opinion

New Year's Resolutions

Cheryl Cain
It's that time again already: in a few short days, the new year will be upon us, with all that it promises. For many, these promises are ones that we make to ourselves; so-called "New Year's Resolutions" usually involving the loss of weight or the gaining of profits, or the realization of some other personal or business goal or ambition...

This practice is a natural response to areas in our lives where we see a need for improvement; and the beginning of a new year is likewise a natural, clearly-defined starting point for such introspective endeavors. It's no wonder then that countless millions of people make – and subsequently break – New Year's Resolutions.

The fact that the overwhelming percentage of New Year's Resolutions are broken before their hoped-for results are ever realized should not prevent one from making these resolutions. Absolute perfection in realizing our set resolutions shouldn't be the goal, rather, an ongoing process of self-improvement should be what we aim for, being careful not to let small setbacks discourage us from continuing on in pursuing the outcome that inspired us to make the resolution in the first place.

And this is where most folks go wrong. For example, someone hoping to go on a new diet and "lose 20 pounds" might gain a few pounds instead. While many might become discouraged and give up the diet, feeling perhaps that trying to lose weight is hopeless, those that move past the candy binge or late-night pizza and go back on their diet may indeed shed that unwanted weight. It's all a matter of being committed to your resolutions – resolutions that are not always easy to keep.

For adult webmasters, a list of New Year's Resolutions could include things such as rolling out new websites (or closing down old ones), purchasing new content and updating "tired" members areas, deploying new billing options, upgrading hosting plans and a variety of other tasks that will be perceived as "making a difference."

The added pressures of trying to implement these resolutions can cause unneeded stress for the webmaster, however – especially for the "one-man-band" that is trying to do everything his or herself. This is where "reality" needs to come in.

How much can you realistically accomplish? For example, if you have a website that is not meeting your expectations, no matter what steps you take to make it succeed, do you really believe that rolling out a large network of sites will be any more successful for you? For a change of context, consider someone who is in poor physical shape: while a realistic goal for a New Year's Resolution might be "to take up jogging," setting a goal of "winning the Boston Marathon" will only lead to great disappointment.

By setting reasonable goals, we increase the chance of succeeding with our resolutions. Perhaps taking up jogging is good enough for this year; with running a marathon a goal best left for next year. The end result is the same, only far more likely to happen. Rather than roll out a large network of websites, try launching one and see if you can operate it anymore successfully than the one you currently have. Not only will it be cheaper, easier and less stressful, but more enjoyable as well.

In the end, making New Year's Resolutions is a great and psychologically powerful form of goal setting, and having – and then acting upon – goals is a key to success. Just be certain to make your goals realistic ones and you'll have a great chance of seeing your dreams come true.

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