Well, folks, it’s the start of a new year. 2020 is full of potential. What will this new year bring? Among other things, it will bring a presidential election. If 2019’s political antics are any indication, we’d better strap in. It’s going to be a crazy ride.
Some people like using the new year to establish resolutions. People who are really good manage to avoid setting lofty goals that die after a few days. They have mastered the art of defining smaller goals and benchmarks that help them stay on track. They find people who can hold them accountable and who can give them the needed encouragement to stay motivated. These people are pretty amazing.
By nature, I’m more of a “lofty goals” person. I love setting amazing goals, things that sound great and get me all fired up. The problem is, these great goals usually require so many adjustments to my real life that I struggle to achieve them.
In the hopes of getting better at achieving my goals, I’ve sought out advice from people who are really good at goal setting. Using their pattern of success, I tried all of those goal-accomplishing strategies. In my efforts to do better at achieving my goals, somehow I end up feeling more like a loser. Not only do I fail as usual, I fail at even “easier” goals in front of an audience. Talk about a real self-esteem killer. After a few years of all of that, and various versions of complete and utter failure, I have tried not setting any goals at all. You can’t fail to accomplish goals you’ve never set, right? Yeah, well, I’m not completely happy with that either.
As the last few days of 2019 have wrapped up, I find myself thinking there’s got to be an approach to this whole New Year’s resolution thing for someone like me. So, I’m going to try something. I’m going to try setting a goal that I can accomplish in a single day, but that can last up to a full year and beyond if I want to keep it going. I want to find something that will improve my life and others, regardless of how consistent I am. And I think I have an idea what it could be.
I’ve been thinking, for all of the ups and downs we’ve endured, I’ve regained my faith in fellow Americans. We might disagree, but for the most part we are generally still pretty thoughtful and considerate. While it’s true we all naturally react to what’s going on, I’ve been amazed to learn that we agree more often than not. We have shared values. We can recognize shared problems that need addressing. Where we diverge is in solutions to our problems. Some prominent voices seem to like to point out these differences as a bad thing. I believe it’s a good thing that we have different approaches, different ways of looking at a problem. Different viewpoints and more ideas create better solutions.
So this year, I’m going to look for the good in people who disagree with me politically. I’m going to look for common ground and try to make connections where I can. I’m going to feed the idea that we are more united than divided. And if I only manage to achieve my goal one day out of the entire year, that’s good enough for me. Because honestly, the good feeling that comes from accomplishing my goal just one time, with one person, might give me enough motivation to work at it a few more times.