Forget Resolutions – Three Questions to Ask Yourself for the New Year

The end of one year and the beginning of another marks a psychological passage. That’s why folks make new year’s resolutions.

But resolutions are too specific for an entire year’s goals. They make you reflect on behaviors that have too low an impact to be taken seriously by your unconscious wants and needs. You need to think bigger.

You need to ask the “big” questions. When you’ve answered them, you’ll have a better idea of how to plan the smaller goals that help you achieve your life goals.

You should regularly check up on yourself about the following issues. Yet, few people think about them until they’re so unhappy and frustrated that they must. Or until they go to a therapist. Do yourself a favor and review these questions at least once a year.

1. Am I doing what I want to be doing with my life?

This question makes you consider all kinds of sub-questions: Am I in the right kind of work? Am I working for an organization I can respect? Am I happy in my job? If I have to stay in a job I hate, how can I survive the stress? If I have a job I love, how can I be sure to keep it? Am I preparing for the skills I may need to advance in the future to what I want to do or continue to do? What kind of work makes me happy? Do I have enough time to pursue my outside interests? Am I making enough time for friends and family?

You know what you need to consider to be satisfied that you are leading the life you want and should be living. Ask the first question and keep asking for everything you need to know. Then you’ll know what you need to do.

If you are deeply dissatisfied with your work or your life, your performance and productivity will suffer drastically. If you make yourself happy or even simply satisfied, your productivity and performance will soar.

2. Am I with people who support and care for me?

When you were a kid, your parents warned you against falling in with “bad company.” Also known as “stay away from that jerk!”

At work and at home, your success, failure and happiness depend greatly on the quality of your friends and family. And your co-workers. And your bosses.

You are a social being. You do not do well without support from others. Yes, you have to have the ability to think independently and, when necessary, act contrarily to popular opinion. However, you can’t function well without a decent amount of agreement, encouragement, respect and goodwill from others.

Are you getting that at work and home? What can you do to make sure you get it or keep it?

3. Do I love and respect myself?

The self-esteem question is essential to thriving in both work-life and home-life. No matter how much support and respect you get from outside, you have to have an internal support system as well. It should include developing and following your own set of ideals, principles and moral code.

Positive self-regard is what enables you to say no to work you don’t want to do. It helps you to refuse to contact people who bring you down. It helps you make your own time schedule and get things done on time, in your own way. It helps you refuse to engage with people who are pushing your anger buttons.

It is your psychological armor.

If you have it, how are you going to make sure you keep it? If you don’t, how are you going to get it?

Yeah. Well, I did say they were the big questions. At least I didn’t recommend “who am I?” or “what is my purpose in the universe?” This isn’t a philosophy course. It is, however, an article written for a blog about human performance and productivity.