Creating New Year’s Resolutions That Work For All Of Us

It’s not only a New Year but a New Decade: Even-more reason to be out with the old and in with the new-

New Year’s Resolutions are part of this hoopla – and can be effective mapping strategies for inspiring purpose and driving productivity. More often, however, we’ll highjack these well-intentioned pledges – repurposing them into challenges of our self-esteem.

As the clock marks the birth of a new decade, we’ll vow positive change and personal gain, yet our protocol will be shaky: Instead of taking stock of all that we are and planning how to contribute what we already bring to the table, we’ll scrutinize our shortcomings in attempts to supersize ourselves in order to become “more.”

I’ll Be Happy When…

Typically, our Resolutions are patchworks of “fixes:” We must lose twenty-pounds (because we’re overweight); run a marathon (because we’re out of shape); become wealthier (because money creates happiness) or find meaningful relationships (because we need someone to complete us)…

These negative narratives nip at our self-esteem: implying we are somehow substandard and in need of improvement in order for our lives to work out. With such self-doubt, satisfaction becomes something perpetually dangling just out of reach: year-after-year/decade-after-decade…


The truth is, as adults, we have already arrived: We’ve grown through developmental stages and created self-sustaining behaviors. Most often, it is not ourselves but our perspectives that need upgrading.

Take a moment and envision the billions of cells working in harmony to move your eyes from left-to-right as you read this passage – interpreting these letters into words, words into sentences – all sparking an understanding of their clustered meaning: Pretty amazing stuff!

There is nothing sub-standard about us. With all of our abilities, New Year’s Resolutions can be repurposed into timely tools for expanding worldviews and creating bigger-picture opportunities.

The Discipline of Choice

New Year’s Resolutions are nothing more than goals paired with a fresh calendar: The success of these January 1 aspirations depend not on posturing and proving but on awareness and focus.

Most of us have been in the middle of a conversation, only to be interrupted by the “ding” of a text message. Instead of maintaining the interaction we are having, we disrupt it to see who’s sending us the message. We feel compelled to this behavior but, in fact, we’ve chosen to stop the flow of one thing to focus on another: a choice that can easily side-tracks us – as well as send a message to our conversation partner that other things matter more than the moment we are sharing and the goal we are embarking upon.

Not only is multi-tasking proven to reduce productivity, but it reinforces an insidious idea that we must be on top of everything -in real-time- or fall behind, thus proving we are not enough.

Many of life’s missteps and mistakes are a result of our distractions: this includes the negative internal thinking that constantly scans for obstacles and creates internal complications rather than external contributions. Instead of using New Year’s Resolutions to focus on fixing, it is far more powerful and effective to use these goals for clarity and expansion.

Resolutions are best realized through the process of considering all the options and angles of a given circumstance: When we leave the internal critic behind and become aware of the potential of ourselves and our surroundings, the answers become clearer. From this even-keeled perspective, we can then make informed decisions that are obtainable, enjoyable, and achievable.

Become Telescopes, not Microscopes

This year, instead of using New Year’s Resolutions to inwardly scrutinize, let’s outwardly focus on using our existing abilities to contribute our skillsets. Handled wisely, New Year’s Resolutions are helpful tools for taking stock of our assets and creating action plans that work not only for us but for the collective good in all of us.