FOCUS: Instead of NY Resolutions

DISCIPLINES: Mental Models, Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other.

It's early March, and many peoples' New Year's Resolutions have come and gone. If that includes you, maybe you're ready for an unconventional 6-step guide guaranteed to work better for most people than New Year's resolutions.

  1. Be grateful every day for things you currently are and have: health, friends, family, job, home, food and challenges.

  2. Get clear about how you would like to be different a year from now. Picture it vividly: yourself in a different job, eating more healthily, yelling less at your kids, spending more time with spouse, friends, being worry-free, whatever. At least once every day imagine how you will actually feel when the new state is achieved.

  3. Make room in your life. We often want new things in our lives, but we don't drop any of the old. Cheryl Richardson hit the nail on the head when she said, "To get what you really, really want, you may have to say ‘no' to what you really want." So — if being healthy and energetic is what you really, really want, you may have to say "no" to some foods, even though you really want them too. If spending time with your family and friends is prioritized, you may have to lower your expectations of yourself at work, etc.

  4. Take a small step — any small, easy step toward the desired change. Instead of planning all the steps in advance, let them evolve; let each step point to the next. Correct course as you go.

  5. Laugh several times every day. Think of funny things, remember jokes that have tickled you, call humorous people and ask them to tell you stories, watch comedies, save cartoons that crack you up. Adopt a playful attitude, even toward work. Look for things that are funny or ironic in your life. In India they have Laughing Clubs, where people meet and laugh together for 15 minutes before going to work. It benefits both the individuals and their workplaces.

  6. Include others in your goal. An example: I wanted to learn to make better soup. I also wanted to have more relaxed time with family and friends. So I came up with this goal: Share more soup, stories and fun. It's working! I've bought a soup pot, invited several friends for soup, taken soup to a friend's house for lunch. I'm even signed up for a soup making class. The sharing part made it much more than learning a skill. It gave me motivation!

This is a "pull structure", which is a whole lot easier and likelier to succeed than a "push" structure, such as New Year's resolutions. It is fueled by vision, gratitude and laughter and connection. Enjoy!


  • Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore more deeply this alternative to NY Resolutions. Call Tuesday, March 23 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific) 1-218-862-1300 PIN 276583. No need to register…just call at that time!

Read an excerpt from Liberating Greatness, the Whole Brain Guide to an Extraordinary Life, the book Hal and I wrote, at

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone.

Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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