Replace Your New Year’s Resolution with a Vision of Purpose

Have you set your New Year’s resolution yet? The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates all the way back to 153 B.C. January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome. Janus had two faces — one looking forward, one looking backward. This allowed him to look back on the past and forward toward the future. On December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forward into the new year. This became a symbolic time for Romans to make resolutions for the new year and forgive enemies for troubles in the past. The Romans also believed Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead. And thus the New Year’s resolution was born!

The beginning of the year is a great time to get focused on what want from the year ahead. The most common resolutions are losing weight, doing more exercise, quitting smoking and saving money. Sadly, most resolutions fail within the first few weeks of the new year. Research has shown that half of all adults make a New Year’s resolution. However, fewer than 10% keep them for more than a few months. In fact, one study showed that 50% of people who make a resolution, abandon it before even starting.

Resolutions are not as powerful as goals because they lack accountability and measurement that move you toward a desirable outcome. SMART goals may get you further. In order to achieve a SMART goal, you should make the resolution Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Limited. Psychologically, we tend to move toward a goal once the goal has been set.

Resolutions tend to focus on what you want. Goals tend to be something to accomplish. But why stop with either a resolution or a goal? How about being vision-focused? According to authors Brett & Kate Mckay (Visions Over Goals,, a vision is a broad idea of living your fullest ideals. Having goals or a vision isn’t an either/or proposition. You should have both. However, goals lack deeper meaning and a vision provides purpose and significance. If we want to live a flourishing life, we need to become vision-focused and put our goals into the context of that vision. They warn that we don’t confuse the tool for the blueprint.

Visioning is a tool for life direction whether it is personal or professional. Kate Miller, counselor, holistic coach and colleague says “Vision is about the ‘Why’ not the ‘What.  Through visioning we can set an intention and as we keep our attention on it, it provides direction.” I attended her visioning workshop last January and found it tremendously helpful. In that workshop I was able to contemplate my highest values and examine whether my behavior is in alignment with those values. Unlike resolutions and goals, visioning is not necessarily about obtaining anything. It’s about a shift of consciousness in your ‘being’. Visioning is a guided process utilizing a series of questions to reveal a higher ideal for one’s life. It also uncovers blind spots to surrender and gifts to celebrate.

I recommend that you attend Kate Miller’s “Vision for 2019 Workshop” on Sunday, Jan 13th at Prairie Ridge of Galena from 1:30-4:30 pm. Register online at


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