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Be It Resolved: Reviewing the Year and Making Resolutions That Work

Copyright (c) 2008-2022

We are moving quickly toward a new year. It’s time to evaluate the year that's slipping quickly through our fingers. Did we do what we resolved to do? Then, looking ahead, we set goals for the coming year. I've been working on this task with my clients. Now it's your turn! Here's my guide for making resolutions that work. Get a steaming mug ofsomething, curl up in a quiet spot with paper and markers, and dream!

1. Celebrate the year! You can’t look ahead until you assess what’s happened in the past year. Create a mind map of your accomplishments for the year. A mind map is a visual organization tool. The topic of the mind map is placed in a circle in the center. The ideas, tasks, or events you want to organize radiate out from the center circle in smaller circles. To create a mind map of your past year, put your name and the year in the center of the map. Draw a circle around it. Around that central circle, add smaller circles with categories that fit your life. After each category, list your accomplishments from the past year. Use colored markers or pencils to make your map—it helps organize the various categories. Here are some category suggestions:

  • professional (e.g., a completed project, networking successes)

  • financial (e.g., saved money)

  • relational (e.g., had regular conversations with a friend, spent time with my children)

  • health (e.g., walked 10,000 steps a day, quit smoking, drank more water)

  • creative (e.g., went to 3 plays, created a butterfly garden, wrote a poem)

  • spiritual (e.g., meditated every day, saw spiritual director)

  • When you have finished creating your map—find a way to celebrate you and your year. Dance around the living room! Toast yourself! You might want to do the project with a trusted friend and celebrate each other. Throw confetti in gratitude for the wonderful year!

    2. Assess the year. After celebrating your many accomplishments, use your mind map to assess your year. Use a journal to reflect on the following questions:

  • What did I do this year that worked?

  • What did I do that didn't work?

  • What’s missing from my year?

  • What do I want to hold onto from the year?

  • What do I need to let go of?

  • What do I want to be celebrating at this time next year?

  • What do I need to do to get from here to there?

  • 3. Be it resolved! Using the information from your assessment, make resolutions. Limit yourself to five resolutions or goals. You’ll be more likely to be successful if you can focus on just a few goals. Let the resolutions take any form that is useful to you—from the traditional goal to something wacky. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a theme for the year. Use a song title, line from a favorite poem, a piece of art, or anything that inspires you to direct your year. One client who wants to be more assertive chose Martin Luther’s famous quote, "Sin boldly."

  • Create a “yes” list. Coach Cheryl Richardson made popular the Absolute Yes list in her book, Take Time for Your Life. Create a list of five activities or areas in your life you will always say yes to. Your list might include creative time, exercise, family time, or naps! Every opportunity that does not fit into these categories either gets an immediate “no” or gets filed in the, “I’ll think about it and get back to you” category.

  • Create a different sort of resolution list. Instead of the same-old list we all make (lose weight, get organized, exercise), make list of activities you want to try this year. List foods you want to sample, a sport you want to play, a craft you want to learn—whatever activity fits for you!

  • Create a list of things to let go of. This might includeunhelpful beliefs, defeating behaviors, or toxic relationships.

  • 4.)Make it happen!So you have your resolutions. Now make then happen. Ask yourself how you might achieve these goals. Here are some steps and questions that can help you move achieve your goals:

  • Break the goal into small, achievable steps. Big steps scare the fear area of our brain. Small steps bypass the fear and create success. What are the steps you need to take to reach this goal?

  • Create time and space to work on your goal. You need to have room in your life to achieve something new. When will you work toward your goal? Where?

  • Get the proper tools. Note that I didn’t say, “Get the perfect tools.” You don’t need professional-grade jewelry-making tools to start beading. You do need some basic tools—stringing wire, beads, and so forth. Decide what you need to make your goal happen and get it.

  • Get support. Who will support you in this effort? Find a friend or a coach who is willing to hold you accountable to reaching your goal—and the small steps it takes to get there.

  • In the end, be gracious with yourself. Each choice you make, every winding path, brings value to your life.

    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Right Now! Coach Rochelle Melander supports people in writing to transform their lives and businesses. If you’re ready to establish credibility, make more money, and market your work by writing a book, blog, or Web site, get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at

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