Friday, December 21, 2007

Resolutions: plans or platitudes

Today’s question will not be a poll. I think the blogosphere just heaved a collective sigh of relief.

Can a New Year’s Resolution be an agent of change?

New Year’s Eve will be here in 10 days. While most of us are still inundated with Christmas and Holiday preparations it is a good idea to keep sight of the upcoming year and how we want to invest that year.

In American tradition the start of a new year means making New Year’s Resolutions. Some of my own early memories of New Year’s Eve are from parties where everyone would stand in a circle just before midnight and recite a resolution they had made for the upcoming year. Most of those resolutions, as I recall, could be summed up as “to be a better person.”

Wanting to be a better person is not wrong but looking back I have to wonder how many of those “be better” sentiments had any forethought or backbone. If we want to see real changes, even improvements, in our lives then putting our hopes in the first statement that pops into our heads at 11:55 p.m. on December 31st comes with a big risk for failure.

Move from a wish to a plan.

If we really want to be better and do better or at least do something different in the new year why would we deliberately set ourselves up in a system that has traditionally resulted in more failures than successes?

The idea of New Year’s Resolutions is not wrong but how we go about them can be improved upon. The New Year’s Resolution has devolved into the butt of holiday jokes not because people aspire to being or doing better but because the resolution itself is not constructed with any power or tools to fulfill those aspirations.

If we have a goal, not just a wish, to see real and measurable change or improvement in our lives this year then we have to reinvent how we go about the New Year’s Resolution. Over the next week or so lots of blogs and website will be writing about New Year’s and resolutions so don’t get side-tracked trying to figure out which is the best system; the point is to act on your heart wish for the new year.

The steps listed here can be done in one afternoon or by setting aside an hour each day for the five days between Christmas and New Year’s. Each person will need more or less time than somebody else. Do not get hung up on how long it takes you to find and write up your objective for the new year.

One strategy for setting an achievable New Year’s goal or resolution:

1) Set a time to reflect on the past year and your life.

2) Make a short list of things that you want to accomplish or become but have not achieved yet.

3) Review the list and star some priorities.

4) For each priority item write a statement of what it would take to accomplish it.

5) After reflecting on the priorities and the level of commitment each would require select one or two and rewrite them as measurable goals with their commitment requirements and how you are going to be accountable for meeting the goal as much as it depends on effort on your part.

We will talk about what we put on our lists, and even what we call our lists, in a later post.

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1 comment:

chelle said...

When I make resolutions I try to make then more like goals. So I can feel like I did it :)

Good article :D