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Theme Your New Year

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I’m two weeks late to the “New Year’s Resolution” party, but given the topic of this blog I find the irony in that statement quite fitting.

Every year, I am bombarded by social media posts – serious, humorous, sarcastic, you name it – on the topic of New Year’s resolutions. Unless you are not on the internet all together, I find you will agree it is an epidemic you cannot escape. As the team at the CPT gets ready to tackle our 2017 goals to develop even more ethical leaders across the country, it got me wondering two things: what is the psychology behind new year’s resolution and what is a more realistic/less-detrimental-if-not-achieved approached?

In December of 2016, an article on Forbes said, “We need cues in the environment to trigger new desired behavior. Many people have all kinds of competing cues for unhealthy habits. The key to change is to embed cues that signal or prompt a person to exhibit the new desired behavior.”

Meaning, we set up goals for ourselves without realizing that there are other factors we simultaneously have to monitor and change. Saying we will work out five days a week when we currently work out zero days a week is setting ourselves up for failure.

Last week, Business Insider published an article about the four most common problems with New Year’s Resolutions: they deal with absolutes, they are framed by negativity, they are focused on the outcome and not the process, and they are reliant on outside forces.

With all that in mind and including a personal success I had with “resolutions” in 2016, I present to you New Year’s Theme vs. New Year’s Resolution. As mentioned above, specific goals can make us feel constrained and powerless, while themes are more overarching and encompassing. In 2016, I pinpointed a lot of situations in my personal and professional life that needed assessing, but instead of making a daunting list I would not have been able to keep past February, I sought to make decisions based on my theme. When confronted with a fork in the road I asked myself: does this fit my 2016 theme? If it did, I pursued it. If it did not, I did not.

In 2017, I am welcoming the year of patience. I have identified various items I would like to see improved, and by using my New Year’s Theme, I hope to grow both personally and professionally.

How have you started off your new year so far? What are some goals, themes or changes you would like to see made? Share some images or quotes that are empowering you for a chance to be featured on our social media channels: [email protected].

Alexia Kammer
Business Development Specialist, NASBA Center for the Public Trust

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