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What are your thoughts regarding New Year resolutions?

Do you make them at the beginning of each year?

Do you feel guilty if you don’t make them?

Do you make them and then feel bad for not keeping them?

Do you believe making them is a waste of time?

Allow me to redirect your thoughts on what resolutions are by posing a different question:

Do you feel compelled to improve yourself and your life? In other words, are you committed to self-improvement or self-development?

If you answered “yes” then this article is for you.

Socrates made this bold statement: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe that he tapped into an innate and universal desire and that is the need to move towards one’s full potential. For me, resolutions and such all boil down to this principle: 

Every person has room to grow and knows it!

That is what New Year resolutions are all about. For whatever reason, we choose the beginning of a new year to engage in this review of our life and then decide what we can or want to improve on. I don’t think making annual resolutions is the only way to find areas for growth.

A colleague, Dan, sets goals for himself each month. One friend, Frances, annually revisits a vision map of her life and adds new images to it. Peter, a client, has a lifeline map he created long ago and each January he looks at the progress he has made and tweaks his upcoming goals to ensure he stays on track. A mentor showed me her list of Personal Commitments that she updates twice a year.

There are many ways to regenerate yourself so that you examine your life and set new goals; writing out New Year’s resolutions is only one of the hundreds of ways to accomplish this.

Allow me to share with you a list of Best Practices that, once you apply them to your preferred method of life-examination, you will experience great improvements and enjoy a fulfilling life. Treat each of these as a suggestion that actually enhances your own best method to grow towards your full potential.

I refer to these personal goals, resolutions, or commitments as ‘Your List.’

  1. Each item on your list must be for yourself and not to satisfy someone else’s idea of who you should be.
  2. Keep your list in written form even if it is simply a collage of images. If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist.
  3. Review your list often. Doing this keeps the resolutions fresh in your mind.
  4. Aim for improvement, not perfection.
  5. Work for balance; strive to improve in different facets of your life so that boredom doesn’t settle in.
  6. Inject fun and excitement into your list of things to accomplish.
  7. Celebrate each time you reach a milestone or goal.
  8. Add several items to your list that challenge and test you. You won’t know how great you can be until you define yourself as great.
  9. Share your list and journey with someone who cares about you so that you won’t feel alone.
  10. Whenever you feel stuck ask for help. Or better yet, do a little dance, make a little love. In other words, go back and do something that you already know how to do well so you can refresh and renew.
  11. Place your focus on the outcome rather than the process. Your brain is an amazing creation and once it sees the clear image of what you want, it will create the means.
  12. Reflect on your life’s purpose or mission as you enter items on your list. The more the item is connected to what you are about, the easier it will be to attain it.
  13. Try to be consistent in your approach to your list. If that does not work for you, try another, but don’t start a new method each year.
  14. Be gentle and kind to yourself whenever you fall down. You are human after all.
  15. Each time you fall, don’t define it as a failure. See it as a learning opportunity of self-discovery.
  16. Use your list in conjunction with other methods of self-exploration such as journaling, meditating, praying, or drawing. One creative endeavor spills over to another.
  17. Realize that you will never reach your full potential and allow that to be a motivation, not a deterrent.

Now you can go ahead and make you list of resolutions, goals, or commitments because you have 17 suggestion s that ensure you will have the fulfilling life you desire.