Set Reasonable Expectations
Happy New Year 2007.
When we turn the page of the calendar to another year, many people make resolutions. They want to change their physical appearance or increase the amount of material they publish or increase their book sales. It’s great to have goals and expectations for yourself. Here's a key question: are your goals and expectations reasonable? Are they just pipe dreams or something you can actually accomplish in the days ahead? The old saying is true, if you shoot for nothing you are sure to hit it.
Over two years ago, I started these entries on the Writing Life and wrote this post. I returned to it today and re-read it. The different areas such as being willing to learn and grow in different areas continue. For example, I continue to be committed to working out. Yes, many days it is a huge pain to get on my treadmill. Often my mind challenges my workout and encourages me to skip or not do it. Instead of sitting on my couch watching the news, I stand on my treadmill, sweat and work out. The benefits far outweigh the alternatives.
Each Monday, I look forward to reading Harvey Mackay's column in my local newspaper, The Arizona Republic. Today's column was called, "It's a good time to start working on you" and was excellent. I tried to locate it online and add a link in this post. I could not find it and I suspect it has something to do with the newspaper syndication rules. Here's some startling statistics (which Makay used in the context of talking about "we live in a sad time"):
"* Only 14 percent of adults with a grade-school education read literature in 2002.
* 51 percent of the American population never reads a book of more than 400 pages after they complete their formal education.
* 73 percent of all books in libraries are never checked out.
* The average American watches 32 hours of TV every week.
* The average American reads only eight hours (books, newspapers, magazines, Yellow Pages, etc.) every week.
* The average American annually spends 10 times more on what he puts on his head than what puts into his head. Consider:
* If you read just one book a month for 12 straight months, you will be in the top 25 percentile of all intellectuals in the world.
* If you read five books on one subject, you are one of the world's foremost leading authorities on that subject
* If you read just 15 minutes a day -- every day for one year -- you can complete 20 books."
If you have the goal of reading 15 minutes a day for one year, that's a reasonable expectation and one that will carry you to a completely different place at the end of this new year.