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Starting the Year Right

Making a Difference By Hermie ClimacoThere really is no exact way of starting the New Year right! This varies from one person to another. Depending upon ones priorities, purpose, or status, in life.

For me, the number one consideration is prayer and thanksgiving. We did that during midnight dinner as the family gathered around the table and thanked God for the bountiful food He enabled us to have and to serve when we welcome the year 2008, and for the blessings of good health, job, financial resources, family togetherness, friends, loved-ones and accomplishments during the year 2007.

As we offered our thanksgiving we took the chance to re-offer and re-entrust our coming year to God as we invoked His continuing guidance, protection, provisions and presence in our life in the year 2008.
My other consideration is self-assessment, not only of myself, but of every member of the family.

Taking stock of where the family and each family member stands on matters of school, spiritual, financial, family relationships, community service, job etc. at the end of 2007 made us see where we made mistakes in areas of our life in the past year, or what we lacked, missed and failed doing in the past year. The awareness led us to our family plans for the New Year that include a resolve to make big positive changes in our life beginning the year 2008.

Following the above I do what I always do during New Year. Goal setting. For some, its New Years Resolutions. The internet listed the following as the ten most popular New Years Resolutions: lose weight, get out of debt, get in shape, quit smoking/drinking alcohol, eat right, spend more time with family and friends, take a trip, save money, get a better job, volunteer to help others.

Whatever changes you want for yourself this New Year it will help if they are listed down, whether as New Years Resolutions or as Goals for 2008.

Studies show that New Years Resolutions fail in just the first two weeks of the New Year. And that goal setting is better than New Years Resolutions. Whatever the differences are, there is one common denominator between the two. Both involve action to accomplish something good in the New Year.

Whatever you call it, it is important that you have made a blueprint of what you want to achieve and where you want your life to be heading during the year. Whether they are achieved or not, whether resolutions or goals, achieving them depends on whether you acted on them.

Since 2002, the year we arrived here in Washington, DC, my goals every New Year always included pursuing a writing career. Although I occasionally contributed articles here in Manila Mail it was only last year that I was able to say I have accomplished that goal – when I finally started writing columns here. Another goal I have every year since 2002 is buying a house, which we accomplished in 2006 when we were able to get our own house during that year here in Maryland. Another one was having a family van, which materialized in 2004. And still another was going to Mass religiously every Sunday, which only materialized when we moved and joined the parish of St. Margarets Church in Seat Pleasant, Maryland in 2006.

For this year, I have two goal categories: writing goals, which I have ten; and non-writing goals, which Im still working on. My number one writing goal is to keep improving my writing style and to focus my column writing. Another is to learn to be less preachy as I work towards becoming a Christian writer. My non-writing goals include accomplishing more tasks everyday, avoiding procrastination, losing weight, starting to drive, and many more.

Writing goals every year is truly a lot of fun. Listing down new goals, listing again those that did not materialize in the previous year or years, and checking or crossing off those that did materialize are so fun. We can surely accomplish things. And that is one way to do that.
Setting goals and pursuing them one small step at a time.

So, now, what is it you want to do in 2008? Buy a new house? Lose 10 pounds? Travel to Europe? Get a degree? Make more money? Get out of debt? Learn ballroom dancing?
Write them down and make plans of how to pursue them.

Lastly, when I finally fulfilled my goal to become a Manila Mail columnist, I told myself it doesnt take an extraordinary skill or an extraordinary talent to achieve an extraordinary goal. God can make everything happen for you. He will remove mountains for you if you are serious about something and you enlist His help in achieving it.

And so, set your goals for 2008 and write them down. Because people who set goals achieve more in life than those who dont. And those who write down their goals and refer to them regularly achieve even more. Next, map out a plan of how to pursue them. And last pray for them, for the Bible said, Commit your plans to the Lord, and He will bless your paths.

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