Before setting Resolutions, do you know where you stand today?

When I present Goal Setting, I demonstrate it in several steps, the first one being the Decision.

What will be my Goal?

This first step is a little more difficult than what we might think. It doesn’t always just happen with a lightbulb idea flashing instantly with a Goal to follow through.

In order to set your Goals properly and set them up for success, it is always a great idea to take a bit of time on this Decision step.  It is all about stopping and analyzing your present situation carefully.

I bring you excerpts of an article that touched me deeply. I read it recently and wanted to share it with you. The lesson is very powerful.

This article “Utilize the Stockdale Paradox to Help Achieve Personal Growth” ( is about the experience of Admiral Stockdale, a surviving prisoner of war in Vietnam. The paradox was quite surprising but very logical. Here is a quote from the article:

“Then comes the paradox: While Stockdale had remarkable faith in the unknowable, he noted that it was always the most optimistic of his prisonmates who failed to make it out of there alive. “They were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

What the optimists failed to do was confront the reality of their situation. They preferred the ostrich approach, sticking their heads in the sand and hoping for the difficulties to go away. That self-delusion might have made it easier on them in the short-term, but when they were eventually forced to face reality, it had become too much and they couldn’t handle it.”

Stockdale analyzed his situation carefully. He realized and acknowledged its severity early on. He clearly understood what he was facing, the difficulties, the pain and suffering. He faced them. Yet he also believed he would be able to survive and be saved.

What does this translate to for those of us who will hopefully never have to endure such challenges? It means that before a Decision is made as to what change is required in our life, we must make a clear assessment of where we stand. The statement must be brutally honest. How bad is my health/weight problem? How much in debt and in trouble am I? How urgent really is this change?

This type of statement, with all its truthfulness, will ensure that you are real with yourself, that you know what you want to tackle, why you want to give it that push and how you will address it. Your honesty will also help you get the support you need. The analysis will allow you to be reasonable in your milestones and expectations. In turn, you will increase your chances of success!

Are you ready to take out your Journal and make your assessment today?


Related posts:

  1. The Importance of Setting Goals
  2. Relationships, Friendships – Where do I stand?
  3. Where to start when thinking of New Year’s Resolutions?
  4. The hype about New Year’s Resolutions
  5. Feedback from a friend: New Year’s Resolutions

One Response to “Before setting Resolutions, do you know where you stand today?”

  1. [...] you have not read about the Stockdale Paradox, then hop over to Carmen’s blog post on 13 November  it sheds some light on how some people survive situations while others do [...]

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