The week before the big ball drops, the confetti flies, and the party begins to wane is not the best time to be making grand and determined gestures in the direction of transformation and renewal. You’re maybe a little tired (I am) and more than a little overdue for some reflection time instead of anticipation time, which is what most of the holidays actually seem to consist of.
But somewhere in your soul, heart, or brain, there’s one thing you know you’d like to resolve, one thing that is either huge or tiny, or huge and tiny all at once. Think about taking that one thing on this year. After the clock strikes and after you’ve had some breakfast you can make a list of more concrete goals. But the one thing that is at the top of your mind is probably all you really have to take on.
Career-wise, we all know about the lurking change we eventually have to make. Are you addicted to your frequent flying? Are you authority resistant? Do you wait until the last minute to start your work and apologetic about its quality when you hand it over? Do you avoid conflict, say obnoxious things to others, fail to show up when you said you would, or obsess over relationships and react disproportionately to inconvenience? Are you indecisive, a procrastinator, a blamer? Do you take over projects instead of facilitating, do you hold back information, do you elude necessary interactions until others come to you? Do you think no one notices?
And you thought I was going to say you should simply cut back on your cigarettes and drinking, or watch your weight, like Bridget Jones.
Nope. The real problem or real opportunity always lies deeper and we always know it’s there. Some suggestions:
1. Resolve to be honest with yourself.
2. Resolve to involve others in your planning and decision-making.
3. Resolve to ask questions about how others view your view.
4. Resolve to live in the world, not in your own head.
5. Resolve to listen for understanding, not opportunistically.
6. Resolve to live in the present, not the past or the future, and to make your contributions in the here and now.
7. Resolve to live up to your potential, to use your power for good, to choose your words wisely.
8. Resolve to be proactive, to keep a level head, to avoid drama.
9. Resolve to forgive.
10. Resolve to lighten the loads of others whenever possible.
None of these are very specific, but you know when the specific behavior is in play and when it isn’t, because you are you. You can control almost everything you do; so it is indeed possible to do it all differently, whether it comes naturally or not.
Break your bad habit—by first acknowledging that it is bad, or at least unproductive.
After that, quit smoking, cut back on your drinking, count your calories, get more exercise. Happy New Year.