January 8, 2016

With the beginning of each year comes a new resolution, but is this a fruitless trend or life-changing exercise?

It’s that time of year again, as the refrigerator accumulates various commitments aimed at self-improvement. Looking back, 2015 may have been a time of happiness or increased productivity, but how much of that can you attribute to the resolution you set at the beginning of the year? Regardless of the resolution, it is important the focus remains on consciously trying to progress as an individual.

That’s why I’m not making a New Year’s resolution this year. Years ago, I kicked the idea of a singular New Year’s resolution in favor of establishing mottos to live by. Rather than working toward a goal that affects just one area of my life, I made an overarching resolution to live a healthy lifestyle, to think positively, to be kind, to meditate, and to be mindful. Alliance Healthcare Foundation Program Officer Michele Silverthorn felt the mounting pressure to live up to a single resolution in past years as well, eventually electing to travel a similar path.

“I can’t remember making new year resolutions in the past—somehow the pressure of it was too much,” she said. “I do like to think of the new year as the refresh button and use it to reflect on what went well in the past year and consider goals to achieve. This year, I have compiled a list of goals and will be selecting a few to focus on for 2016. Over the next month I will be planning out how best to achieve them and what the challenges might be in accomplishing them.”

A person can always improve in one area or another, so what’s the best process? Utilizing numerical goals remains an effective way to stay accountable, as experts consider setting “vague or distant goals” a critical mistake when striving to reach an objective. Making a list of small, manageable goals as a way to track progress on your way to a lofty dream may be another route. Lists provide an unmistakeable sense of fulfillment that comes from crossing off an item as you proceed.

However, it’s not just about the numbers, and it’s often not even about the goal. A New Year’s resolution is about making a commitment to improve yourself. No matter the scope, that resolution we make at the beginning of each year denotes progress. The transformation stems from looking internally at the area that still needs improving.

But let’s face it, every area holds the potential for you to improve, to be a better person. San Diego hero LaDainian Tomlinson is an NFL MVP who played in the Pro Bowl five times, but he always continued to push his talents as a way to improve on a personal level. Considered one of the best rushers to play the game even prior to retirement, L.T.’s fire to improve burned bright.

“I believe in working hard all the time,” he famously said. “I have faith that working hard is going to get me where I want to go.”

On your own journey, translate his mentality into any area of your life, from an aspect only detectable internally to something all your friends will immediately notice. The area itself isn’t what to focus on here, but rather the commitment to yourself, the promise to improve. Don’t do it just to impress those around you—that will naturally flow from your increased happiness and confidence projected as a result of your personal success.

Don’t fall victim to stagnation because last year seems “pretty good” in retrospect. Stimulate progress and stay committed to yourself, which will in turn help your loved ones, your community, and your planet.

What are you committed to in 2016? What methods do you plan on utilizing to hold yourself accountable? We would love to be inspired by your ideas and follow your progress throughout the year. Feel free to share your goals!

Alliance-Healthcare-Foundation-Executive-Director-Nancy-Sasaki-Headshot-Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director
Alliance Healthcare Foundation

About Alliance Healthcare Foundation

Alliance Healthcare Foundation is a San Diego-based nonprofit which works with nonprofit, government and community agencies to advance health and wellness throughout the San Diego and Imperial Counties. AHF works to serve the most vulnerable – the poor, working poor, children and homeless by providing grants, advocacy and education to support its region.

To learn more about AHF, visit:   AHF on Facebook, AHF on LinkedInAHF on Google+, AHF on YouTube, AHF on Twitter

To learn more about our grantees, visit our Grantee Page. 

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