Thursday, January 3, 2008

Goal-Setting and Resolutions Everywhere!

Naturally, everyone at this time of year is talking about New Year's Resolutions. I've seen a spate of goal-setting, resolution-based advice and articles in the past few days and instead of re-hashing it all, I thought I'd share the links so you can take your pick:
  • From the NY Times Health section, the article "Will Your Resolutions Last Until February? The article offers some tips for the common resolutions (losing weight, exercising more, getting organized, spending more time with family and saving money).
    The top resolutions for 2008 are the old standbys — get out of debt and save more, lose weight and exercise. Getting organized and spending more time with family also top the list. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed attribute breaking their resolutions to having too many other things to do, while 33 percent say they simply aren’t committed to the resolutions they set. But experts say the real problem is that people make the wrong resolutions. The typical resolution often reflects a general desire, rather than a specific goal.

  • The Washington Post article, "The Making and Breaking of Resolutions is Only Human," explores the fact that we're bound to break our resolutions but make them anyway. They cite our lack of resolve to the eternal battle between our subcortex (urging us to indulge in instant gratification) that frequently overwrites the more sophisticated frontal lobe (which controls reason and higher functions). Yet we continue to make resolutions because human beings are inherently optimistic because hope keeps us alive. In this article, I also found it interesting that the idea of New Year's as a point of reflection and resolutions isn't new:
    On the Babylonian calendar, the new year coincided with planting season; farmers resolved to return all borrowed plows and such. Later, Romans embodied the fresh-start concept of the day with Janus (from which we get January), the two-faced God who simultaneously looked forward and backward. One hoped the view ahead looked better than the one behind, and resolved to improve his own life.
  • Forbes has an article on career resolutions that helps us ask ourselves if we're happy at work (but according to the article, you shouldn't ask yourself that question immediately after the holiday because nobody likes going back to work then).
  • The US government even has a page that lists common resolutions with links to resources and assistance with those goals. Surprisingly, this site was quite interesting and informative!
There's a lot of advice out there, but as I mentioned in an earlier post the advice and goal-setting process is only as good as what you put into it. If you still haven't done your resolutions or are struggling with goal-setting for the year, don't despair!

I'm offering a FREE 30 min phone session to help with goals in the New Year (email me at and hosting a FREE workshop in the DC area to go through this process together as a group.

All the best to everyone in 2008!

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