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The Best and Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions – We Can Do Better

Posted by Julie Roehm on January 23rd, 2013 at 9:00 am

We are nearly 10% into 2013 and I have yet to really make a resolution…or at least a new one. Like most of you, I continuously try to live a healthier lifestyle. You know, eat less sugar, eat more vegetables and fruit, and exercise more. In fact, these, along with “stop smoking” top the list of the most popular resolutions made this year. According to Squidoo, these are the Top 10:

The Top Ten Resolutions List

  1. Stop Smoking
  2. Get into a Habit of being Fit
  3. Lose Weight - the Battle of the Bulge
  4. Enjoy Life More
  5. Quit Drinking
  6. Organise Yourself - this is one of the keys to reaching your goals
  7. Learn Something New
  8. Get out of Debt
  9. Spend More Time With Family
  10. Help People

Truthfully, I have gotten bored with these lists. They really never change. In the digital age though, you can up the ante by downloading apps that can help those that are truly committed to these resolutions. TechCrunch outlined their favorites, some of which I have had for a few years now. I guess that is a good sign. The bad news is that I haven’t opened them in a while. Here is their list:

  1. Lose Weight and Get Fit: Fitocracy
  2. Eat Healthier and Diet: Lose It!
  3. Learn Something New: Snapguide
  4. Quit Smoking: My Last Cigarette
  5. Decrease Debt/Save Money: Betterment
  6. Travel To New Places: National Geographic Traveler’s Magazine
  7. Spend More Time With Family: Path

While these are clearly the right things to be doing for yourself, it seems that they should be a regular part of ones life, not a resolution to be made and broken each year. A “resolution” should be more significant, shouldn’t it?

As I set of off in search of resolutions that would inspire me to really think about how I could be a better person, I fell upon Dana Perino’s blog that addressed the topic. In it she offered her thoughts for resolutions for young career women. I will list them here but I think you will agree that these are great tips for any of us at any stage of our career…even us slightly less young career women. I have summarized Dana’s tips below and added a bit of commentary.

  1. “Get outta town” – Here Dana explains that driving is akin to therapy. A place and time to just be with yourself and to clear your mind. She also notes that it is a great way to learn about your “fellow Americans” and see how others live. As someone who has lived in 12 of our nation’s great states, I fully endorse this one. It is a worthy resolution in my mind because if done in the spirit intended, it can create more open mindedness and understanding of others that don’t share our zip code. Most people would be surprised at those things that both separate us but also are held in common.
  2. “Ask people for their book recommendations” – I was less inspired by this one but Dana explains that this habit forced her to read books that she would not have chosen for herself. It opened up her perspective but also provided her great conversation starters. As a mother of teens and pre-teens, getting anyone to read more, and not just a text or post in Facebook or some other social site would be good for everyone. And in terms of criteria for a good resolution, this one cuts the mustard in that it also opens our thinking and gets us out of our comfort zone; assuming our friends don’t all have the same taste in books as we do.
  3. “Stop saying “like”” – This is by far my favorite of Dana’s resolutions. She writes, “We all have verbal tics we use in everyday conversation, and that often bleeds into work. The most abused word is “like.” Young women grow up saying it all the time, so much so that they don’t even realize they’re saying it. But their bosses and clients notice, and they don’t, er, like it.” So true!! And it is not just young women, though I agree that they are the most habitual abusers. It is distracting and is this generation’s version of “um”. We can all do them and, for those of us caught up in the use of the word, ourselves a big favor by helping one another break the habit.
  4. “Send two good news emails a week” – Dana notes that people get sick of email and she is right. Those of us in business get far too much of it. Those of us who have been around long enough also know that too often, these emails are snarky, critical and too often rude. People are much more brazen when they are hiding behind their computer screen. So, we can be a part of the cycle that changes this. She suggests sending two emails a week that are nice “just because”. Let’s get out of our comfort zone by being brave in a positive way rather than a confrontational one.
  5. “Surprise someone with a hello” – “Think of all the people you walk by in a day that are quietly going about their work and they are hardly ever recognized with a greeting.” This really resonates with me. I have been blessed with moving rapidly through corporate ranks and sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the work itself and rush by people on your way to the next important meeting. Conscientiously focusing on saying “Hi!” to people you pass always pays dividends. I am not suggesting that you do this so you can get ahead, but rather because happiness is contagious. Even if you are not feeling particularly happy, the act of saying hello to your fellow workers can have a positive effect that is many times over more impactful than the fraction of a second it takes to speak the word.

Hopefully these inspired you as much as they did me. If not, then go ahead and download those apps. And if you are really ambitious, do both? Happy New Year!

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