Adjust your resolutions, goals to allow for flexibility

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Denise K. Spencer

By February, many of us are into the second month of our new health club membership, or are counting the next six pounds of weight loss, or are continuing a focus on certain business growth goals.

These proclamations of change or improvement are wonderful motivators. Whether you have established them for your personal life or for your business or organization, they can help you toward progress and advancement.

Why do so many resolutions or goals fall short by June? Generally speaking, our goals are set with an understanding of current circumstances, not a crystal ball. But life happens and things change.

Unfortunately, these changes often result in our giving up on the resolution or goal instead of making a needed modification. For example, in my fitness plans for the New Year, I had resolved to accomplish a higher number of steps as a daily average than I had for the previous year. And then I broke my leg.

Should I give up and consider this a failure? Or stick stubbornly to the goal no matter what? No.

As new data enters the picture, the goal must be modified. I've done some research on chair yoga and am developing a regimen I can use in place of walking until my healing is complete.

You see, my desire for improved health or fitness need not be thwarted because the actual measurement I chose is not appropriate at the present time.

Remember: The goal must serve our needs, now and in the future.

In business, we also set goals. And we judge our success based on our ability to achieve these goals. They are critical to a forward-moving business model.

However, when we set them, we know what we know at the time and, frankly, things often change. We do not live in a static environment. The stock market or tax laws change. Technology changes. Revenue changes. Personnel change.

And often goals, or the timing of the completion of goals, must also change.

Do we consider it a failure if things don't go as planned? In some cases, I think we do. We've set the date; therefore, we must hit the date. We have created a budget and we must adhere to the budget.

Of course. But based on new information, a changing environment and certain needs, we must sometimes be flexible.

Our goals and resolutions are established to serve us, not the reverse. And if you look at the higher purposes, necessary revisions will still lead us there.

In the same way that health or fitness can be served by activities other than walking, business or organizational goals can be served in other ways than predicted.

Don't allow normal changes in circumstances to cause your resolutions to be failures. If you don't like your workout plan, change it. If the diet doesn't work, modify it. If the new product isn't as popular as hoped, determine whether it or the marketing plan needs to be changed.

Life changes. Change with it. And live generously, for yourself and for others, in the process.

Denise K. Spencer is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. cf-lowcountry.org

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