Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wasting Time On New Year’s Resolutions

Everybody sooner or later has to drop the luggage and the baggage of illusions. - Carlos Santana

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. - Charles Dudley Warner

I believe that behind both the person who weighs 400 pounds and the one who weighs 85 there is a lot of baggage, and it has nothing to do with their bodies. - Kirstie Alley

Ah yes, it must be the first day of the New Year.

People have flocked to social media yet again to trumpet their intentions for the upcoming year – more money, more love, less weight, more success, more travel, more excitement, less drama, more stuff, less stuff … blah blah blah.

Expectations of success are running high in the heady days of the New Year.  The only problem is that outside of the fact that we now date documents with a ‘2014’ instead of a ‘2013’, nothing else has changed, especially the most important thing of all.


Since this is the case, why should the upcoming year produce any result better than the previous year?  Outside of a warm, fuzzy feeling and the cries of “This is my year!”, nothing has changed in any substantial way for 97% of people who believe that they will win the Life lottery this year.

Maybe those people should try some of the following in order to increase the possibility of success when it comes to manifesting their dreams.

Cut the following out of your Life diet

1. Negative people.  You know the ones.  They are always complaining, undercutting others (and you behind your back), telling you your dreams don’t matter or just dragging you down.  This includes anyone … family, friends, etc.

2. Time stealers.  While similar to the previous group, they may also be the ones filling your Life with drama or using you as a stepping stone to their own dreams at the expense of your own.

3. Brain rotters.  A number of people who constantly complain that their Life is not going anywhere but are the same ones who can instantly bring you up to date on the latest Hollywood gossip, reality show or online game.

4. Vagueness.  I upset a lot of people because I insist on a sharp definition of expectations and results.  When someone asks for something vague, I demand precision which in turn creates mutual accountability and responsibility.  People who would rather avoid this are the same people who will hang a failure on you when vagueness produces the wrong result all the while telling you that you are difficult to work with because “no one else has ever asked for specifics before”.

5. Over-simplifiers. People who say “just overcome your fear” or “just go for it’, etc. without understanding your Life context and the emotional baggage that swims in your head are hindering you more than helping you.  If we could just walk away from our fears and self-limiting beliefs, wouldn’t we have done so already?

6. Everyone who needs help.  Notice that I bolded the word everyone.  We must all help as many people as we can but if we attempt to save the world at our own expense, we will eventually lose ourselves in the process.

Then add the following.

1. Positive people.  These are the people who seek to create a better world for themselves, you and everyone else.  Not everything they say or do feels comfortable but they do it because they know that the intention is to create something better.

2. Personal growth time.  Time dedicated to strengthening your emotional, spiritual, relational and physical self is essential to fuelling your way to success.  You’re intelligent enough to know what you need – you don’t need a high-priced guru to tell you what you already know.

3. Measures of growth. A means of measuring improvement and progress is important.  Affirmation that you are making progress matters, especially when the inevitable difficulty arrives that threatens to knock you off course unless you have reminders of how far you have come.

4. Examples of success. Observe and model successful people.  Nobody is exactly like you but those who have overcome obstacles have much to teach you …. if you are open to learning from them.  Don’t focus on unsuccessful people but be cognizant that they also have lessons to offer.

5. A sense of discernment.  Being able to discriminate between what matters and what doesn’t ….. matters.  Doing the right things in the right order, the right way at the right time is critical to success.

Then identify your goals

Make sure they are measurable.  If they are not, you won’t know if you actually get there or not.  You also won’t know what corrective action to take should you be temporarily knocked off course.

Then make note of your present location

Because you can’t establish a destination and a plan to getting there unless you are realistic about where you are starting from.

Then add optional components

Your personal regimen, including elements of faith (or not), meditation or anything else that matters to you needs to be established.  Don’t let others tell you what this regimen should or must be.  You know what you need – beg, borrow, steal, adapt or invent what you need to fill in the gaps.  You are unique – there is no one-size-fits-all methodology that fits you perfectly.

Then perfect ….

1. The ability to say no to losers, incessant dreamers who never get started (but tell a good story), losing opportunities and anything that will tear you down or not bring you closer to your goals.  Say it respectfully and forcefully.  If your response ticks them off, then you know that you have probably saved yourself from a larger problem down the road.

2. The ability to say yes to winners, opportunities for growth, reasonable risk and anything that creates a better world for yourself and others.  Too many people are afraid to say yes when the Universe presents them with the opportunity of a Lifetime, either because they have fear, a sense of inadequacy or some other self-limiting belief.  Start small and over time you will discover that you become audacious in your ability to embrace opportunity.

