Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How to Make Your New Year's Resolution Stick

After two weeks of popping corks, celebrating with friends and family and eating and drinking all the rich delicious things I love, it's back to work today. And I mean that in a couple ways. The most obvious is dutifully sitting in my cubicle, logging on, responding to emails, going to meetings with a smile and hopefully adding an intelligent comment or two.

But more personally and internally, it's back to work on my big "A" Agenda. My good friend Debra Lamfers taught me this concept. It means focusing on the important life items and not the little "a" agenda list, like mundane chores. Which are those things that make me feel like I'm busy and accomplishing things, but once I've picked up the dry cleaning, made a pot of vegetable soup and done the laundry, then what? I have to remind myself, life is not a to-do list! Which brings me to my resolution for 2013: do my priorities first. What's my priority now? It's writing first thing in the morning. Such a simple and doable idea, but it does take daily practice. Given time at home, I can happily putter till the day is done, but always with a story idea in the back of my mind and I feel restless and unsatisfied until I get that story down on paper. So the trick is to write first thing and see where it takes me.

Over the holidays, Debra sent the following letter to her friends and clients on how to make resolutions stick and I found her ideas so helpful and straightforward that I wanted to share them with you.

Dear Friends,
I've been thinking about how we make our New Year's Resolutions stick. Here are some ideas that have come up for me. I look forward to hearing yours, too.

1. Start without judgment towards ourselves. Let's begin the year without guilt if we didn't accomplish last year's goals. Instead, write down our breakthroughs as well as what didn't get accomplished. Consider reading our list aloud to a trusted friend. It's also helpful to ceremoniously burn them and watch the smoke go up into the air to begin the year with a fresh perspective.

2. Choose an inspiring theme. Make 2013 the 'Year of ____'. Ask yourself what's meaningful at this time in your life. For instance, 2012 was the 'Year of Good Choices' for me and the 'Year of Renewal' for a friend. 

3. Now choose and write down your new intentions. With your theme in mind, what do you want to see happen in the coming year? Be specific. Instead of 'Make more friends' choose 'Call Charlotte for a lunch date.'

4. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Instead of starting a new exercise routine by training for a marathon, aim for a 20-minute walk each day. And if you break your resolution today, try again tomorrow. 

5. Ask for help. Enlist a friend, spouse or sibling to do the above together. It's more fun than doing it alone! If you can't find a partner, consider hiring a coach or joining an accountability group to keep you on track. 

Thank you for being a part of my journey and helping me learn and grow. Here's to you and a nourishing new year filled with ease, openness and laughter! 

I'd like to hear your ways of making lasting changes. 
Contact me at

My theme for 2013 is the 'Year of Daring'. When I started this blog nearly two years ago (March 7 is the anniversary!), I learned that a dare is a great motivator for me. I have some ideas about what that means to me, which I'll share in the coming months.


  1. I like the idea of writing down and then setting fire to one's resoutions of the past year. There's something romantic about that. Now, if I can only remember where I filed my 2012 resolutions . . .

  2. Love the photo with this post! Really tells me your resolution is in play. I have shaken up my usual tactics since they have not been successful. I have not yet formulated my new tactics but will be looking into that prism today. XOHIlary