Imagine you and I are having a drink at Starbucks a year from today. If 2024 was a great year for you, what will have happened? How are your relationships? Are people happy when they see you coming or happier when you leave? How is your health? Is it better or worse? Are you more fit? How is your job, career or business? What did you do to make it better? How are your finances? Did you save more money? Who have you helped? Did you make a positive difference in people’s lives? Did you go somewhere or do something you have never done? Are you happy? What is your dream(s)? How is your attitude? Do you have hope for your future?
The end of the year is a good time to look back and assess the past. It’s also a good time to plan for the future. We can’t expect to keep doing the same thing the same way and expect a different result. We have a brain that can think and reason. We have the ability to change our circumstances. Everything starts with our thinking and beliefs. If we think we can or think we can’t we are always right. We don’t need to lead lives of quiet desperation. If we choose to change how we think, we can change our future.
Many people make resolutions at New Years to change their lives. I choose to set goals. The difference is a goal is specific, measurable and it has a timeline. For example, a resolution may be to lose weight in 2024. A goal would be to lose 10 pounds by June 30th and a total of 25 pounds by December 31st 2024. Pre-pandemic when I was a member at the YMCA, in January the gym and weight room were always packed with new people who made resolutions. By early February things were back to normal. Most resolutions go unfulfilled.
A mentor told me to write my goals down, review them periodically and at year end, evaluate. Studies show people with written goals are more successful. My first experience with written goals was in the 1980s. We set goals as a family one night after dinner. I wrote down the goals, put them in my briefcase and forgot about them. At the end of the year, I found the list when cleaning out my briefcase. It surprised me. Most of the goals were accomplished. I was convinced. I encourage our team captains to write down their goals and found most were doing it. One looked at me while hoisting the State Championship trophy and said, “Wow Coach, writing down a goal really works!”
This year one of my goals is a weekly date night with Lynnda. My friend Willie Jolley and his wife Dee recommend it. We were busy the first part of the year. Reviewing goals, I realized we weren’t doing date night. We started a weekly fire pit night in our backyard, just Lynnda and me. No cell phones. We just talk. Sometimes we didn’t start until 11 PM and spent two hours talking and laughing. The date nights bring us closer together. I find them relaxing.
During my corporate life, a national sales expert taught us; People don’t make decisions based on logic. They make decisions based on emotions and justify them with logic. The same is true with goals. Corporate goals never motivated anyone to achieve. They only people who were motivated were the ones who were worried what their boss was going to do when they came up short. Goals with an emotional attachment tend to get achieved.
In fall of 1999 one young man changed countless lives when I asked the question, “What is your dream? Where do you want to be at the end of the season?” BJ, our senior captain and only returning starter responded, “Coach, we want to play for the State Title.” As coaches we didn’t talk about championships. We didn’t think it was realistic. I thought BJ was joking and almost told him to aim lower. For some reason I said, “Okay. We have a lot of work to do.” The dream and belief we could achieve it changed our attitude as a team. It also changed our work ethic. That year we played for the State Title. It broke a barrier and changed the belief of our players. We know, after winning 19 regional championships and 7 State Championships, dreams do come true. It all started with BJs dream over 20 years ago. He was passionate about playing for the championship. In the semifinal game we were down 2 goals in the 2nd half. BJ got hurt. While the trainer was working on him, Bruce, the head coach, came over shaking his head. BJ rose on his elbows looked Bruce in the eyes growling “Don’t you dare take me out Coach.” BJ limped back onto the field. Ten players followed him to victory and his dream. I share this only to let you know change is possible.
You can make the changes you desire in 2024. You don’t need to change everything at once. Start with one or two goals you are really passionate about achieving. Follow your emotions when setting the goal. Use logic to determine and implement a plan to achieve it. I’m passionate about health and fitness because it helps me to keep up with my children and grandchildren. We spend quality time together like running with Dannielle, playing soccer with CJ, our grandson or traveling with Lynnda. Write the goals down. Be specific. Set a clear time to achieve them. Act. Do something small every day toward achievement. You will face challenges. Don’t quit.
To change your life, believe 2024 can be better than 2023. Have a big emotional dream. Set goals to accomplish it. ACT. See you at Starbucks.
Happy New Year.
Greg Kozera, [email protected] is Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. www.shalecrescentusa.com (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.