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July 1, 2009

Santa Claus, Where Are You?

If you're looking for a posting about phenomenal shopping deals, or starting Christmas shopping in July, you've come to the wrong place. The truth is, if I wrote about Christmas shopping in July it would be a rant -- and I really try to keep my rants to a minimum. No, this post really doesn't have much to do with Christmas. It's actually just another one of those realizations I've had -- an "ah ha moment" -- and now seems the perfect day to share.

Every year I sit back on December 26 and wonder how I managed to get it all done in those few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s not just me though, the whole world seems to go into overdrive at the holidays – buzzing here, buzzing there. We shop, decorate, wrap, cook, send greeting cards, visit family, visit Santa, get our nails done, bake cookies, attend parties, throw parties, volunteer for those less fortunate, attend our kids’ choral concerts….the list goes on and on.

The month of December is truly amazing – and personally, I always give the credit to Santa Claus. I mean, it isn’t humanly possible otherwise, so it must be Santa, right?

But here’s my question, where, exactly, does Santa go from January through November? Why couldn’t he maybe help out a little during the year, instead of leaving me to spin my wheels all day and get nothing done? What’s different about the month of December?

I thought about this question a lot in January, and I realized that for starters, in December I know exactly what I'm working towards and precisely what I need to do to get it done.

Ah ha...goals.

Of course. It makes sense that when we know where we're going, we can figure out how to get there.

Armed with that nugget of wisdom, in January I laid out a master plan for 2009. This was to be a year of personal growth for me. A year when I would find time for my passions. I'd plow through the stacks of books that have piled up on my bookshelf. I'd do more knitting and scrapbooking, I'd really "dig into" my gardening. I'd take time to explore different things that I've been interested in but have never really taken the time to learn. 2009 was to be "my year."

So here it is -- July 1st -- a great day to check in and revisit those personal goals, right?

Well, the good news is that I was able to locate my list. The bad news is, apparently even with a plan, Santa Claus doesn't like to help out (at least not from January to July).

In all seriousness, initially I was kind of disappointed when I reviewed my progress towards my goals. There was very little that I could check off as even "in progress," let alone "complete." But in asking myself the question, "Why haven't I completed more?" I realized that there are so many things that I have accomplished that I never even considered when I wrote my goals.

Nowhere on the list had I considered flexing my creative writing muscles and starting a blog -- yet I'm faithfully maintaining two! Nowhere had I considered working on my photography, or learning new software programs, or making new friends. Yet these are all things that I have done already this year. I am very happy for those accomplishments.

But still I maintain that Santa Claus has been checked out so far this year. I haven't done anything as amazing as what I can do at Christmastime. So once again, I find myself asking the question, what's different about December? And in asking that question, today I had yet another "ah ha moment."

Santa isn't just about goals - he's also about discipline. He's about planning the work, and working the plan. Call it consistency, sticktoitiveness or productivity, call on Nike's "Just do it" campaign. Santa Claus knows what needs to get done, and he makes it happen.

Later today I'll be updating my goals for this year, because truthfully some of the things that seemed so important to me in January, are a little less important to me now. Sure, I love to knit, and I'd like to try to knit something different than the one and only thing I know how to make (a Prayer Shawl), but I also love to write. I love to read the books on my shelf, but I take equal pleasure in reading the incredible blogs written by so many talented friends I've made in the past few months.

Yes, I'll be doing a mid-year adjustment to my goals, and that's a good thing -- after all, that's part of finding my way. But rest assured, before the week is done, I will have nailed down some core disciplines that I want and need to be a part of my life if I want to accomplish my goals.

Oh yes Santa, I will see you before Thanksgiving. How much rest do you need anyway?

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