Resolutions of New Year's Past

December 26, 2016

Like many at this time of year, I began to compile a list of New Year's resolutions in anticipation of 2017. My litany read much like ones in the past...to lose weight, get in better shape, be more “others oriented” and less self-centered and become more productive. How many of us make resolutions like this every year only to have our determination wane within the first few months of the New Year? Reading these my list, I knew before 2017 even started I would probably lose focus by January 31st.

Now it’s not that I specifically think of myself as lazy or unmotivated, in fact I believe I am a pretty dedicated person. So why did these goals seem so unattainable? In part, because they require a giant leap from one place in life across a chasm to the other side of a white picket fence and partly because they are actually very negatively skewed, focusing on my character flaws or personal deficiencies. But honestly, the main reason is because they just don’t sound that exciting. Frankly, exercise is not all that fun, and giving more of oneself can seem like sacrifice, which just sounds painful. So I scrapped that list.

I then started to look at my bigger life dreams, my “bucket list” as it is called. One dream has always been to help build orphanages or schools in third world countries; realistically, not feasible at this specific point in time. But in a moment of clarity, I realized there are many ways I could accomplish several of my ambitions with one solution. For instance, I have often admired Habitat for Humanity and the work they do within our community. If I set the goal of becoming a regular volunteer with them, I would not only feed my desire to learn to build something but it would help me focus on doing good for others as well as get me into better physical shape, all in one shot. And honestly, the idea of working in a team environment to build a house while benefiting a less fortunate family sounds a lot more fun than joining a gym!

So when making resolutions at the beginning of this New Year, what perspective are you using? Are you focused on what you want to fix, change or improve? Maybe this year you can give yourself a break and set a goal that is exciting, interesting and, therefore, easier to achieve? And through it all, by simply being more inspired, more engaged and more active, you may just find yourself checking “done” by the resolutions of New Years’ past.

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Knowledge. Clarity. Action.