>What was your New Year's resolution?

By Lt. Col. William Otter
61st Airlift Squadron commander

February is just about over and one of the traditions at the beginning of each year is establishing a New Yearís resolution. Many of us made them, but few of us will actually succeed in achieving these resolutions because we didnít have a good plan. Whether you made a resolution or not, itís never too late to set some goals and establish a timeline to achieve them. However, it is important to recognize there are significant obstacles to achieving those resolutions and goals. Two of these obstacles are the scope of the goal and the lack of a measureable timeline to gauge progress toward that goal. An example can illustrate these obstacles and offer suggestions for improved success.

Letís assume you havenít earned any college credits, but established a goal of earning your bachelorís degree by the end of 2010. The goal of earning a bachelorís degree is good; however, the expectation that you will achieve that goal in just two years may be unrealistic. This is an example of how having realistic scope has a big impact on success. Once the requirements reveal nearly 40 courses are required, it is more realistic to adjust the goal toward earning an associate degree, with typically half the requirements, or lengthen the time to complete the goal. Without the adjustment, frustration and the excuse to give up on the goal is too easy.

Another challenge to completing resolutions and goals is a lack of a measureable timeline. Without a measureable timeline; milestones can slip by and can keep us from achieving that goal. The college degree goal is again a good example. You need to know the courses required for achieving your goal, but that is just the beginning of the information required for a useful timeline. Registration dates, a date to visit the education office to choose a degree program and College Level Examination Program test dates or whatever the requirements or milestones are for your goal should be on a written schedule to help you achieve that goal. Donít forget to include the rest of your responsibilities in that timeline, like your job and family. The timeline provides an opportunity to track the progress and keep the scope realistic. Additionally, because itís written down, it is harder to ignore and procrastinate.

There are other factors that can prevent success of resolutions and goals. However, keeping these two in mind will provide a better opportunity for success. Donít wait for another New Year to establish your goals. Set realistic goals, establish a schedule to track progress and youíll be on your way to achieving success.


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