A review of the Gallup Well-Being Index from the previous year notes that Americans are not as healthy as we have been in the past. Obesity hit a record high and the only demographic group who exercised more than in previous years were the Millennials. Another research group indicates that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions and losing weight is the most frequent made resolution.
I do not know if you fall into the 45% who are making resolutions however; we believe strongly in what Louise H. Leber proposed when she stated, “There’s always room for improvement, it’s the biggest room in the house.” To that end, a colleague of mine convinced me a few years ago to adopt an annual theme that promotes self-improvement. The theme is one or two words and will drive my self-improvement focus for the year. The last few years I have used the words Gratitude and Presence. A few years ago, I needed to adjust my perspective on life by shifting from what I do not have to appreciating what I do have. That shift proved to be incredibly revitalizing and re-energizing. It was an opportunity to be powerfully reminded that the joy in my life exists in appreciating where I am currently and not in that which I still seek to accomplish.
That evolved into last year’s focus word, which was Presence. As speaking opportunities and book writing activities increased, I began to lose sight of the precious opportunities I had to spend time with others. I needed to return to the cognitive strategy I had implemented a long time ago and had since violated. This strategy centered on a mental focus of reminding myself that the person in front of me is the most important person in the world at that moment. Because things had become so busy for me, I found myself giving people only my partial attention. Because people are at the center of my professional and personal areas of passion, not giving them my full attention was a painful discovery that required immediate attention. We are all a work that is “still in process.”
I have recently decided on the word for this year. What will your word be? Share it and make it real. It must also be written down in a way that will enable it to be a consistent reminder. As Leber encourages us, the self-improvement room should be the biggest room in your house. To make the most out of this year, we should resolve to finish the year as a different and improved person than we were at the start of the year. I propose that this is how we can make the most out of the New Year.
John F. Edwards is a motivational speaker, author, change expert, and coach who help people and organizations to get to where they want to go by overcoming where they have been. You can follow him on twitter @Edwards_Group or visit his blogs at http://eddyspeaks.com/blog