New Year, New Resolution

If you’re having a little trouble sticking to your New Year’s resolution, then the US Government’s web page on Popular New Year’s Resolutions may be of help. They cover the following:

  • Lose Weight
  • Pay Off Debt
  • Save Money
  • Get a Better Job
  • Get Fit
  • Eat Right
  • Get a Better Education
  • Drink Less Alcohol
  • Quit Smoking Now
  • Reduce Stress Overall
  • Reduce Stress at Work
  • Take a Trip
  • Volunteer to Help Others

Not everyone is into that kind of resolution. Kim Krause Berg prefers to look for inspiration:

While I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, I do have a simple tradition that I do every year around this time. I begin looking for new sources for inspiration to re-energize me for the New Year. Usually what I find are ideas that “stick” far better than resolutions.

She was particularly struck by two items. Miriam Ellis commented on 5 Industries I Want To Work With In The Happy New Year Of 2008! That’s an example of what Virginia DeBolt called shaking up your neural pathway. This had been triggered by a New York Times item, Innovative Minds Don’t Think Alike, by Janet Rae-Dupree.

It struck me that Virginia DeBolt’s article pointed to another meaning of that word Resolution. One meaning is of course “a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner”. That’s what usually comes to mind if you attach the words New Year. However more often the word Resolution is used to relate how well a person or instrument can see a particular image or picture. Perhaps at this time of the year, you would gain more by understanding how others see you, than by merely deciding to be better.

DeBolt had specific suggestions on who might give you this different perspective. One possibility is the novice as Peg Kaplan had suggested:

Yet, at times I have argued that the beginner, the neophyte among us, can sometimes produce more creative, radical and wildly successful concepts and results than our so-called “experts.” The newcomer is not prejudiced by his years of education and “brainwashing.” He can see what others have been taught to reject out of hand.

Cynthia Barton Rabe was quoted in the NY Times article on how relying on expertise leads to lack of questioning and familiar results.

Look for people with renaissance-thinker tendencies, who’ve done work in a related area but not in your specific field. Make it possible for someone who doesn’t report directly to that area to come in and say the emperor has no clothes.

These are rather specific examples of individuals who can give you a different resolution of how you are seen. A key element here is the act of inviting someone else to give you their viewpoint. As Peter Drucker said, Help is defined by the recipient. Other individuals may be leery of offering advice if they feel it could create tension or be misinterpreted. If you ask someone else how you could do better, then you may be surprised at the revelations. In all likelihood, you will gain much more than if you had made that same old New Year’s resolution yet again.