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New Approaches for those Pesky Resolutions

January '14

As we begin 2014 I thought it might be fun to share two ways of responding to the New Year’s resolution quandary. I liked one because it turned the very word resolution on its head and the other for its simplicity, so I adopted it – with a slight adaptation.

I discovered the first while reading a recent interview with Robert Emmons (author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier). He points out that resolutions emerge from a state of discontent as you review the past year examining things you want to change. For example, after those holiday indulgences you might focus on three shifts: ”drink less, eat less, and exercise more.”

Instead of looking for what went wrong during the past year and trying to change it for the coming year, Emmons recommends you concentrate on what went right, noting gains and progress. Then you will embark on any activity in a more positive emotional state. This idea fit so beautifully with my suggestion for an end of the year gratitude review in December’s Midlife Discovery, I couldn’t resist sharing it here.

The second approach features a more concise way to make New Year’s resolutions, which comes as no surprise in this era of sound bites and tweets. Instead of developing a long, or perhaps even short, list of resolutions for the year, this method encourages you to drop them all and simply choose one word to guide you for the year. That’s right – one word. To my mind, you can choose two or even three if you like. After all, Eat, Pray, Love worked out pretty well for Elizabeth Gilbert. 

I chose two words for 2014: clear and grow. In the week since I adopted them, I find the simplicity of one or two words as a guiding mantra to be very effective. While I conjured up these words at separate times, I realized later that they work well together. I could see that when you clear weeds out of a garden, plants and flowers grow better.

How about you? Does this idea appeal to you! What word or words will you choose for this year? Love to hear them.

May the year of 2014 hold great blessings for you!









  1. Helga Matzko said on January 30, 2014:

    What a wonderful way to change one’s automatic ways of adjusting – if adjusting at all.

  2. Bonnie said on January 31, 2014:

    Thanks, Helga!

  3. maria said on February 3, 2014:

    Hi Bonnie,

    My words are FEARLESS FREE AND COURAGEOUS Being my coach, you know why I choose these.

  4. Bonnie said on February 3, 2014:

    What wonderful words, Maria!

    Love ’em,

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