2012 Make no small plans

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood…Make big plans, aim high in hope and work.

Daniel H. Burnham

Leave them impressed

2011 is history. I had big plans and expectations for 2011 and it didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted. I expected to accomplish more and be in a different place than I am today. I expected to have generated some income through web commerce by now, have my blogs refined and integrated into a clear web presence and get my social media platforms in better shape. I’m disappointed and discouraged and it leaves me with doubts as I start the new year. What was the problem? Did I over commit? Was I confused about my mission? Or was I just lazy?

Time for reflection.

Understanding and measuring my progress is critical as I make my plans for 2012. Misunderstand and I risk serious damage to my future.   I need to make big plans and set outrageous goals for the year but if I don’t correctly assess this years accomplishments I risk my future success. Right now it seems to me that I expected too much from myself. The goals I set for 2011 were just not reachable. This suggests that this years goals ought to be more modest. But there is another perspective.

Timid goals don’t excite.

The benefit of having outrageous goals is that they get you excited. You look at the big picture and let the details blur so you can picture the win. Sometime you don’t even know all those pesky details that you will have to master on the way to your goal. But that blissful ignorance lets you focus on the big prize at the end and motivates you to surge ahead.

I didn’t know last year all the details along the way to my goals. Through 2011 I struggled through many obstacles I didn’t know existed when I started the year. I mastered some, got proficient with others and still struggle with the rest. Knowledge of those details can either beat me down or give me confidence to move ahead and engage with even more.

Swallow my pride.

Not reaching a goal is a blow to the ego. But is it a reason to start doubting abilities and cutting back your goals? I say it is a matter of timing. Not reaching a goal is not the same as failing – unless you quit. It just means that I needed more time. Unless I give up, I am still in the hunt. Maybe my limited progress is a sign of incompetence or maybe just being lazy. Nobody can say but me. But those problems are completely under my control.  I can fix both of those problems given enough time.

So how should I interpret my failure?

And what does that failure say to me about setting goals and working plan? Should I be more modest and realistic? Should I accept that my potential is limited?

What can I say. I could have worked harder. I could have worked smarter and with better focus. Maybe I dropped the ball from time to time. Maybe I got sidetracked by diversions. Maybe I grabbed some other idea that seemed promising but was just a rabbit trail leading nowhere. But the bottom line is that I am still in the hunt. I didn’t reach my goals for 2011. But however you look at it, I am way ahead of where I was last year.

Today’s challenge.

So my challenge today is to think big about 2012. I need to make plans for this year that are just as outrageous as last year’s seemed a year ago. This is no time for complacency. No time for whining or complaining. It ‘s time to make those big plans with the magic to stir my blood.


{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Hansi January 7, 2012, 8:46 am

    To be frank with ya Ralph, I just don’t understand the goal thing, especially in retirement. I left all that crap behind in 2004, well actually earlier considering my last 3 three years in Probation land were in the ROAD program : Retired On Active duty.
    Maybe you didn’t achieve your goals because ya really didn’t want them, but felt compelled to “achieve” because of guilt or other perceived shortcomings. You’re OK just the way you are.
    Think small, think pleasure, think exploration, and then when something BIG happens it will blow your mind.
    Hansi’s last Blog Post ..Uriah the Hittite

    • Ralph January 7, 2012, 3:38 pm

      I don’t know. You might be right. But, after all you did go back to the house of pain. Must have been something you wanted. I’m having fun along the way with those small pleasures too but, it’s too early to drift.

  • Donna January 11, 2012, 1:51 pm

    Why don’t you just break down your goals into small steps and take some small action toward your goal each day? Write down your plan for the week and what you will do each day and hold yourself accountable I think you have written something similar to this-time to follow your own plan.

  • Bill Murney January 21, 2012, 11:11 am

    Ralph, I know you desperately want to hit your goals but as you say you are way ahead of where you were last year.

    Enjoy it!


    • Ralph January 21, 2012, 6:01 pm

      I do and I appreciate your encouragement. Still if I want to accomplish something outrageous in my decline years. I can’t be complacent.

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