I’ve talked and written about New Year’s
resolutions in the past. They are generally not for me. I understand the
meaning behind them, the fresh start to the calendar year, and the opportunity
to begin anew. I get it, I really do. However, I still believe that what you
promise yourself and others through a New Year’s resolution are things you
should be doing all along.
Think for a moment about all the times
you or another that you know say, “my resolution for this year is to lose
weight and be healthier”. Or, how about this one, “my New Year’s resolution is
to be a more patient person, not lose my temper so quickly, and to be willing
to hear others out before infusing my opinion”. Again, why does the flip of the
calendar push us to make resolutions. More so, why do so many make these
resolutions based on in-the-moment emotion. Take for example the idea of losing
weight and being healthier. The jokes are abundant on this topic because people
are coming off a glutinous holiday time where they ate and drank as they
pleased and now feel guilty about the pounds they put on. Beyond this
situation, many cannot relate the idea of their desired weight loss and
healthier lifestyle to other factors, such as their blood pressure, cholesterol,
sugar levels, stress factors, etc. It’s the New Year and this seems like a
Now, don’t get me wrong, like I stated
before I do get the idea of a New Year’s resolution. But, I believe more in
using this time for reflection. Beyond choosing an item or two of change
arbitrarily and calling it my New Year’s resolution, I take time throughout the
holiday season to reflect on the good things that have come my way. And with
the good, so too must I reflect on the not so good. It is through my belief in
reflection that I will strive to be a better person – husband, father, manager
and sales person. Reflection will point me toward being a better version of myself
where a resolution will likely address one small factor. How can I better the
whole versus just a part?
Most of the time when I debate someone
on the topic of reflection over resolution the typical response is I am aiming
too high. Really? I generally win the debate when I use the weight loss
Other: My New Year’s resolution is to
lose 15 pounds and get healthier.
Other: Because I’ve put on a few extra
pounds and I want to get thinner.
Other: Because my pants are starting to
fit a little snug and I need to lose weight.
Other (becoming frustrated): What do you
mean why, I just told you.
Me: Ok, but what will you losing 15
pounds do for you?
Other: Kevin, are you dense, I just said
I’d be able to fit into my pants better.
Me: Oh, ok. (And then I walk away)
A short time later, still frustrated,
Other stops me at the New Year’s Eve party and wants an explanation on just
exactly what I was getting at by continuing to ask the question Why. This is
where reflection comes into play. You said you wanted to lost 15 pounds because
your pants were starting to fit snug. However, you never explained how you
gained the 15 pounds in the first place. Did you indulge in a few too many
craft beers? Did you stop exercising all together? Is there a medical concern
your doctor found that caused you to gain weight? Are you under stress at work?
Are you having marital issues? Is a family member facing an illness? All of
these questions can point to the trigger that caused you to gain weight in the
first place. Reflect upon the year past and consider the reasons or the factors
that played into the weight gain. Then, should you still want to call it a
resolution, layout a roadmap for losing the 15 pounds while addressing the root
cause(s) of the weight gain initially.
Translating this into my sales career, I
too have put on a few pounds over the past year, and I plan to lose the weight.
I’ve been working toward becoming a more patient man, but I have a way to go. I
consider myself a good husband and father, but can be a little short tempered
at times. I enjoy craft beers, good bourbon and I love to cook, yet I may
overindulge from time-to-time. I try to be a faithful man in my religious
beliefs, but I’m far from what I would call ideal. I know I can do a better job
on my attendance record at church. I like to read, try to read for enjoyment,
but oftentimes make easy excuses to skip that book I’ve had sitting on the
shelf for 10 months. Addressing these types of things will make me a better sales person because they will make me a better person overall.
Reflecting upon my shortcomings will
lead me into the process of laying out a roadmap for addressing each item. You
may call these resolutions; I call them reflection points. What’s the
difference? Going back in this post a little bit, resolutions tend to be
statements made when the calendar year flips. I’m going to lose weight! I’m
going to work on my patience! I’m going to be a better husband, father, manager
and sales person! And, while these statements have power, they lack the game
My advice as I close out the calendar
year 2016 is simple. Find some alone time with a notebook. Jot down your
thoughts or statements as if you were making resolutions. Then ponder each and
ask yourself Why. Why is this a resolution? How did I get to this point of
making it a resolution? What were the causes throughout the past year that have
come to a head now? Once you’ve written down the various items you would call
resolutions, have reflected upon the reasons why they are resolutions, then and
only then will you be able to draw your roadmap for accomplishing each. Oh
yeah, one more point, be realistic. Unless you starve yourself, you won’t lose
15 pounds in a month or two. Realistically, you’ll lose that 15 pounds in five
to six months and become healthier along the way. Reflect and plan accordingly.
Happy New Year – I hope 2017 is a safe, enjoyable and successful year for you.