A Non-Resolution Resolution — Beginning The New Year With Purpose


This year, I won’t be making any New Year’s resolutions. Not in the traditional sense anyway. It’s not because I don’t want to be a better person; or don’t have personal goals to accomplish, but because I do. Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions are usually about the easy stuff, small changes, breaking bad habits or improving daily routines. Or, it’s about the bigger things to change from the year or years before – it is looking backwards at how to change past actions and reactions. This year, I am focused on accepting the very idea of change and living in the moment as I embrace that idea.

Times of great change and uncertainty, like the ones we’re experiencing these days, often present the best opportunities for growth, personal and professional. But you can’t formally prepare for the dynamic shifts – you just have to be open to work them day by day and not resolve for a specific solution. I’d rather leave the door wide open to evolve, and advance my thinking in ways that I can’t even begin to imagine on December 31 at midnight.

We’re also apt to learn and grow more when we’re confronted with obstacles or challenged personally and professionally – smooth sailing has a tendency not to bring out the best, but rather rely on the status quo. I say we start the New Year ready to tackle what is thrown at us is ways that are disruptive, game changing and transformational—to thrive under chaos and to embrace times of quiet and satisfaction.

Change is an opportunity, and purpose is what can turn opportunity into impact. For me, it’s not so much about determining what I need to do, so much as why I need to do it, and asking myself what are the opportunities now to be an active participant in this changing landscape? It’s about opening myself up to change, rather than resisting, and about concentrating less on individual transactions and focusing more on transformational behaviors. Purpose is ultimately about paying attention to the things that are truly connected to our North Star.

Whatever our diverse beliefs and perspectives or experiences and circumstances, I believe most of us share the understanding that it’s time to tackle some really tough problems in the limited time we have on this planet. And while it’s easy to get distracted, (who doesn’t have a thousand small things to worry about every day?), we need to set our sights on addressing the big questions and committing ourselves to what matters most, to the things that make us who we are and guide our very existence.

So, I propose a new kind of “resolution,” not doing one or two or three small things differently, but reflecting on our purpose and how we can act on it every day to make an enduring impact, and be resilient as the days get harder as we know the stakes are higher for society overall.