Forget Your New Year Resolutions.

Every year, the gym is always busiest in the second week of January but tapers off by the second week of February. Unfortunate but true that some people’s New Year gym resolution expired faster than a can of tuna.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, and Harvard Business School professor said, “We’re really bad at setting reasonable goals.” These resolutions could actually be doing more harm than good. One of the reasons why New Year resolution dies prematurely is that we tend to focus on the “What and How” before being clear on the “Why?”.

Fitness is everyone’s favorite New Year Resolution but everyone does it for a different reason. Vishen Lakhiani, the author of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, wants to be fitter than his 20 years old self by 70. “I want to be able to spend quality time with my grandchildren. By quality time, I mean play a real football game with them for the full 90 minutes!” He said. He is 40 this year.

On the other hand, a friend of mine, Kerry wants to lose weight. When asked why, she said, “to stop people from teasing me.” A “why” that depends on external affirmation is vulnerable; never outsourced your self-esteem.

Between Vishen and Kerry, Who do you think will find fitness more fun, purposeful, and get better results?

Instead of New Year resolution, a friend created New Year manifesto.

She is a God-fearing lady. Her manifesto was “To Serve God”, a simple but clear reflection of her value.

Her manifesto is both an amplifier and a filter.

She asked, “Is this in line with my manifesto?” If it is a “Yes”, she amplifies it; she does more of it and does a better job of it. If it is a “No”, she filters it.

She asked, “What can I do to amplify my manifesto?” For example, she has decided that going the extra miles in her work is a way to serve God. Since then, she has doubled down her performance.

“It gives me more clarity to WHY I do what I do. It focuses me on the most important thing,” She said.

In the ancient time, when GPS was non-existent, the sailor sailed by searching for the North Star. The star guided them. A manifesto is the North Star in your life. It is simple yet you know it is always reliable.

In 2016, my manifesto was “HAPPY”. 2015 was a rather unhappy year. I was struggling with voices in my head. So, I figured, “What if, in 2016, I break the limitation I imposed upon myself and just be happy in the moment?”

I live more intentionally.

I always do my best. But, I acknowledge that my best is not the same every day. It varies from time to time depending on various factors.

So, my worst performance today could still better than my best ones from yesterday. But, it is OK!  I don’t beat myself up. Instead of asking, “am I really that bad?”, I say, “Hey, well done. You are good enough for today.”

Walt Disney said, “happiness is a state of mind”. I think happiness is having peace in mind. You allow yourself to feel happy. 

“Brandon, everything seems wrong this year. I just want to forget everything! By hook or by crook, next year, I will do better!” a friend texted me. She has had some hiccups in her work and it frustrates her. She beats herself up mentally.

Forgive yourself,” I said.

You are merely feeling the story you tell yourself.

What is the “Why” for my manifesto? You ask. People matters to me; that is why I coach. And I want to lead by example and practice what I preach.

I have three questions for you.

What are your big stories from 2016? How did they shape you as a person? 

What is your manifesto in 2017? Why?

What are the 3 things you will do to honor your manifesto?

You are unique, so is your manifesto. There is no right way of doing it; It can be a word, a phrase, an essay, a song or even a painting! Craft it, let it speak to your heart. Then, let it guides you.

I wish you a splendid 2017. May it be a purposeful year worth living.


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