Then remember ….

Success comes with time invested, hard work, perseverance, intelligent risk taking, sharing, giving, collaborating, helping, accepting help, service to others and luck.  There is no one-size-fits-all, overnight success plan.

There will be pain.

And there will be victories.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint

What separates those who consistently experience pain from those who find victory despite pain often comes down to those who insist on running the marathon with a 200 pound stone in tow versus those who have shed as much baggage as possible.

So before you establish your great goals for 2014 and beyond, ask yourself these questions:

1. What baggage do I need to shed in order to achieve my goals, knowing that the baggage comes in many forms and has held me back in the past?

2. What positive elements can I add to my Life to give me a greater chance of achieving my goals?

3. How badly do I want my dreams to manifest into reality?

4. How do I know that the answers to the previous questions are accurate?

Because if a “lifestyle guru” doesn’t bother exploring this (ferreting out what holds you back), layering on more “stuff to do”, additional processes or “feel good” will only clutter an already full brain.  The upside (for them) is that you will make the “resolution / goal setting experts” wealthier. 

In fact, they need you to come back year over year because their success depends on your inability to produce it.

And besides, if you can answer these questions honestly, objectively and audaciously, you won’t need a guru to tell you what to do next.

Because you will already know.

Create a great 2014 for yourself and for others.  You deserve it but you must earn it and you must want it badly enough to do whatever it takes to create it.

Otherwise we will be having the same conversation next year.

In service and servanthood,



  1. Thanks for this passionate view on how to make real 'resolutions' that drive lasting change, Harry! I think it's also uplifting to acknowledge what we are already doing well and have already accomplished. The marathon can be more rewarding if we see just how far we've already run. There's an old long distance method of carrying rocks for part of the way - then dropping those rocks at the latter part of the journey. It makes the rest of the way feel lighter just when the hiker was about to get too tired. Instead of feeling 'I can't go on' - he/she feels - 'I can do this now'. Whether it's 200 lbs of baggage from the past or a stressful job in the present - being your own driving force for change involves a lot of positive reinforcement along the way: carrying 'light crystals' in the form of 'look how far you've come' rather than the 'you're not doing enough / you're not enough' rocks. What you reminded me of today is to look back at 2013 with gratitude and a high five before looking forward to 2014. Easier to be audacious and daring when you feel accomplished already. Thanks for the insights and ideas - always illuminating :)

    1. Thank you for your kindness, Lila. I am grateful for your expression of gratitude and for your insight into understanding one's personal victories / perseverance! :-)

      Create a great 2014!


  2. Excellent! You have expressed with greater clarity and specificity some of the same ideas that I was pointing toward in my blog today. I appreciate your specific action items and I will think about what opportunities they represent for me. Finally, I offer this attempt to paraphrase your exhortation, "If you would change your stuff, first change yourself."

    Grace and peace to you and yours!

    1. Thank you for your kindness, Doug ..... I REALLY like your paraphrase. :-)

      Create a great 2014!


  3. Some general thoughts (typed on my phone).

    Bullseye!!!! I like your blah blah blah since thats what many will spew out in terms of resolutions!

    Be the change that you want to be and act on those changes! Engage in your life. Live your dreams without fear or critism.

    Give back. Pay it forward! Be thankful. Be gracious. Clear your clutter. Rid your life of toxicity.

    Some people don't like change and they are afraid of others changing. Success and failure are not that different. If you fear failure you will never succeed! The number on the bathroom scale doesn't matter when you're dead! Money - you can't take it with you. There are no banks on the "other side"! Enjoy doing some good with it! Leave a legacy!

    Don't take your life for granted. Be humble. Accept and return love. We are all born with gifts. Don't squander yours. No matter what, never compromise your values. Be true to yourself but be discerning! Everyone's true nature will be revealed. There are no random acts. The universe or God is the mastermind here. Not us!

    Be honorable. We are all being judged by a greater power! Be kind and extend yourself and your resources to those in need! Fear is the other "f " word. Don't let it stop you from living a blessed life and helping others to realize their blessings or creating blessings for others!

    Believe in miracles. They are all around us. Happiness isn't about acquiring stuff. It’s about creating the circumstance that will enable us to be happy.

    Love is the only thing that can be given for free.

    And finally, make the most of the dash that separates your date of birth from your date of death. Life is an amazing gift. Believe in yourself even when others cannot see your value.

    We are all unique! Be passionate about inspiring change one small act at a time.

    Let your light shine because you are a wonderful soul.

    Veronica T.