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I am no stranger to the unattained New Year's resolution. I never did learn how to snowboard, and I still have never set foot inside of a Gold's Gym. So, please forgive me for stepping onto the soapbox and boasting about the importance of resolutions. I understand that goals can get lost in the hustle of just trying to get by and survive, but I also know that great things don't just happen and great achievements are always bookended by great and determined efforts. And, while I have personally fallen short with some of my resolutions, I do know a thing or two about challenges and triumphs. On Thanksgiving morning, I ran in a 5K race. I have never run in one before, and I have a bad knee, but I was determined to make it happen. It wasn't pretty, but I not only finished the race without stopping, I also didn't come in last place (although it was close to last). Now, my next goal for 2012 is to run in another one and shave off 8 minutes of my time. I have 11 months to make that happen. And, it's now in writing, so I am more determined now than ever, and I will let you know how I do.
One of the greatest books I have ever read is "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. In it, Lamott talks about how her son once had to do a project about birds for school. He became so overwhelmed with the idea of the assignment that it seemed impossible to him. But, instead of giving in to his worries, Lamott told her son to just take it "bird by bird." Break it down into smaller, more attainable goals. In doing this, her son no longer was intimidated by the assignment, and the successful feeling procured with completing smaller goals fueled his confidence. So, in making a resolution, it's important to not get overwhelmed and to also not be blasé or make the goal all encompassing. For instance, if you want to revamp your carwash, look at how you can do it in sections on a month-to-month basis. If you want to add on an additional profit center, break down the steps you'll need to take. Start with going over your options. Then, look at the space and money allowances. Then, talk to another person who has had success with the same additional profit center. A goal doesn't even have to involve material or tangible things. Perhaps you could be looking to boost morale with your employees or to improve your customer service. But, no matter what it is you choose to achieve in 2012, please choose to do something. There is always room for improvement.
The car care industry is an amazing one. I have met so many great people at trade shows and on my reader visits. You're all full of philanthropy and enthusiasm. You're all smart and hard workers. You're also a tenacious lot. And, I'm hoping 2012 is even better for you than 2011. Make sure you know what it is you have to do and just do it. Bird by bird, goal by goal, we are in this together, and we can do it.
So, on your marks, everyone, and let's go, and I'll see you at the finish line.