Once more in the passing of time we find ourselves at the shift from one year to another. 2011 is about to drift into 2012 and a flood of New Year Resolutions are being pondered or acclaimed to those who ask and perhaps to those who didn't ask. Resolutions however simple, complex or multiple, come with well meaning intent and seem to fail or pass away from our resolve and memories by the end of the month of January.
I offer three basics when it comes to forming and discerning New Year Resolutions:
1. You will achieve more by doing less! The temptation is to make an extended grocery list of "will do's" or "will not do's". We actually immediately sabotage ourselves with sheer information/intent overload. A basic theory used in statistical analysis is the Pareto Principle or as most people know it as the "80/20 Rule". In one form, it is understood as the rule of the distribution of resources and goods in the world. 80% of stuff comes from 20% of people and their processes such as 80% of the world's wealth is held by 20% of the world's population.
A secondary application is that by applying 80% of your energy and resources on the top 20% of a prioritized list, you actually will accomplish 80-90% of the list. So, if you have made an exhaustive list of resolutions, prioritize it with the most important items at the top, tapering off to the lesser important ones towards the bottom of the list. Now, count down from the top 20% of the total topics and draw a line or just cut the bottom items off and then focus on just the top 20% of the listed ideas. You actually will accomplish them more readily than if you tried to tackle the entire list of "I want's, I need to do's or I want to quit's!"
2. In somewhat of a related philosophy, Stephen Covey in his work entitled, "The Eighth Habit" offers his "90/10 Principle." In short, he states that only 10% of what happens in our lives is out of our control. Acts by others, nature or pure chance that we can do nothing to avoid or deter. We can however be empowered as to what we will think, say, perceive, feel or how we decide to act 90% of the time. This is important to remember in that we are empowered 90% of the time with choices we can make to only the meager 10% of chance or the actions of others that intrudes upon our life!
3, One final idea that I have also gleaned from Stephen Covey's work, is, "4 Basic Assumptions for Life" I actually feel that these four basic assumptions are to be for me my top 20% of how I am going to respond 90% of the time to the 10% that I have no control over in my life, They are:
A. For the Body: Assume you had a heart attack; Now live accordingly! (Discipline)
B. For the Heart: Assume everything you say about another person, they can overhear;
Now speak accordingly! (Passion)
C. For the Mind: Assume the half life of your profession is two years; Now plan accordingly!
D. For the Spirit: Assume you have a 1-on-1 conversation with your Creator; Now live
May each and everyone of you have a Blessed New Year!