This New Year’s, I didn’t want my resolutions to be made from a place of lack, or what I was “deficient” in, but from a mindset of motivation. Oftentimes, resolutions seem to highlight areas of our life where we feel we are “inadequate”, or have some behavioral issues that are preventing us from living our best life.
Instead, I wanted my resolutions to come from my own inner well of inspiration and insight. So I revisited an exercise that I had completed in the spring of 2019 from the Allbright Academy titled “Define Your Values.” This exercise was a segment in the first lesson from the Entrepreneurs course called Project You, an honest and reflective program that I needed to refresh myself, my brand, and my business.The exercise asked you to go through a list of over 100 words and narrow them down to the three, yes only three, that held the most power for you. Whoa! Narrowing this list down was going to be tough. To give you some perspective, just the words starting with “T” were going to be hard to get rid of!
After culling the list for the first round, I grouped the words into categories and noticed some trends. I admit it was hard to eliminate some of the 120+ words, so after realizing what was important to me, I made some statements about my values with the dozen words that made it through to the final cut. Here are two of the four statements I created:
“Vitality and health allow me to have the energy to be positive and live a full, fun, and happy life.”
“Abundance and wealth allow me to be generous and create opportunities for others while having choices in my own life.”
I figured if my plan to improve my life in 2020 came from things that I valued, I would have a better chance at achieving my resolutions. Reflecting on that first statement, I looked at some of the words that contributed to that sentence: presence, health, image, spirituality. Having already partially committed to that statement in 2019, I thought about how I could magnify my health and vitality in 2020.
In the spring of 2019, I stopped drinking alcohol. I found it was limiting my productivity, making me sick, and restraining my physical potential. How could I improve on this for 2020? What small change can I make in 2020 that will improve my vitality and health, allowing me to live by my values? A self-proclaimed donut addict, I will be reducing my processed sugar intake from my daily sweet in the morning to once a week. I’m going to start small! This is a new year’s resolution I can handle.
This small commitment made me think of the book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, PhD. I remember something that he said that really stuck with me in terms of resolutions, behavior change, and all that good stuff that helps us get on track with our best life. “You can do this habit,” he recommends when choosing a behavior to change. Choosing something that I literally can do will set me up for early success with my resolutions, and inspire me to eventually make supportive and complementary behavior change later in the year, and in my life.
These are some of the words that led me to create my second statement: Abundance and wealth allow me to be generous and create opportunities for others while having choices in my own life. One opportunity that I’d like to create is a writing scholarship. While that may seem like a daunting task for someone who still has student loans and credit card debt, at least I know that my core values are leading me in the right direction.
So how can I turn this into a new year’s resolution? While I may not be handing out a scholarship in 2020, I am putting some tiny behaviors in place today that will lead me to financial freedom. Just last night, I looked through my spending habits and debit card activity, and found ways to reduce frivolous purchases. Tiny habit – go to CVS once a month instead of twice a week!After completing this values exercise early in 2019, I looked at how I was being compensated for my work. When some collaborative partners didn’t want to pay me for my creative work, I turned down those projects. As hard as that was at the time, I knew those projects were not in alignment with my values, nor were they going to enable me to become financially free and leave a legacy of scholarships. My content is quality, insightful, provocative, global – I wasn’t going to give it away for free. As I build on that statement for a 2020 resolution, I am charting out the ideal client. I want collaborative partners who share some of my other values: sustainability, adventure, intimacy, healing.
However you formulate your 2020 resolution list, do what matters to you. Start with what you value and reflect on what matters to you. While it will probably look different from those around you, that’s ok! Encourage your support network to do the same and revel in the wide range of what keeps us all going. I’ll leave you with a quote from motivational speaker Rasheed Ogunlaru, “There’s no beauty without difference and diversity.”