Resolutions v. Game Plans, 123 Concordia 456 (Boise 2017).
If you are like me, you probably read the title of this and just rolled your eyes thinking, “Oh great, another New Year’s resolution post.” To be honest, I was once the “New Year’s resolution” type. You know, those people who come up with brief, not well thought up, plans on how they are going to lose weight, be a better person, etc. and end up quitting about two weeks in. Let’s use the ever infamous “get in shape” as an example. This resolution is probably the most notorious out there (you cannot tell me you have never walked into the gym on January 1st and there were three times the normal amount of people in there). Many people, including myself, have gone and made this goal without really a plan of action including diet, workout plans, etc. From experience, just like with any real goal, if you do not have a legitimate game plan that you are willing to stick out, you are most likely not going to succeed. Therefore, rather than coming up with resolutions, I prefer to set game plans. In other words, know the what, but plan the how and stick to it.
Now you are probably thinking, “Isn’t a game plan just the same thing as a resolution?” In part, the two may be similar, but here is my defense. In the end, you can agree with me or not.
As cliché and basic as it may sound, the new year is an opportunity to reflect. The calendar change provides an opportunity to look back at the highs and lows of the previous year and figure out where you can improve. In the law school context, its like looking at that first legal writing paper that is most likely bleeding with red ink (especially if you had TFR) and trying to figure out how you can improve for the next one. Majority of the time, this reflection is painful as you probably can only think of the bad or embarrassing things. Which is why you must dig through the mental memories for the good things as well.
For example, and I am about to get a little candid here, here are some of my low and high points from 2016. For some lows, I let myself get the heaviest I have been since I was 22. I had an incident right before break where I acted like an embarrassingly complete idiot towards a fellow classmate that did not deserve it (to that person, sorry for my actions, an in-person apology is on the way). Also, back in the Spring I let my grades slip below the standards that I set for myself. Now here come some of the positives. I pulled off a miracle comeback grade in a class this semester. I learned about vulnerability. I have externed at some of the best offices in the Valley. I received the highest-grade I have ever received in law school. The point being, to create a successful game plan, we must look at the positives and negatives. The new year provides us with a calendar point to do this reflection.
After lots of careful reflection, the next step is to identify some goals and create a plan of action. When it comes to goal setting, I always think to keep things realistic. But reality is only confined by what the mind perceives. For example, today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Do you really think that when Dr. King set out on his goal to bring a major change in civil rights not only in the South, but across America, that he and others saw this as realistic? I mean, as much as he had supporters, he had just as many doubters, including Blacks. Further, I guarantee there were plenty of times where Dr. King had serious doubts about this goal and if it would really work. But the man stuck it out and led one of largest social changes in our nation’s history. Like I said, reality is only confined by what the mind perceives. So, I say set some goals, regardless of how crazy and impossible they may seem.
After setting these realistic goals, here comes the differentiator between resolutions and game plans. You need to create a plan of action, execute it, and STICK TO IT! In my opinion, the creating a plan of action component is the easiest part. Now, there are plenty of resources out there to create a successful plan of action such as self-help books, diet plans, workout plans, counseling, etc. Like I said, I think this is the easiest part. The next two components are the tough ones.
First is executing your plan of action. If you are like me, you probably sit there binge-watching something on Netflix and think, “Shoot, I need to do that. Oh well, I can do it tomorrow.” In other words, you are a class A procrastinator. The deal with executing your plan of action is that you must do your best not to procrastinate on executing. Trust me, I know it sounds easier than doing it, but its worth it.
After executing you plan of action, next comes the toughest part—STICKING TO IT. So, you identified your goal, created a pretty dope plan of action, and began it. You’ve been going strong for about two weeks, but now the real world is kicking in and all the sudden you mess up. The first example that comes to mind is dieting. You’ve been going strong and eating clean for a couple of weeks. You’re down a few pounds and feeling awesome. Then one unfortunate night you go out with some friends for a birthday dinner. Which turns into going to the bars downtown. Which turns into you getting the drunk munchies and you standing in line at the taco truck at 2 AM. Then, you devour that delicious Chilango, and poof—your diets over! The next day you wake up feeling so much shame (although it may be your stomach battling the taco truck food). At that point you have two options. One, you can lay there in shame and go “well there goes that, I’ll get it next” year, month, whatever; or, two, you can man up, admit your mistake and keep pushing towards your goal. Going back to my previous example about Dr. King. There were many times when Dr. King messed up and failed. I mean, the man was literally put in jail! But did he quit and say, “I’ll get it next year”? No! He was stubborn and persistent. This is the essential component to your game plan—sticking to it. It is what makes the difference between a resolution and a game plan.
To summarize, with the new year create a game plan rather than a resolution. Take some to reflect on the positives and negatives. Next, create a game plan, not a resolution. For the game plan, set some realistic goals. Remember, reality is only confined by what the mind perceives. Next, create a plan of action. Here comes the tough part, execute! Try your best not to procrastinate. I know its tough. Finally, the toughest one of all—STICK TO IT! When you fail, get back up and keep going. Anything worthwhile is never easy. If you are still convinced that all of this is resolution building, oh well. Its my blog and I can call things whatever I want.
Welcome to 2017! Have a great year executing those game plans!