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From the Green Valley News, Wednesday 28 January 2009, page C2

Genealogy Today, by Betty Lou Malesky, CG

Setting Goals for 2009

Perhaps you are one of those lucky researchers without any problems ancestors, no brick walls to topple, no dead end family lines to fret over. You can still benefit from setting research goals for the year.

Most of us are goal oriented. Even those who do genealogy only as a hobby, will profit by having a definite goal in mind when beginning research.

Look back and review the results of your research over the past year. Did you succeed in your efforts to add a few additional names to your ancestral charts? Did your results improve as your research progressed? Did you go to an archives or library and find the information you sought? Were your online searches successful? If the answer to any of these questions, is "no" or "sometimes," setting goals for 2009 may change those answers to "yes."

Even if you answered "yes" to every question, goal setting will make your work easier and more productive. Now is the time to think about what you would like to accomplish this year. Set realistic goals—don’t aim to trace every line back to the immigrant before year end.

When your goals are overly ambitious, you will get discouraged easily. Begin by selecting one or two families or a particular area as the focus of your research. Make your goals specific so you know exactly what you want to accomplish. It’s generally better to narrow your focus and concentrate on one goal at a time.

Don’t be too ambitious in the number of goals set. Make a list of five or six objectives and keep them by your computer where you’ll see them every day. When you achieve a goal, cross it off—each goal met will provide incentive to tackle another. If you meet all your original goals before the end of the year, add new ones—you’re on a roll!

A list of goals is like a road map. It provides a destination and target toward which to aim. Use positive statements in writing your goals. Negative statements breed negative thinking that leads to defeat and disappointment. Review your goals occasionally to be sure you’re still on track.

Share your goals with friends and family. When you accomplish a goal let them know.

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