from experts in the field:
Stephen M. Shapiro is the author of Goal-Free Living: How to
Have the Life You Want NOW! (
www.GoalFree.com), and a professional speaker on the topics of creativity and innovation.
According to a recent Opinion Research survey, only 8 percent of
Americans successfully achieve their annual New Year’s resolutions. With
such a failure rate, should you bother setting resolutions? Absolutely! The
key is to set expansive and empowering theme-based resolutions that
encourage growth, rather than traditional specific goal-based resolutions
that too often lead to discouragement and failure. Below are five tips, which will not only assist
you in setting successful resolutions, but will also improve your overall life and leave you open
to new and exciting possibilities.
1. Choose a theme, not a specific goal. Rather than identifying a specific result you wish
to achieve, choose one or two general words to describe your next year—your theme. Such
examples may be “service”—serving others in whatever way you can to make a contribution.
Or “flow”—making the year effortless. If you are facing significant change in your life, perhaps
“new beginnings” would be appropriate.
2. Ask yourself why? Can’t think of a theme? A good place to start is with your traditional
resolutions. Then ask yourself why. Do you want to lose weight? Why? Do you want to be
healthier? Do you want to have more confidence? If so, instead of losing 15 pounds, perhaps
“health” or “confidence” may be a good theme.
3. Choose an empowering theme. Choose a theme that passionately inspires you and moves
you into action. Still can’t think of a theme? How about “peace,” “love,” “friendship,” “travel” or
“self-expression”? Or maybe “new horizons,” “adventure” or “mind expansion.” If all else fails and
you still can’t figure out what your passion is, then make “finding my passion” your theme.
4. Develop your theme jointly. If you are in a relationship, do these exercises together. This
shared process helps ensure that you’re both playing the same game, regardless of your individual interests, and creates a support mechanism to carry you through the tougher times.
5. Remain open to changes in direction. Themes are not set in stone. If the theme you
chose is not working for you, change it. If you feel locked into a specified path, you will begin to
feel constrained and lose your passion. Play with options, and don’t be afraid to change course. C
Should Supreme Court
justices have life tenure?
from experts in the field:
Laura Berman Fortgang (
owner and president of InterCoach, Inc., and the author of Take
Yourself to the Top and Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction.
New Year’s resolutions are an outdated form of goal-setting that dates
back to the Babylonians in 153 B.C. According to psychologists John C.
Norcross and James Prochaska, 23 percent of people fail to keep their resolutions for the first week of the year and 45 percent fail by the end of
January. You’d think that by now we’d realize that the jig is up.
Working with business owners, executives and homemakers alike who want to make
changes, I can attest that it takes a lot more than making a list to get results. But some traditions
die hard, so maybe it would help to know a few of the many forces working against you by doing
it the “old” way.
Language is an important part of how we make lifestyle changes. As we repeat what we
want, we cement it into our brains and program our mental computer to help achieve it. The
words we use to do so make a difference in our results. Generally, no one uses the word “resolve”
as a verb in our modern lexicon. We don’t say, “I resolve to lose 20 pounds.” And you rarely hear
anyone say, “I am resolute in losing weight.” The words need to mean something to you, and you
are more apt to hear “commitment,” “excellence” and “mission” in contemporary workplaces and
If you look at it seasonally, ancient civilizations marked the new year in the spring, when new
life was coming to be, as a good time for renewal. It was Julius Caesar and then, in the 16th century,
the church, that sanctioned January 1 as the beginning of the new year—a time with no astrological
significance for change. The choice was arbitrary and excludes any help from Earth’s natural cycle.
Practically speaking, the most common resolutions include losing weight, quitting a bad
habit, saving or earning more, finding a better job, getting organized, exercising more, giving
back to the community and being a kinder person. Not one of these issues is a quick fix.
Resolutions can’t work, because they have no contingency plan for challenges, setbacks and
conflicts. They are old technology. Give them up like you did your typewriter and rotary phone.
So party and be merry, then take two aspirins before bed and wake up when you are really ready
to make long-lasting change. C
Opinions expressed are those of the
individuals or organizations represented
and are presented to foster discussion.
Costco and The Costco Connection
take no position on any Debate topic.