Happy New Year!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2014.

All week, there’s been talk of New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’re for them, and maybe you aren’t.

I come down squarely in favor of New Year’s resolutions–the idea of a clean slate and setting goals. Jeannine Hall Gailey talks about taking stock and refocusing. Penelope Trunk talks about resolutions as KPIs (key performance indicators), and for me that puts the focus on measuring and continuing. You mess one up, you don’t quit; you keep pursuing your goals. Similarly, Kelli Russell Agodon offers a wonderful and inspiring way to think of living going forward, plus her great list of guidelines. That makes me think of a map–resolutions as a map for guiding my day.

My most successfully kept resolution ever was to read the comics in the newspaper every day–and even then, I missed a day or two.

Last year, my goals were important but not specific (be a better wife, be a better mother, write better, be a better leader at work), so I wrote out a list of how I could become better. It was a good list, but it was too long (about 15 things). Some I achieved, if intermittently, some I missed.

This year, I was aiming for 5-7, and ended up with about 10. My mom suggested prioritizing, which makes sense, but instead I grouped them together. I looked at my list of individual activities (my practice) in terms of results–what I want those activities to accomplish. That has gotten me down to 5.

One of the best things someone has said to me in my work search is, “What do you want your contribution to be?” And recently Tom and I had a great conversation about aligning your projects to what you really want to do. Both of those thoughts resonate with me. I want my resolutions, my goals, my daily practice to align with landing the kind of work I want to do, with my career change (more on that later), and with making the best choices–for me, for my family, for the world.

Have you written resolutions or guidelines for the new year? Or do you find other ways to stay focused?