Instead of a New Year resolution, start a conversation

January 13, 2016

By Sandra Rodriguez

I spent part of today roaming around several websites looking at New Year resolution articles.

It’s that time of year when people ask what resolutions you plan to make. So many of the articles are the same… make a list, check it twice — wait that’s Santa Claus. Then I came across an article on LinkedIn Pulse by Erica Ariel Fox. She laments the real fact that most of us make the same resolutions every year, failing and quitting, and that perhaps we are going about all this the wrong way.

Erica has a suggestion: instead of making resolutions, start with conversations.

Her point is that we need to explore WHY the change and WHAT needs to happen (the steps) BEFORE we make a commitment. The topic of the conversation may come from a look back or from a look at the future. Have the conversation, perhaps several of them with different people and then decide IF you want to make the change to accomplish your goal.

Listed below are suggestions from Erica. I changed them from “we” questions to “I” questions to keep this on a personal “me” level. Take a look with an eye toward what strikes your fancy – that’s always a good place to begin.

10 Conversation Starters with colleagues, friends, and family

1. What goals and intentions did I have this year? How did I do? How important do they seem to me now?

2. What do I see as “successes” and “failures” of the last year? What can I learn from each of them? Are there hidden “successes” in what I’m calling “failures”?

3. What “unfinished business” is coming out of this year? Do I want to address any of it in the new year? If yes, what are a few ways I could do that?

4. What have I been arguing about this year — as part of a team, a couple, a business, a community? What perspectives were hardest for me to understand? What steps could I take in the new year to see someone else’s perspective, even if I still disagree with it, just to understand it better? Remember, I can only change me.

5. What happened in the last year that I need to accept, just as it is? Maybe something didn’t happen, and I wished that it would? Where in my life might I release the goal of “fixing” or “improving” in the new year, and instead choose the course of accepting?

6. What did I lose or suffer in 2015, and how did I grieve? Where did I triumph, and how did I celebrate? In what ways might I approach loss or victory differently in the new year?

7. Where did I focus most of my time and attention in the past year? How did that help, or hinder me? Do my priorities for time and attention feel aligned with my values and goals? What strikes me as I think about that?

8. What do I want to leave behind in 2015? What mindsets, habits, and stories I ruminate over, do I aim to transcend as I turn the page to 2016?

9. What are some big dreams I imagine for the new year? What hopes do I have for my own life, for my family, teams, organizations, and community?

10. What qualities or traits do I hope to exhibit to those around me in the coming year? What’s meaningful to me about bringing out those characteristics more? What steps can I take, and what help can I ask for, to move in that direction?
So have some conversations, process what you have learned, THEN decide IF you want to resolve to make changes. A plan will emerge that will help you to achieve your resolution. At the end of the year you are more likely to say, “I did it” and get ready for more conversation.

Drop me a line at and let me know how your conversations evolved.