Resetting the clock at the top of the year always gives us an opportunity to set resolutions to ourselves, whether attainable or not.  For most, it’s a fairly superficial exercise but if approached from an honest and constructive perspective, some of our deepest desires may surface so that we can acknowledge how much we lack in order to attain the new goals and discard older priorities and goals we once coveted based on potentially perfunctory pretenses/influences or they simply no longer apply.  Sure, all of us are fallible, imperfect and impressionable to varying degrees but the whole idea is for us to really feel good about ourselves and find better ways to improve the person in the mirror.

Although it took me some time to come up with my own method to address this potentially messy subject, I decided to create a framework that I can work with to keep me on track in breaking any conscious or subconscious rut – 5R’s to break the funk.

  • Remember: For memories that were less than pleasant, the last thing we want to do is repeat the circumstances that precipitated those outcomes, so we should at least be mindful of salient points and lessons-learned.  Other times, we earnestly struggle to remember the details to replicate such happy moments in our lives (i.e., the frame of mind we were in, the company we kept close to us, environmental influences, different pressures we faced, etc.).  Some of these memories can span as far back as childhood to as recent as five minutes ago.
  • Reassess: The cognitive step in this process helps us put things back into perspective.  After having looked back at the memorable (both good and bad) and asking questions like, ‘knowing what I know now and having experienced so much more in life, do I still perceive those happy or not-so-happy times to be applicable or even reasonable for me pursue or avoid today?’  Having to reassess our memories with different reasoning and judgment is always a tough step to take since we’re essentially challenging such cherished memories against current realities or can be a disturbing wake up call for ideals we may have long forgotten.
  • Reprioritize: Whether you prioritize the new goals based on long-term endeavors or based on how easily attainable they could be in the short-term (“low hanging fruit”), I would not treat this list as a sequential checklist.  Instead, I would address all the “top” priorities concurrently but with varying levels of effort and energy, which is why challenging ourselves of whether something is truly valuable to us comes in so handy.  Keeping our priorities in-check based on how much time and emotional energy we can and are willing to put into them is a simple yet practical way of culling out all the ancillary goals that may cause opportunity costs for the goals we are deeply motivated to attain.
  • Reorganize: Even if you have only one new goal for this year, at this point you probably have a clear vision of yourself in a new state of mind and/or affairs – you’ve effectively identified both Point A (your current) and Point B (your future).  But this is your step to pull yourself and your resources together to make it a reality by planning a bit.  It doesn’t have to be a crazy intricate and detailed plan but even a new set of lifestyle guidelines is useful to test/change as you start/continue to execute your plan.  Even after this basic step of setting general guidelines, you may soon discover that your Point B may have moved all the way to Point Z.
  • Reinvent: This is where you take action by taking the first step in reinventing yourself; faltering several times until you can get a rhythm and feel more confident; and getting to a point where the guidelines might manifest into a new lifestyle and elucidate new ideals.

Although these steps sound like a lot of work to even get to the point of starting the process to work towards a resolution, the aforementioned is just a framework.  You can dive as deep as you’d like within the different R’s but just remembering this framework may help to prevent resolutions “coming in one year and going out the other.” From this, I hope you unearth something meaningful that would help elevate you to being a better, happier and more successful you in 2011, whether professionally, personally or both.

“When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

– Alexander Graham Bell

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.”

– Bessie Stanley (with other minor variances often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson)