The New Year’s Resolution – it is a time-honored tradition after all. The question immediately occurred to me, “How did all this get started?” So I looked it up. Googled it if you will (though I rarely use Google). I found this answer:

It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions, and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since. The early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.

Wow, this whole New Year’s Resolution thing has been around a long time!

Several words stand out and catch my interest – reflection, resolution, and improvement. That’s what a great deal of my coaching sessions are about! Notice I left out the word mistake. I left it out because it has little or no place in the self-improvement paradigm. The minute most of us focus on what mistakes we made (or are currently making) all action or planning or change seems to come to a standstill. It becomes the elephant in the room, the all-consuming center of attention, and the good that we can do, the changes we wish to make seem insignificant next to the MISTAKE.

And why is it that it is always in caps? But it is.

When clients stop learning, introspecting, resolving and improving – chances are there is a mistake occupying the room. Their focus changes to one of shame, of self-flagellation, and their resolve quivers and begins to fold in on itself. As a coach, I scramble a bit. The house is on fire, folks, and all too often our focus turns to that dark corner where no good can come. I deeply believe, and try to convey in the best way possible, that mistakes are not the ultimate FUBAR with nothing to learn and everything to regret. Mistakes can and should be moments of clarity. They are the lessons each of us has to learn in our lives to become more than what we were.

So I will not be focusing on past MISTAKES this year. Instead I will be focusing on what I want to improve about myself. My resolutions are as follows:

  • I want to lose weight – one pound at a time
  • I want to be a better, more patient person and show love and support and commitment to all of my loved ones and especially to my daughters who deserve the absolute, level best that I can give to them.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

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