New Year, New Resolve!  Happy New Year!  So far this year I have had three nurses tell me about professional and work resolutions and goals they have set for 2012.  Research, abstracts and presentations are all in the works.  They were very excited, motivated and seemed up to the challenges.  That got me thinking about my own resolutions and wondering if I am prepared for the challenges.    “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” --Antoine de Saint Exupery, Writer & aviator No doubt many of the rest of you began the New Year with reflections of the past and resolutions and goals for the future.   But what about the present?  It seems that we should remove the resolutions from the future and place them into the present.  After all, that is where the past and future are both made and where opportunity resides.  What is a goal if not the fruition of resolution? Tip: Make goals clear, realistic, compelling and attainable.  Set a deadline for completion.   “Procrastination is opportunity's assassin."--Victor Kiam, American businessman   It is always so much easier to put off a job, project or task that we have not yet begun.   We all have our reasons.  Sometimes those reasons are valid, but usually not and even when they are valid we should not let them steal our opportunity to grow.  You have to get that seed in the ground if you want it to grow. Tip: Identify initial tasks.  Don’t try to figure it all out at once.  Build on the foundation of your completed tasks.    “Indecision and delays are the parents of failure."--George Canning, British statesman   Often the hardest part of any task is charting the course and making the decisions.  The desire for excellence and perfection is admirable.   However the belief that every initial decision has to be a 100% correct is intimidating and short sighted.  The fear of making a wrong decision leads many people to abandon or delay what they have started.   Sometimes those wrong decisions leads us in a different, better direction.  Stick to your goals but be flexible in your approach.  Reflection, evaluation and editing should not be confused with nor used as a means of delay. Tip: Set time aside to work on your goal. Actually block out time to avoid excuses and to keep yourself on track.  Be flexible.      “Any idiot can face a crisis -- it's the day-to-day living that wears you out.”--Anton Chekhov, Russian author & playwright    Let’s face it, even the most important tasks and goals can get boring before they reach the finish line.  What began as an exciting, fun and worthwhile undertaking has become…work.   Just because the honeymoon is over does not mean the marriage should end.   While that goal may no longer be as fun or exciting it remains worthwhile otherwise you would not have invested your energy.  Look for ways to re-energize your self and carry on.   Tips: Set mini-goals, review and recognize your achievements along the way.  Find a system that you can use to measure your progress.  Review, revise and reassess PRN.  Perhaps your goal, your timetable or both are unrealistic.  If so, revise your plan and stay positive.  Hold yourself accountable.    It is important to remember how much our personal and professional lives overlap. Ideally you may leave your personal problems at home but most likely you carry those resolutions and goals with you everywhere.  Goals are part of personal growth and personal growth is an important part of caring for ourselves and by supporting our peers’ and patients’ goals we are caring for them.  Here’s wishing you much success in 2012! “Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory."--George S. Patton, World War II general   P.S. - If you are like me and you find trouble completing goals because “time just slips away”, here is a link to an article in the Kansas City Star regarding the preciousness of time     http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/dont-let-precious-gift-time-slip-away/