Promises, PromisesLisa Kelly-LothGoals,resolutions,consistency January is a time when we remake ourselves. We think about all of the things we wanted to do last year, but didn't. It's a time when we make a list of goals and promise to accomplish them over the next 12 months. Some people are wildly elaborate with their resolutions, even purchasing "systems" to keep track of their goals. In the old days, we used complicated color-coded notebooks; now we've graduated to fancy electronic gadgets. In the end, however, many of our well-intentioned resolutions, goals and promises end up at the bottom of a desk drawer or hidden somewhere on a hard drive with a long-forgotten file name. And why even bother looking for the list? It's only bound to depress you since you didn't keep your promises. Better wait until next January and write up a new one! Before you know it, March is upon you and the list is barely a memory. What happened to those good intentions? What was on that list, anyway? And why do some people seem to operate with their resolutions stuck to their foreheads? Many fine loan officers are not good with details--a statement that can be verified by almost any processor. And, many loan officers look to the end of the month for gratification, so why consult a list written months ago? They wonder, "How will that list get me more borrowers this month? This year?" The list of goals we write each January makes us feel good at the time. It even makes our boss feel good. But what does it really accomplish? I performed an Internet search on the word "goals" and came up with 21,500,000 pages of results. There is almost as much interest in goals as there is in weight loss. Say, wasn't that one on your list of resolutions? It's important to make plans in order to achieve your aspirations. Also, your goals might change throughout the year, along with your methods of achieving them. The January list isn't set in stone. It should be looked upon as a flexible document. Find your January list, or better yet, compose a new one today. There is no singular system that works for everyone. The important part is to refer to your list often, and change it when you need to adapt. Evaluate your actions against your goals. Are they realistic? Can you measure your progress? On a personal note, 10 people in my office, including myself, set a major goal last year--to participate in a full or half marathon in February 2004. At the beginning of the year, no one planned to run anywhere for 26.2 miles. The goal wasn't added to our list until August, but we were flexible and open to revising it. We developed a specific training guide, but no one followed the plan exactly. Some made their own adaptations, but all of us reviewed the plan weekly. We were consistent, and everyone finished. There's still plenty of time to develop goals for 2004. Start today and make a promise. Lisa Kelly-Loth is president of ESI Mortgage LP, a sub-prime and Alt-A wholesale lender. She may be reached at (800) 765-3140 or e-mail [email protected].