Reflections Over Resolutions

It's a new year, and for many, waving goodbye to 2023 was a relief. While I always enjoy New Year's Eve - largely for celebrating the anniversary of my marriage to Dwane Lay - I too was among those eager for a fresh start. But of course, with the start of the new year comes the seemingly inevitable question: "What are your resolutions?"

Here's my answer: I don't have any.

I used to set resolutions, but they never truly resonated with me, so I stopped. The entire process can be anxiety-inducing for many, including myself. A survey conducted in 2022 by Forbes showed that 62% of people set New Year's resolutions not because they genuinely want to, but because they feel pressured to. This social pressure can even turn a little competitive, inadvertently causing us to set resolutions for the wrong reasons.

When it comes to behavioral change, there's nothing magical about the transition from December 31st to January 1st. It's more crucial that you're in the right mindset and motivated to make changes, rather than being guided by the calendar date. A notable exception to this is activities like guided reading and journaling based on a calendar year, but generally, readiness trumps January 1st.

So, how do you get ready? I take a page from work and start by reflecting on my performance from the year before - much like a performance review. For my first day of 2024, I took a hard look at 2023. Here are the questions I, and many others, reflect upon each year:

  • What in 2023 made me proud?
  • Who did I help grow this year, and how did I exercise leadership?
  • Who did I turn to for guidance and growth this year?
  • Were there things in 2023 that held me back?
  • Do I still love what I do?
  • What price did I pay? Am I willing to still pay the price again this year?
  • What do I need to hold on to?
  • What do I need to change?
  • How did I give back?
  • What do I need, want, and are they the same thing?
  • What took my breath away?
  • What matters to me? To those I care for? To those in my employ & care?
  • How have I cared for my well-being? How have I enabled my team to?

Reflecting on these questions makes it easier for me to consider how I want to move forward with my year, inside and outside of work. This exercise isn't exclusive to the new year, of course; it can be done anytime. But for those averse to traditional New Year's resolutions, this may be a gentler, more productive alternative.

As we step into this new year, I encourage you to share your thoughts and methods for setting personal goals and reflecting on past achievements. Whether it be here, or directly with our people, let's be intentional about fostering a conversation around meaningful well-being, growth and development in our community. Here's to a year of thoughtful progression and impactful change!

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