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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Create a New Year’s Vision-not a Resolution

Published December 31, 2013 4:56 PM by Glen McDaniel

A new year starts in just a few hours and this is traditionally the time to make resolutions.  Some people are just pressured into resolving to do better because it is what is expected. Others sincerely pledge to make some positive change in their lives.

The sad reality is, however, that most new year’s resolutions fail. It doesn’t take long either: many New Year’s resolutions go the way of the wooly mammoth within the first few weeks of the new year.

A study conducted last year showed that a full 50 percent of folks abandon their firm resolve, before even making an effort to start!

A goal can be made at any time, not just at New Year, of course. Generally I recommend that in order to be effective every goal should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited). So a goal to further my education and get a higher paying job might be refined to read:

“I will complete my first year in the MHA program at XYZ college by December 2014.”

SMART goals give specific yardsticks by which success can be measured.  In order to achieve a SMART goal, specific, targeted actions have to be taken to ensure the goal is achieved within the time frame. There are maps, goalposts and deadlines.

Making goals SMART is a very sound strategy. However, if you have been unsuccessful in keeping New Year’s resolutions in the past, and if you have only a general idea of what you want to achieve, you may use a modified version of a resolution by creating and writing down a vision. A vision is essentially what you want to be or do or have. It sets a direction for where you want to go, or end up.

Organizations use vision statements as lofty ideas of how they would like to be perceived, maybe in a few years' time. “To be the preeminent provider of healthcare in the TriState region” is an example of a healthcare provider's vision statement.  However, although  it represents a lofty goal, that statement is almost a wish or hope and it does not have the specific and measurable features of a SMART goal.

The good thing about a vision, other than the facts it is less specific, less pressure-laden and less prone to failure is that by its very existence it tends to move an individual or organization in that direction. If an organization or individual uses their vision as a framework or measuring stick for every action taken, they are more likely to move in that direction. It is pretty obvious that some strategies will get you closer to your goal, while others will not.

Another interesting thing about a vision is its psychological effect. Human beings are teleological or goal driven. Even subconsciously they tend to move towards a goal, once the goal has been set. Ever notice how once you become interested in a smart phone, car or appliance, you start seeing it everywhere? You start seeing articles and commercials featuring what you want. Your friends on Facebook start talking about it. That’s how goal-seeking works.

Some might even say there is a conspiracy of circumstances to create your vision once you create it and turn it loose.

So this New Year I suggest that instead of yet another doomed resolution you might want to set a vision. Where do you want to be in 1 year’s time? In 5 years? What do you want to be, to do, to have? Write it down. Read it often. Be open and receptive to nontraditional options. Take actions that move you in the direction of your dream whenever opportunities present themselves-and they will!

I would love to hear your experiences of visioning throughout the year.  I wish you much health, happiness and success in your personal and professional lives for 2014.


posted by Glen McDaniel


This is the best advice I have seen in a long time. I have been the victim of resolutions-gone-awry just about every year for the past 10 years or so.

I think creating a vision is in fact setting a goal but it's more affirming and less threatening than pledging to do something that you know you will not achieve, Then comes the feeling of disappointment and even guilt.

thank you for a great suggestion.

Natalie Carter, MT January 2, 2014 3:38 PM
Brooklyn NY

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