This time of year it seems that resolutions are all the rage. Everyone is doing it, and even if you find yourself feeling that not much in your life truly needs resolving, the peer pressure is enormous. No one wants to be the one loser in the neighborhood without a fatal flaw and a plan to fix it.

This time of year it seems that resolutions are all the rage. Everyone is doing it, and even if you find yourself feeling that not much in your life truly needs resolving, the peer pressure is enormous. No one wants to be the one loser in the neighborhood without a fatal flaw and a plan to fix it.

In all fairness, there are a bunch of things in my life that could use a little resolution, but I’m realistic. If I really wanted to get into that bikini by summer, 1982 would have been the time for a call to action. I haven’t seen my abs since the Ford administration, and it is unlikely they will make a sudden, surprise appearance in January.

I could use more organization in my life. I have accumulated enough Barbies and their accompanying dream houses in my garage over the years to keep Ken entertained through the next millennium. I have enough orphan power cords stuffed in the cabinets and drawers of my home office to strangle the entire National Association of Realtors membership, none of which (I have learned this week) is capable of charging my camera.

And the junk drawer at my home, which we now call "downstairs," has evolved into an intelligent species capable of reproducing by budding and fission. But after spending the better part of my prime years living by the seat of my pants, I know that resolving these issues will take more than a single New Year’s declaration.

I find it curious that we tend to pick one time a year to tie up our personal loose ends and that this defining moment of introspection is driven by a messed-up Gregorian calendar. If Pope Gregory had really had his act together, the new year would have come in June.

That weight-loss resolution would be a lot easier to swallow if it didn’t look like the Sugar Plum Fairy just threw up in my kitchen. There would be no need to resolve to get out of debt if the ball dropped on Memorial Day; it’s December that got me into this mess. And I might be more inclined to really want to spend extra time with family and friends if I hadn’t just spent the last quarter sequestered in a really long episode of "This is Your Life." I’m good for awhile.

The fact is that if we really want to better ourselves, we should be resolving to do so all year long. By piling up all of our inadequacies for the big Jan. 1 reveal, we tend to set ourselves up for failure. And the result can be a huge psychological downer. Success is never achieved overnight. It takes dedication and perseverance. It takes long-term resolve.

My inbox has been flooded over the past several weeks with magic pills to improve my real estate business in 2009. If I buy a book or take a course, if I get a new designation or attend a seminar, I am going to be an overnight success, I am told. These valuable offers all have one thing in common: They are preying on our need for instant gratification, our need for immediate resolution.

But much like the case of the missing abs, it is all of the little things I did (or did not) do over the years that got me to this point. Improvement is always a process and never an event, regardless of what my inbox may tell me. I am far from wealthy, and at times I feel far from financially solvent, but I will keep plugging away at building and improving — not because I am facing a new calendar year, but because I know I can’t ever stop moving forward. When I think I am done, I am finished.

As we slide out of 2008, I think it is safe to say that we have all experienced frustrations, challenges, and more than a little fear of the future. I have seen a lot of new or newer agents struggling to make a career, and a lot of veteran agents struggling to hang onto one, wondering how or if they will survive. It is so tempting to look at those experiencing success and feel a little inferior or even a little hopeless. This is when it is important to remember that their success didn’t occur in one defining moment but rather over time.

So this year I will not be making any earth-shattering resolutions, but just a couple of minor ones. I have plans and goals, but I resolve to remember that they are not seasonally driven. I resolve not to lose steam in February when I am still facing the challenges of our market and our business.

Mostly, though, I have decided that my resolution for 2009 will be 1,200 dots per inch. That’s it, and I think I can pull it off. It’s enough to give me a clear picture but not so big that I can’t quickly load the sucker. Anyway, I find a little pixelation is good. It allows me to more easily isolate and focus on the unique elements.

And I may clean out the junk drawer.

Whatever it is that you hope to accomplish in 2009, I wish you much success. Happy New Year!

Kris Berg is broker-owner of San Diego Castles Realty. She also writes a consumer-focused real estate blog, The San Diego Home Blog.



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