In '07, start with a list and go from there

The photocopy I made this past January still resides on my desk at home. It would seem like a laudable thing, keeping a copy of an important article for nearly a year.

In this case it is not. Not when the article in question is about making a list of things you want to accomplish in 2006. Not when that list does not exist. Not when 2006 no longer exists.

So I start this new year thinking about the old joke where a guy asks God to help him win the lottery. Weeks turn into months and the guy, who has told God he'll turn his life around if this one wish is granted, still hasn't won.

Finally, he becomes so exasperated that he has strong words for God, asking what he has to do to have this one favor granted.

"Well," God says, "you could at least buy a ticket."

That's something to keep in mind as 2007 kicks into full swing this week. We all have things we'd like to accomplish this year - both big and small - and some of those goals likely won't be met. But we can try.

We can at least make the list.

I presume the article I saved will still work for 2007, and though I managed to avoid it for 12 months, I agree with its suggestions.

The idea is to make a list with a mixture of big - international travel, procuring Super Bowl tickets - and small - try a new restaurant, organize the den - things you want to accomplish not only this year, but in the coming years.

Crossing things off your list motivates you to continue, which is the thinking behind mixing the big and the small.

For instance, losing 25 pounds is a major goal that will take a large amount of time to accomplish. But losing the weight in increments - i.e. making it a goal to lose five pounds, then 10 pounds, etc. on your list - keeps you interested and on track toward the bigger goal.

It's interesting how many things you can accomplish by reminding yourself of what you want to do. The list does that, and having long-term goals works nicely too, allowing you the time you need plan and to save the money needed to accomplish major goals, like a trip to a foreign country.

The small goals work well, too. If you're like me, sometimes your dinner choice is based on which fast-food restaurant has the easiest access. Trying different places keeps you out of a rut, and crossing things off your list (even the minor ones) gives you some sense of accomplishment.

So as 2007 begins, think of some goals you want to achieve this year instead of being exasperated by things you've failed to do in the past. Actually making the list, I've found, is a good place to start.

E-mail Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Tuesdays.

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