By Dr. Shelley Cooper
The New Year usually brings high hopes for new beginnings and welcome changes. Yet, we
often set goals that are not attainable and soon return to what is comfortable. The popular
saying, “When you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”, rings
true for me. How can we make a change in this thinking and do better next year? What went
well? What were my challenges? What lessons did I learn? What should I do differently? How
can I be consistent?
In 2023, I worked so hard to do everything, I mean EVERYTHING! Looking back at my activities
and accomplishments, there was a lot of effort, but I could have been more purposeful and
goal-oriented. I traveled for business and pleasure, networked at multiple events, cold-called
on potential customers, entered and participated in pitch competitions, applied for several
grants (successfully and unsuccessfully), experienced a life-threatening illness and cardiac ICU
hospitalization, spent hundreds of hours in meetings, took a leading role in launching a bricks
and mortar school-based clinic and designed a second software platform.
As the years go by, I’ve come to the realization that I can’t do everything well and be everything
to everybody, everywhere. I need to be more selective about my goals and strategically choose
what’s most important to accomplish in my life. For example, in developing my goals this year,
they will be intentionally S.M.A.R.T Goals, which means Specific, Measurable, Attainable,
Realistic and Timely. For 2024, I’m applying this strategy to my personal, professional, and pious
(religious) goals. Which SPECIFIC personal, professional and religious goals will I strive to
achieve this year? How will I MEASURE them? I will only create ATTAINABLE personal,
professional and religious goals. Which goals are REALISTIC and which ones are dreams that
should be postponed to a later date?
I will break down 2024 into 12 months and allocate a reasonable amount of time for each goal
to achieve TIMELY milestones. I will plan personal, professional and religious S.M.A.R.T. goals
for January 2024. I will build in a reasonable amount of time for community service/civic
activities and self-care. On the professional level, I will set S.M.A.R.T. goals for sales, revenue,
profit. Professional planning will include reviewing what will be completed among my current
projects, future projects and tasks that need to completed in each category. Reflection is
important to document what was learned and to understand what will need to be changed
going forward. In relation to religious goals, I must allocate and plan for Sunday Mass, Sunday
School, weekly Bible Study and whatever volunteer activities arise each month. The same will
be done for each of the remaining months. Travel, whether business or personal will need to be
factored into my financial budget and time planning.
It's important to evaluate the end results and compare them to my goals. Where Did I Make the
Most Progress? What Did I Learn? What Am I Proud Of? What I Will Do Differently? Finally,
What Am I Grateful For?* A summary of these responses will help me plan for the next month,
next quarter and next year. I hope you will review last year and have a great 2024!
*Plan To Win, Laura Posey, 2023 email@example.com