Our 2020 New Year’s Resolutions (A)

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I resolve to quit avoiding dealing with conflict, disagreements, and difficult issues for fear of upsetting someone. That doesn’t mean that I’ll just start charging ahead insensitively or inconsiderately. It means that I’ll be dealing firmly with whatever the issue or concern is while remaining sensitive to the feelings and interests of others.

I resolve to take the initiative more and to be less cautious and more willing to take a chance on me. I’ll still be cautious but without becoming paralyzed by the potential downside of speaking up or taking action. I’ll pursue my goals and interests continuously but incrementally, testing and evaluating my progress. I think this approach will better assure moving toward my goals without exposing myself to unnecessary and avoidable jeopardy. I’ll no longer simply play it safe but will play it cautiously. I won’t proceed haphazardly or impulsively, risking not giving myself time and opportunity to process, analyze, predict, evaluate, and modify actions and circumstances. By being cautious while taking reasonable chances, I’ll give me my best shot at being the me I want to be.

I resolve to take the advice of Dag Hammarskjöld to heart. He told us to “Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.” I’m going to put most of my time and energy on staying on the right road, on reaching my goals. I’ll be spending less time and energy worrying about unlikely contingencies and maintaining the status quo. That means less time worrying about things getting worse and more on the possibility of things getting better. My new strategy will lock my focus on the here-and-now. I’ll minimize my obsessing over static or irrelevant data, thus enabling me to focus my time and energy nearly exclusively on goal-centered data, on people and things that really can help me get to my far horizon.

I resolve to make decisions and take action thoughtfully but more quickly. I’ll stop putting off decisions or actions, avoiding or deferring doing what needs done, and stop hesitating or proceeding so reluctantly. My actions and reactions won’t be impulsive or ill considered but they will be more decisive and timely. I’ll be able to do this because I will be working on better tuning into and trusting my judgment and insight. I’ll be getting much better at reminding myself that trusting me is a reliable path to my success.

I resolve to recommit every day to never shirking or avoiding difficult people, challenging tasks or unwelcomed responsibilities. That means I’ll do everything I’ve agreed to do or am responsible for doing to the best of my ability. My guiding principle here will always be this: All of my internal systems and processes will remain on high alert and active. I’m much sharper and better able to perceive and manage things when I’m giving everything I do my best effort. And to paraphrase the poker players, for me, “best effort” is but table stakes in the game of life.