I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. My only attempt several years ago with a friend was miserable for us both, partly because life intervened, making our goals suddenly not priorities, and partly because some of our goals turned out not to be the right ones after all. I’ve learned the hard way that I’m too stubborn to change my habits until I’m ready…a change in the calendar isn’t going to do it.
However, a year ago I attended a personal values session held by my employer. It was the most impactful session I’ve ever attended. We were each given a deck of 36 cards with values on them like spirituality, financial security, and healthy relationships. We then had to sort out all 36 of these good things into 3 groups: most important, important, and least important. Sounds easy enough, except we could only keep six in the most important group. That was agonizingly difficult, so much so that I could see some colleagues only finalize their list because time was up. We then developed stop/start/continue plans for our six. The exercise changed my focus for my life.
So when a friend asked me at lunch recently if I’d developed any resolutions for the new year, I resolved to pull out the notebook from that session. What I found was simultaneously encouraging and disheartening. While I’d indeed followed my plans pretty well for half of the six values, I’d fallen way short on the other half…I’d actually forgotten two of them. The list was still the right list; I had just failed miserably at some of them.
So while I don’t consider them resolutions, I’ll be refocusing on that list of values I identified as most important to me. I want to live my values; they matter to me, even when I fall short. I guess I’ll make just one resolution–to not give up on becoming the person I aspire to be.
If you’re interested in identifying your top six personal values, here’s a list to work with…good luck!