As we herald in the New Year, many begin thinking about making resolutions. However, before you burden yourself with a lengthy list of overwhelming goals for 2012, consider this:

  1. Resolutions are just self deprecation with spin. They are born of our relentless focus on our deficits. The worse we feel about ourselves the more resolutions we make.
  2. Resolutions are part of an advertising blitz designed to get us to spend more money. Just last month we were deluged with messages to buy more and eat more. Now the messages are just the opposite-spend less, eat less, exercise more and guess what? There is a product to help you do just that!
  3. Is now really the time? Consider what is happening right now in your life that would support (or undermine) a big change. For example, if you are more active in the spring and summer, it may make more sense to start a weight loss /exercise program as the weather warms. The calendar may say “New Year” but that doesn’t mean this is the optimum time to tackle a big change.
  4. Resolutions are often unrealistic, which can set you up to fail. The Biggest Loser, while certainly inspiring, creates a mindset that you can lose 140 lbs in six months. As attractive as that may seem, it can also serve to discourage you if you don’t lose 20 pounds in the first week.
  5. Setting simple manageable goals makes then more accessible. I recently saw an article, “12 Resolutions We Can All Make”. It made me tired just to read the title. I never did read the rest.
  6. Resolutions don’t work all that well. Approximately 33% of resolutions are broken by the end of January.


 Okay, you might be thinking, “If I don’t take stock of “my faults and limitations”, how can I work on what needs changing or self improvement?” Here’s my alternative. It requires no special equipment. You simply need a pen and paper and a little bit of quiet time.

Consider this, the media offers us retrospectives called “The Year in Review”. These give us a sense of where we were and where we are going. They are also interesting and fun. Why not do the same thing on a personal level? Let’s review YOUR year.

 1.Look at your Life Events

What were the most interesting/challenging life events you faced in 2011? Relationships, family, work, social, health, spiritual? Leave nothing out. How did you feel about these events? What did you learn? How did those experiences change who you are today?

 2. Honor your Relationships

We meet new people every day- some are acquaintances and others have life-long significance. We may have renewed connections with old friends or healed family rifts. People go in and out of our lives all the time-neighbors move, friends fight, co-workers leave their jobs. Some marry.  Some divorce. People are born and they also die. Take time to honor your losses but don’t forget to celebrate the gifts of the cherished, new, or renewed relationships.

 3. Celebrate Victories

Consider of all the victories, large and small that came your way in 2011. Anything goes here, from having passed THE Bar to having passed A Bar. Whether you ran for public office or ran up the stairs- all are noteworthy. Every new change is a victory because it takes courage to change! If you were terrified of driving on the highway and this was the year you did it, then that is a victory! Don’t minimize your feeling good by saying “Well, most people aren’t afraid of that! So it’s no big deal!” Stop comparing and revel in your success!

4. Look at Trends

What new behaviors or attitudes have you brought into your life this year? Do you read more? Spend less? Go to sleep earlier? Eat more veggies? Participate in more activities? Have you joined a church, played more tennis, returned to Scrabble? Have you noticed you are better at balancing your time? More interested in politics? Speaking up more? Sometimes without even noticing it, we are trending toward new behaviors, interests and attitudes. Take time to notice these trends and if they enhance your life, consider how to expand them.

 5. Reinforce Self Care

What did you do this year to improve your health? Was it something that you dreaded or put off doing? Maybe you finally went for a mammogram, had your teeth cleaned, took a Pilates class or cut back on smoking. Focus on the accomplishment and how it felt to follow through on self care. How can you build on that in the New Year?

 6. Appreciate Personal Growth

What new things did you learn? Did you find a short cut to work? Or learn to use a GPS to get there? Have you discovered a new interest in Gardening? Knitting? Calligraphy?  Belly dancing or Bungee Jumping? Did you learn to speak Spanish or scuba? Write haiku or Hula? Whatever your new interest, how does it enhance your life? How to you hope to cultivate it?

 7. Choose Your Person of the Year

 Time Magazine  picks a Person of the Year and we are always curious as to who gets the honor. To round out your year in review, pick YOUR Person of the Year. Maybe you pick someone whose time, wisdom, advice or friendship bettered your life. Who was the most significant person in your life this year? Often we don’t realize how much influence someone has been, until we allow ourselves the time to reflect. Your answer might surprise you! Remember to tell that person how important they are to you!

 Once you have fully reflected on 2011, continue to assess and reassess through the coming months. Build on the positives. The challenges and self discovery as well as the joys and sorrows of this past year prepare you with new tools to move forward into 2012 with a deeper self awareness, wisdom and strength.

May your New Year be filled with peace-

in the world, in your relationships  and in yourself.  






  1. CJ Golden on the 31. Dec, 2011 remarked #

    I have read and digested your words and recognize what a very fine, successful, joy-filed year I have had in 2011. Therefore, I resolve to remember all of the good that has been my life this year and use them to propel me through 2012.
    Wishes to you, Donna, and to all your readers for a joy-filled, successful and healthy New Year!

  2. Nancy on the 01. Jan, 2012 remarked #

    Last year one of my resolutions was to keep a small victories journal. Writing the victories down helped to keep me focused on my goals and strengths. I was focused to pursue and persist with those things that challenge me each day, be it resisting that piece of chocolate, going out for a walk, taking on that public speaking assignment or following through with my intentions. One small victory a day has kept me in touch with friends, helped me reengage with creative endeavors and in general helped me to feel positive and accomplished each day.

  3. RL on the 02. Jan, 2012 remarked #

    good idea im gonna try it!

  4. Ann on the 03. Jan, 2012 remarked #

    A great and sensible blog Donna. It may help me gain some perspective on my life. Thank you and a Happy, healthy New Year to you.

  5. Wendy on the 12. Jan, 2012 remarked #

    Donna, as always, your blog resonates with me. And, I love Nancy’s idea of a small victories journal. I may incorporate that with my gratitude journal.

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