Tips to Make This Year Really Count

It is one thing to set a goal and achieve it, but how do we confidently know whether that goal is the right one?

Most of us will make a New Year resolution, yet only 12% will ever realise it. Research shows that we make more resolutions to start a new habit, than to break one. Typical resolutions include:

  • Increase exercise
  • Be more conscientious about work or school
  • Develop better eating habits
  • Stop smoking, drinking, or using drugs (including caffeine)

Philosopher, Caroline West, of the University of Western Sydney reveals that in our quest for greater fitness, we spend more time shopping for leisure goods than engaging in leisure itself and spend more time watching sport on TV, rather than playing it ourselves.

Empirical research on leisure pursuits that deliver a healthy dose of satisfaction suggest we should refrain from typical New Year resolutions and progress some or all of the following: socialising , community work, visiting new places, meditation or worship, cultural activities, being engrossed in a stimulating book or hobby, getting a good nights sleep and physical exercise.

Because of society’s increasing expectations for dads to be actively involved parents, most of us yearn for more of what we find increasingly harder to get, TIME. This becomes a distant reality when we have kids craving our undivided attention, so why not set a few goals for 2010 that bring you and the kid’s sustained satisfaction:

  • Identify a project and build it: e.g. Veggie / herb garden, a billy-cart, fishpond. For more
  • Explore. Take advantage of our multi-cultural communities, jump on some public transport and discover new food and cultures. Make it a regular event.
  • Share a book, either read it to the young ones or form a monthly book club.
  • Community work. Together you can decide who, why, where and when.
  • Get into a new sport. Either as spectators (e.g. Winter Olympics) or as participants, consider martial arts, yoga, tennis, jogging and walking etc…
  • Do a short course: art, craft, pottery, gardening, sailing, wood work etc…
  • Be king of the kids: Do an inspiring activity each weekend

Once you have identified your aspired outcome, it is important to create a plan that ensures you see it through. Professor Richard Wiseman, Hertfordshire University, offers the following tips for success:

  • Men should set specific goals
  • Women should tell others about their resolution
  • We should all avoid leaving the decision to New Year’s Eve
  • Deciding to revisit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment
  • Choose something new, or approach an old problem in a new way
  • Those who make vague plans were more likely to fail – for example instead of planning to go running twice a week you should plan to go running at specific times every week
  • Men may be more likely to adopt a macho attitude and have unrealistic expectations, and so simple goal setting helps them achieve more

Like business goals, our personal goals, should be specific, realistic, achievable, timely and measurable.

Our plans too often focus us primarily on a life of work, usually with transparent and tangible milestones. Dads would  do well to develop a plan that pursues lasting joy and satisfaction with their kids.

What will you achieve with your kids by December 2010?

Image credit: Maira Kouvara

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