To be perfectly honest, my husband and I used to spend most New Year’s Eves sleeping. The screaming and excitement with the whole countdown thing was just too contrived for us. That is, until we stumbled on a new practice last year, which we liked enough to declare as the first installment of a new Mercado tradition: We wrote resolutions. This was not the typical list of half-meant promises to swear off sugar and alcohol. The document we produced became our bible for the year.
While our kids stared outside the window at the fireworks, my husband whipped out the laptop and we got a new spreadsheet going: Mission 2010. In an attempt to be structured about it, we began with a “mission-vision.” We each wrote down three adjectives about the kind of people we wanted to be. We skipped obvious adjectives like “smart” and went with more precise, actionable ones, like “well-informed.” Instead of “happy,” which might make me overindulge, I opted for “balanced” on the logical assumption that having a balanced life would make me happy. Instead of the vague term “successful,” I went with “dependable,” which seemed more results-oriented and connected to concrete expectations of me. Those words are the products of the biases I have built over time. For anybody else doing it, the goals should be different. If you were to try it, my advice is, don’t just think of the top three universally-sought attributes. Think hard about the kind of people you honestly respect - what exactly do you find admirable about them? Think of the situations when you were proudest of yourself and pinpoint why.
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Once you have the “ideal you” in mind, it’s time to connect the dots between the abstract and the required actions. I divided my life into five departments, i.e. physical, career, sub-career, family, and spiritual. Each department had its own separate brainstorm session, wherein I identified quarterly, semestral, and annual goals. The key in setting these goals is to be specific. To illustrate, for physical goals, I wrote down how many pounds I needed to lose by when. For example, nine pounds by March, and then two pounds each month in the second quarter.