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5 new spins on New Year's resolutions

Dr. Susan Mathison, Catalyst Medical Center

The new year often inspires a renewed sense of possibility, purpose, determination and hope. It's the new year, new year vibe. It's a time when you put the past behind you and begin new adventures. A time to reexamine your life and figure out what changes you'd like to make.

Yet, the controversy continues every year ... are you a New Year's resolutions maker or a resolution hater?

Regardless of your stance, research shows that not very many people feel that they succeed in making the lasting changes they hope for.

Perhaps a fresh perspective on making changes can put a positive spin on making good changes, for good. I thought about friends I admire and books and blogs I'd read and came up with a few new spins on resolutions.

1. You don't have to call them resolutions, and you can start any time of year. They can be intentions, goals, promises, commitments, or a bucket list. Studies show that you are much more likely to achieve them if you take the time to write them down.

2. Come up with a word for the year. My friends Dawn Kaiser and Kelly Myer have both used the word JOY as a lens for a particular year and focused on activities and people that bring them joy. It was so impactful that Dawn is now a public speaker and a professional "joyologist" sharing inspiration and joy to thousands. Kelly has worked on a program for people to find their life's purpose called "Journey of Yourself," i.e. JOY.

Other fun words include upgrade, nourish, service, adventure, balance, learn, golden, love and of course, fun.

3. Keep a gratitude journal. Keep it by your bedside and commit to just a few things to jot down every day that made you grateful. It can be the big things like family and faith.

But write down a few little blessings that you noted today like ... I am grateful that the lady behind me in church who is really off-tune is so confident and faith-filled that she belts it out for Jesus.

I am so grateful for the beautiful sundogs that bracket the sun on really cold days.

I am grateful for the small little mispronunciations that my son still hasn't grown out of, like "ambliance" for ambulance and "comfstable" for comfortable.

4. Follow a book as a theme. Screen writer Shonda Rhimes' "Year of Yes" is on my bedside stand thanks to my friend Melissa Schmalenberger. This book is part memoir, part guidebook on how to change your life by simply saying yes to the opportunities that come your way. Melissa is always trying new things and she and her husband have magically manifested a move to their dream city Seattle and a whole new life.

Another friend, Christy Tehven, followed Danielle Laporte's "Desire Map" to make her dream business, Love Always Floral, a reality and a major success. Her beautiful creations are in hot demand throughout the region.

Others have mentioned 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal. It's a book of prompts for every week of the year that range from "list things you'd like to be known for" to "list the things you'd change in your life right now if you could."

5. Create a personal legacy statement. Laura Roser, founder and CEO of Paragon Road suggests that a personal legacy statement. She describes it as an estate plan that, instead of finances, focuses on the kind of life you want to lead. She suggests reflecting on your different roles in life: family, career, community, social and spiritual.

The next step is to define your values and principles, and how your actions and character reflect these. The last step is how do you want to share your legacy?

  • How will you record and document meaningful experiences?
  • How will you let others know how much they mean to you?
  • How will you mentor others or pass on your wisdom or skills?

Regardless of how your choose to make each year better and more meaningful, it takes a little time. In our culture of constant busyness, your health and happiness deserves some attention too!

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