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Forget New Year Resolutions, Just Focus on Three Words

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What are your New Year's resolutions? I always struggle with this one and for several years have avoided actually making any. I rarely kept it up -- especially the one about losing weight -- as it seemed like a futile exercise.

However, setting goals is important, especially when you run a business. Otherwise how do you know where you are going or when you have arrived? But again, I was ambivalent about the goals. Then I saw an article by Christine Comaford in which she talked about setting your needle, your gauge of success, for the year and I rather liked that approach. This way, I felt you could set a "hairy, audacious goal" and who knows, you might even achieve it. And even if you didn't, you would be moving the needle forward and working towards success.

But I found myself still not satisfied that I wasn't setting any personal goals for myself. In my search for clarity, I came across another thought-provoking article by Cathy Presland that really resonated with me.

Like me, she was giving up on resolutions and didn't want to limit herself and her opportunities by setting goals for an entire year, so she decided to choose three words by which she would live her life in the months ahead. She chose simplicity, connection, and laughter. I love her choices and it was tempting just to select them, but that would be too easy.

What three words would I choose? After much thought and deliberation, I came up with health, acceptance, and authenticity.

I chose health because my recent bout with the flu served as a reminder that I have to treat my body with respect and not run myself ragged, dashing off to this meeting and the next. Sometimes I feel like a hot commodity, with everyone wanting a bit of my time. But perhaps I can "meet" people over the phone rather than in person. What I do know is I need to make healthy choices for myself or I am no use to anyone.

Part of acceptance is letting go of things I cannot control, such as changes in the lives of staff, the economy, and its impact on small businesses. In the event planning industry, there is much beyond your control, including when people register. Because people tend to sign up at the last minute, I would spend endless hours worrying over whether we were going to run an event or have to cancel. That nervous, worrying energy takes its toll and so I am going to try and not go there this year and let things unfold as they will, but I know this is easier said than done.

The last word is authenticity, which is more a short-term goal. I have always prided myself that I am real and authentic, but towards the end of 2011 I started to recognize that when I am intimidated by the people in my midst I start to act a role and not be myself. I seem to have this need to "show off" and I don't like myself when I do this, although I recognize that it comes from my feelings of insecurity.

At this stage in my life, I am comfortable with who I am, so wearing a mask is out of character and leads me to question whether I need to be with people who make me feel like I have to "strut my stuff." Maybe not. It's much to consider, just proving that we are all a work in progress.

So what three words would you choose? It is actually quite an interesting exercise and I encourage you to try it. It helps you focus on where you need to put your energies and the areas of personal growth that require your attention.

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