Self improvement starts with realistic goals

by Col. Lynn Collyar
29th Support Group commander
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***How many of you made New Year’s resolutions and have already broken them? I am sure there are a few, but you aren’t the only ones that I want to talk to; I think this issue applies to everyone. How about making 2004 a year to set and achieve some new goals?

I have a couple of goals that I would like to achieve between now and this summer when I leave. One will take between 10 and 15 hours every week for me to achieve and the other just takes a concentrated effort, but doesn’t really involve a specific amount of time. To achieve these goals will take some significant sacrifices from other things that I normally do.

Everyone needs to have goals: Soldiers, airmen and family members. As with mine, your goals don’t have to take a lot of additional time, but may just take additional concentration or effort on your part. Examples of these kind of goals could be to stop smoking or stop using profanity. This may require a significant personal effort, but should not intrude with your time for family, friends, or work.

Other goals such as continuing one’s education or improving one’s personal health may require a commitment of time. If you are involved in something already, it may only require a small adjustment and may not be very difficult. If you are taking one class each semester now, maybe the goal should be to take two during the next session. If you want to get in better physical condition, maybe you could commit another 30 minutes to exercising every day to achieve your goal. Maybe, if you are a military member, it would be to do the 30 minutes of exercise with your spouse and make it a family commitment.

This is an area where I would really like to see spouses and other family members more involved. As a general rule, you run errands, take care of the house and maybe hold another job, but the primary fitness focus usually is that of the military member. You also need to have time to care for your own personal fitness. That fitness can be in the physical, mental or spiritual sense. Everyone needs some time for themselves, and as much as we appreciate the things you do for us in the military, you need to maintain a balance in your own life as well. That balance will ultimately make the service member more effective.

The key to setting a goal is to make it attainable. Doing that may require incremental steps that build toward the final goal. If you set a goal that is out of reach from the start, the motivation to work toward it will be difficult and knowing failure will be the result either way.

We all are busy, but that doesn’t mean that we are effectively utilizing our time or maximizing our capabilities. Lets all make a commitment to set some realistic, achievable goals and see what we can do to improve ourselves.