Joint resolutions

Statue of Nike (Winged Victory of Samothrace)
My sisters have agreed to join me in an experiment: to support and encourage one another in achieving our New Year’s resolutions.  We agreed to talk by conference call periodically throughout the year about our respective undertakings and whatever obstacles and issues we are encountering.

Today we had our first such conversation, and, I must say, it was extremely thought-provoking.  It was different from any other conversation we’ve ever had.  That we are even attempting such a thing together is thrilling.  And to have two such thoughtful and engaging sisters–how lucky I am!  Our joint undertaking has already given a new shape to the year—I pray that success will crown our ventures, and that we each grow in wisdom along the way.

Seeking help from others in setting goals may itself increase the chance of their being attained.  In the past, I’ve been satisfied to work toward a few goals each year while not beating myself up if I didn’t achieve them.  Last year, for instance, I set three goals for myself, of which, by year’s end, I’d achieved only one.  Nonetheless, 2013 was a ‘good’ year, in that I advanced steadily toward two of the goals, was happy in my work, and matured in other ways that can’t be readily analyzed.  Having worthy goals is, in my view, intrinsically important: they may never be accomplished if they are actually ideals.

Still, I have reached a state of urgency about accomplishing.  We deny ourselves an important satisfaction if we cherish goals that we never attain.  My sisters are helping me set goals I can realistically achieve.  Research shows that we are more likely to achieve goals that are specific and can be broken down into smaller, measurable constituent parts.  Vague goals, or overly ambitious ones, are demoralizing and tend to be abandoned quickly.

According to Danielle Collins of the Huffington Post, having a clear vision and enjoying one’s achievements along the way are also important components of being loyal to one’s resolutions.  For the moment, Winged Victory’s pleasure is in one small stride.

The statue of Nike, formally known as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, is in the Louvre.  A golden replica of the statue can be seen in the lobby of the Citadel building in Chicago’s Loop.