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Fishful Thinking: Goals over Resolutions

What are your biggest regrets from 2019? Ask any angler and they might tell you they did not get out on the water as much as they would have liked, if at all. The sad realization is that life can get in the way of our passions. Work, school, children, friends, family...life is not always accommodating to anglers, especially when extensive travel is involved. But before you go making New Years resolutions to “get out on the water more” in 2020, we have some advice that will actually make your fishing dreams a reality this year and in years to come.

Step 1: Set goals instead of resolutions. Resolutions are like marriages, only more likely to fail. People make promises to themselves that they will not keep without more diligent attention and a proactive attitude. Goals are different because they keep you accountable. They stare you in the face each and every day, mocking you until they are crossed off the list. A “Fishing Goal List” for 2020 will have more teeth than a lackadaisical resolution announcement on your facebook page.

Step 2: Write them down. Put them on paper (and also on your phone) and post them to a prominent place in your home where you will see them often. These goals should make you squirm a bit, in that they are challenging to you internally. Maybe you want to take casting lessons, buy a new pair of waders, visit a new location, or just get out and fish. Make them specific, time specific, and action oriented. Make yourself accountable by setting a deadline for each goal.

Step 3: Do NOT tell people about your goals. One major reason resolutions fail so miserably is because we receive a sense of accomplishment by touting them to others, whether in person or via social media. This rush acts almost as if we’ve already accomplished this "resolution" and quells any ambition for pursuing it further. There are exceptions to this rule. Close friends and family members can sometimes be tasked with holding us accountable for our goal list. Share it with those people you trust to make you a better person, and communicate with them about it. Especially when it comes to fishing. Having a buddy around to make sure you are doing what you said you would do can really make a difference.

Step 4: Don’t wait. Why do tomorrow what can be done today? Why save vacation time? Can’t afford that new rod that would make your year? Find a way to get it. Ask yourself the HOW questions. How can I make my dream trip happen this year? How can I get my husband out fishing with me more? How can I become a better fly angler? Nothing good comes in the waiting place. Make your goals happen.

Step 5: Celebrate your successes. When you do accomplish your goal, shout it from the rooftops. Tell people on social media, call your grandmother, and tell your local liars club. The celebration is when you will learn the real sense of accomplishment. Cross that goal off your list and bask in the glory that is you. Reach for your fishing dreams in 2020, and don’t be afraid to fail.