Return to site

New Year's Resolutions & New Year's Values

During the first days of January, there's a focus on making resolutions for the new year. Whether it's to exercise more often, eat healthier foods, begin a new hobby--all of these resolutions are about making a decision to do or not do something (the follow-through though not guaranteed!)

In the many articles and posts about New Year's resolutions, a common theme found in those articles is that if you want to follow-through on a resolution, it's helpful if the resolution is specific.

For example, instead of resolving to eat healthier, it might be better to resolve to eat 3-4 vegetables or fruits per day. Instead of resolving to lose weight, it might be better to resolve to aim at walking 30 minutes/day for 4-5 days a week.

This year, how about flipping that instruction upside down for another purpose?

What we might call a "general" resolution (to eat healthier, to improve a marriage, to learn new hobby, to exercise more, etc.) can be informative because those resolutions offer a glimpse into what we identify as important chosen life directions--or put another way, a glimpse into our values. Values are not goals, feelings, outcomes, words, or objectives. They go beyond all of those things.

So, when thinking about resolutions and what you want to focus on in 2017, consider the larger picture of where you want you to go and what kind of person you are (and aspire to be), and allow the resolution to originate from there.

If you value health and physical well-being, what resolution will you commit to that will exemplify or show that you are valuing health and physical well-being in your life?

If you value your marriage or intimate relationships, what resolution will you commit to that will show that this is important to you?

What we value informs what we ultimately resolve to choose to do or not to do. Try it out--think about the larger picture in life...those things that are really important--and resolve today to act on them.

In this way, our New Year's resolutions aren't limited to directing us in the first days of January, but a guidepost for all of LIFE.