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Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Morning Check In: It's Not Too Late!

I looked at the calendar today and counted the number of days and weeks until the end of the year. Basically there are seven weeks left, or 48 days to be precise (including today). Why do I bring that up?

In December 2010 and January 2011, I wrote and posted a series of articles about reviewing the year, setting goals, and using accountability tools. So today I wonder how well we did this past year. I wonder if we are still on track to accomplish the goals we set at the beginning of the year. There is some time left to make a final push or at least to make some measurable progress toward completing our goals. Here are some questions to get you thinking about whether you met your goal. While you think, you might also reflect on what goals you might set next year.
  • Am I on track to accomplishing my goal?
  • If I am not on track, how far off the mark am I? How much more do I need to do until I have reached my success point?
  • Can I find a way to make a final push to finish my goal?
  • If I cannot achieve my goal, is there a way that I can achieve a portion of my goal?

Do not fall into the trap of waiting until January 1 to reset any current unachieved goal. Six weeks or 48 days remain in the year 2011 in which you can make some forward motion. If you allow yourself to waste what remaining time you have left in the year, you fall into the broken china way of thinking. This way of thinking says that when we break one plate in a set of china, we say, “oh well, I’ve broken one piece of the china set, I might as well break all the rest of the plates.” We would not do that, and yet we too often do just that by blowing the rest of our diet that week, or weekend, or give up working on whatever remains of our goal. This is a prime example of "all or nothing" thinking and one of the biggest fallacies to prevent our success. Instead, why not consider the "broken plate" as a vital lesson to be learned instead of an excuse to give up trying. Why not then renew the goal at that moment and the commitment to move forward?

If you have given up or altered your goals since the beginning of January, now might be a good time to consider what you learned from the experience with a view toward setting and achieving a more successful goal next time. Here are the ten questions suggested by Jinny S. Ditzler in her “Your Best Year Yet!” book and program ( Here is a link to my blog post earlier this year for a more detailed description of the questions at
  • What did I accomplish?
  • What were my biggest disappointments?
  • What did I learn?
  • How do I limit myself and how can I stop?
  • What are my personal values?
  • What roles do I play in my life?
  • Which role is my major focus for the next year?
  • What are my goals for each role?
  • What are my top ten goals for the next year?
  • How can I make sure I achieve my top ten goals?
As you consider how best to spend the time remaining in the year 2011, give some thought to the previous ten questions. We can learn much about ourselves in this ten-question process, and what we learn will guide us to setting and achieving stronger goals in the future.

Beware: this is that time of year when I begin nagging about goal setting. I cannot help myself. There is something about the end of the year pressure that goads me into this goal setting mindset. So start thinking about this past year and the next year to come, because I anticipate that this subject will come up again. Frequently. I like setting goals. I like the results that I (and my students) achieve from setting goals. I like the feeling I get when I have provided myself with a strong sense of direction and a road map to follow. I know you will enjoy sharing this road with me, so get cracking for the rest of 2011! It's not too late!


  1. Paula, thanks so much for your writings and the encouragement they provide! I look forward to your blog updates every week. Just want to let you know that there are lots of us out here who love your helpful Suzuki teaching tips and thoughts about life. Keep up the good work!

  2. I'm a new Suzuki parent (my daughter started violin 6 weeks ago) and I enjoy reading your blog. I hope you would post more posts for beginner parents like me. Thanks,

  3. Thank you Hannah and Sophia! I appreciate your writing to me! I appreciate the ideas. Sophia, I have several new parents just starting with their children this month, and I've revisited much of my parent education course. This will be great reminders for me about how the new parents feel. I hope to share many more tips, but please let me know if you have any special issues you want me to consider.