Tuesday, January 3, 2012

An alternative to resolutions

Do you make resolutions for the new year? Do you keep them? Some statistics say that 25 percent of people drop their resolutions within the first week of the year—and 36 percent ditch them within the first month. After six months 54 percent have not maintained their resolutions.

Having said that, it’s also true that making resolutions is better than not making them—if you want to reach goals in your life.

Give the year a name
Here’s another alternative: Consider doing an informal review at the end of the year or the start of a new year. Include a look back at the past year to see what was good and not so good. Reflect on the past year’s highlights (and lowlights!) and what you learned from them. Then look ahead to imagine what might happen in the coming year. What would you like to have happen? What manageable goals can you set—and what small steps can you take to get there? Reflect on what strengths and resources you have (include your own skills and strengths and think about family and friends) that you take with you into the year that will help you get what you most want.

Then think about what name you might give to the coming year: a single word or perhaps a short phrase. What word or phrase might you hold in front of you that will energize you and fuel your passion in the coming year?

Two friends and I have done this on New Year’s Eve for 10 years now, and in the past three my fiancĂ© has joined in. We have been amazed at what can happen during the year when we do this.

Prepare for surprises
For example, one year I chose “authentic” as my word. I determined that, in my workplace, I wasn’t going to let the behavior and attitudes of my coworkers determine my actions. I wanted my words and actions to be authentic. Most days I was very conscious of that intention and really did bring my positive thinking into my workplace. That word still lives in me to this day.

Interestingly, at the start of 2009 I chose “break free” as my phrase—intending that I would break free of things that held me back from being all I could be. Little did I know that in October of that year I would be Reduced-In-Force at a workplace I’d been in for 22 years! Further, for my 2010 word I chose “adventure,” again not fully realizing just where that would take me. My adventure turned me onto a career I absolutely love and for which I feel I’ve trained all my life.

What word or phrase might you give to 2012? Try creating one—and wait to see what happens! It just could replace New Year’s resolutions in your life.

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