Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s resolution’

Revitalizing Resolutions—Making a Commitment to Others

As we close in on the end of January…how are those resolutions going for you?

I don’t want to come from the jaded, pessimistic place of “Done and dusted—resolutions don’t work” that informs so many memes and conversations, but history and culture-following science and surveys show that by week three or four of January, most have fallen off the resolution wagon.

I can point you toward hundreds of coaches who will each tell you ways to stick to it and truly commit to yourself…but that’s not why we’re here together.

I would, however, like you to consider adding a resolution and re-committing to this one over and over.


  1. Exercise more
  2. Lose weight
  3. Get organized
  4. Learn a new skill or hobby
  5. Live life to the fullest
  6. Save more money/spend less money
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Spend more time with family and friends
  9. Travel more
  10. Read more

I love these—what amazing goals and intentions.

If you are recognizing yourself in one or more of these, congratulations on your engagement and commitment to improvement. I think it’s safe to say any one of these is worthy of your energy and attention and follow through.

I’d like to suggest we add an eleventh “TOP” resolution to the list (OK, I’ll admit, if we’re ranking, I’d like to push it to the number one spot on the list):


I like how Justice Sonia Sotomayor, when speaking of her new children’s picture book (Just Help! How to Build a Better World) says, “Every day, you can make a difference by helping someone. Each time you do, you become part of something bigger than yourself.”

This doesn’t have to be an earth-shifting change. You don’t need to sacrifice comfort or happiness or ease—just give up a slice of selfishness (and we are all selfish on several levels—not casting aspersions). OK, slight correction, because, in some ways, our selfishness does provide us comfort. So, you don’t need to shed it all, just commit a slice to someone or many others outside yourself.

We have concentric circles.

  • Self
  • Family
  • Home
  • Work and co-workers
  • Neighborhood
  • Community of place or activities (might also include spirituality and politics)
  • Those who share our identity definitions
  • National identity
  • And we can go on and on…species, resident of the planet, part of the galaxy, universe, etc.

Within those circles, it doesn’t take much to find someone to help. To show kindness. To connect. To be inspired by and to comfort. And, we all know, the person being of service ALWAYS gets more out of the exchange than the person being served.

There is so much to discover about claiming and fueling your power when you are of service. Each day, just finding a way. Asking yourself, “How and who can I help today?”

Hold a door. Tell someone you’re thinking of them. Give a compliment. Express gratitude. Make a choice or a change for the planet. Sign up for a volunteer gig. Mentor. Donate to a cause. Encourage someone. Pick up trash. Over-deliver what someone is expecting from you at work or home. Think added value. Say “I love you” first.

At the end of the day, being able to say, “Because of me…this, and I added more to the world than I took” is an incredible feeling.

We all want that. Each night. That.

New Year’s Revolutions

converse-fieldsWell, here we are. The end of a year, the beginning of the next. It has that same weird space-time oddness as graduation, called commencement at the end of a term…is it the end or just the beginning?

Well, both, of course. And with this particular revolve of the planet, we tend to load the change of calendar year up with plenty of baggage and expectation and guilt.

New Year’s resolutions become funny memes on social media, expectations of failure before spring, gym memberships and step-tracking bracelets and diet books collecting dust once real life sets in…but there truly is no reason to be resigned about that. Success is just as likely a conclusion, and it can, actually, be easy.

What else is easy? Trying something new. Not trying EVERYTHING new, or mandating that you fix every flaw in your world as you pin the 2015 calendar to your wall. Just a thing. A single choice this single day. A decision to procure a big bottle that you’ll fill with water and drain each day.  Or (not “and”) a category of food you’d like to have less of in your overall meal plan. Or (not “and”) the taking of the stairs or parking at the far end of the lot. Or (not “and”) saving a few extra bucks here and there that add up over time. Or, or, or…

We need to cut ourselves a little slack. A lot of slack, actually. Trying on a new choice takes some getting used to, but how dull if we didn’t keep on trying new things, new choices, new ways of being. It is how we define ourselves, and redefine ourselves, perpetually. It’s one of our very coolest skills, and it has nothing to do with January 1st any more than March 28th or July 16th or yesterday or next Tuesday. Reinventing every day is the juicy stuff in life.

So, sure, use New Year’s as a line of demarcation simply because it helps us keep track. It is a culturally agreed upon Red Letter Day. But keep taking stock. I do Birthday Commitments more than New Year’s Resolutions, but they are nothing more than simple, private promises, and not doing them how I might have originally intended is not “breaking” a promise or resolution…it’s just trying something new.

So get all Elsa about it, and Let It Go…breathe. Oooh—that’s a good one—breathing more deeply more often during my days. I’m going to try that one today.