The Problem with New Year Resolutions

by | Dec 24, 2015 | Food for Thought, Life's Like That | 0 comments

What is the link between new year resolutions and epitaphs?


Are epitaphs commemorative inscriptions to reflect the life, legacy or the personality of the faithful departed or a message left by the living to their dead?


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an epitaph as:

“something written or said in memory of a dead person; especially : words written on a gravestone”


In most cultures, death and epitaphs are a taboo subject, so I better get to the point fast . . .


Making New Year Resolutions (that work)

2015 is coming to an end and a new year beckons. It is usually a time when resolutions are made (before most are broken).


Most resolutions don’t stick because it clashes with your values and internal view of self. Trying to make positive affirmations about yourself that you don’t really believe in would not really work but in the long run may do harm to your self-esteem and can be highly demoralizing.


One effective way to make resolutions effective is to build it around a personal mission statement. A task that may take days or even weeks to complete, depending on how resolute you are to come up with one.


Look at a personal mission statement as a long term goal. A 5-year goal. 10-year goal. Or maybe even a 20-year goal. A personal mission statement is the glue that keeps these plans going long after you have set, tried or even forgotten your New Year resolutions.


Unlike New Year resolutions that works beautifully for two weeks before they are gone and forgotten, a personal mission statement encompasses your core values and highest goals.


Resolutions Begin with the End in Mind

So how do you begin creating a personal mission statement?


In Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s classic text on living a fulfilled life – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – placed the second of the seven habits as “Begin with the End in Mind”.


Habit 2 is about creating a reality which begins in your mind because all things are created twice. One in your mind (mental) and the end product or result (physical). Any neglect on your part to consciously visualize what you want in life and who you truly embody as a person will result in a “life by default” situation where outside circumstances and other people shape you and your life.


Habit 2 begins with a personal mission statement and Dr. Covey suggests that you visualize attending a funeral – YOURS – and observe what your family, friends, colleagues, other attendees say of you.


This brings us back to the epitaphs. Because in formulating your personal mission statement, you need to begin with the end in mind.


Yes. That End. The very End. Of your life.


I guess this is no different from the working-backward approach. By beginning at the end, you gain a better understanding of where you are now and the steps you need to take to get you to the direction you are heading.


Your Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement is defined by your values and your own uniqueness based on personal, moral, and ethical guidelines in your life.


In our everyday existence, most people are too engrossed in the busy-ness of life which includes pursuing larger paychecks, attaining higher societal status and acquiring more material possessions.


This immersion with the ‘chase’ keeps us too busy to notice what really matters in our lives. A personal mission statement will keep your life in check and align you with what really matters to you in your life.


Take the first step this New Year to build a fulfilling life of liberty and happiness. Instead of writing a New Year resolution like you usually do, begin by crafting your personal mission statement.


An ideal way to start is to go to the Personal Mission Builder which provides a step-by-step guide to build your personal mission statement.


All the best to you. Here wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New 2016.

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