First of the Month: Whatever happened to those New Year Resolutions?


It’s the first of September today and as with the beginning of a new day, new month or a new year we are often inclined to set new goals/resolutions. I think it’s like having a clean slate, so like kids in a candy store we excited to just get home and start writing on the slate.  I’m excited about the new month too, so I decided to look back at the goals I set at the beginning of the year and see how far I have come.

When 2009 began, I made 10 resolutions and I sent them to my girlfriend to look over to hold me accountable to them. This is exactly what I sent:

  1. Eliminate 1.5 credit cards (Completed and Retooled)
  2. Save $1000 and put in a mutual fund or CD (Completed and Retooled)
  3. Write two papers (On-going)
  4. Cardio (Run or Bike) 3 times a week (Retooled)
  5. Don’t drink soda (On-going)
  6. Lift twice a week (Retooled)
  7. Sleep 6 hours (On-going)
  8. Read 1 book per month (4 non-fiction books read so far)
  9. Listen to 1 motivational tape per month (5 series completed)
  10. Graduate or at least be close to it i.e. proposal done and defended, comprehensive exam passed, experiments completed and in the process of writing dissertation at the minimum (Retooled)

This email was dated January 9th 2009, and I’m not even sure she remembers the contents of this email. It was the first time I had made resolutions and actually documented them and sent them to someone and not just chucked it away in my head.  All the books and tapes I have read and listened to always stress the importance of attaching activities to your goals essentially breaking down these goals to manageable chunks. Fortunately, I stumbled on resources from Success Principles (a book by Jack Canfield co-author of the Chicken Soup Series), specifically the Achievers Focusing System (Quarterly Breakdown) and Daily Success Focus Journal (Daily Breakdown). I also created a weekly sheet for myself too (Download here). Now I know that’s a lot of writing and a lot of paper, but at the time I wasn’t sure what method worked the best for me. Should I break down activities on a daily basis? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Biennially? It was all so confusing and I decided to try as many as I could and see what worked best for me. Currently, my system has been boiled down to a Quarterly Tracking and a spiral notebook for the daily to-do list. I especially like the Achievers Focusing System I mentioned above because it splits down goals into 7 areas (same concept I used in the weekly system):

  • Financial & Wealth
  • Career
  • Free Time
  • Health & Appearance
  • Relationship
  • Personal Development
  • Community & Charity

These resources aren’t anything fancy, but they have helped to keep me on my toes and aware of my progress.

9 months have passed since those resolutions were made. It’s a new month (new school year for some),  and there’s no need to wait for 2010 to renew this commitment and neither should you. Hopefully these resources here are useful or just type “goal organizer” (or something) into Google and I am sure there’s something out there.

As long as those goals are written somewhere, you have a reminder to check back on. As Tony Horton (of P90X fame) always says “Write it down. How can you know what to do if you don’t know what you did?”

If you’re wondering how I am doing on my resolutions, I have details on my Goal Report and yea . . . there’s a lot left to be done.

Picture courtesy of

3 responses to this post.

  1. Great read man, it reminds a lot of myself. I recommend that you check out this book

    It will revolutionize how you look at time and money. Let me know what you think.


  2. […] of out of in a day, so we have to ensure that it is well spent while achieving the optimum results. Setting goals and timeframes is one of the ways to do this. This helps ensure that time is being spent well even if means taking […]


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