Kathy Fortin

January 18, 2019


 I cannot let the month of January go by without writing about resolutions. While resolutions can be made any time of year, the start of the New Year is the occasion that comes naturally. I use a process that involves three aspects. First is the “Inquiry.” This is the most important part and I believe is the one that eludes many of us. It is the thinking phase of forming resolutions. For me, it means taking stock and evaluating how things are going. This requires reflection. Some anti-resolution-makers will say, “I don’t make resolutions. I don’t keep them anyway.” Making resolutions is not about making a list of things you would like to do. Inquiry requires genuine thought and It necessitates asking yourself:. How do I assess the past year? What do I think worked well? What were the problems?  What don’t I want to repeat? What do I want to make happen this coming year? For me, this part takes the most work! It is mid- January and I am just working through this “Inquiry” phase.

 “Formulating Ideas and Making Decisions” is the second phase. After hashing out the assessment, I start making decisions. What are those areas where I want to make changes or improve? Is there something new I want to explore or try? This is the point when I begin to write down  thoughts. Planning needs to happen on paper. I have a fetish for notebooks and writing things down. I recommend buying a new notebook. Find something different. I received a “standard notebook” for a Christmas gift and find its smaller size is perfect for jotting down my resolution thoughts. I have a friend who uses the “Bullet Method” notebook which helps to track productivity on tasks.

 The third phase is developing the Action Steps. What will you do to reach the goals you set?

 Here are examples of what the whole process might look like:

 1. Answering an inquiry: I want to get better organized.

2. I decide that this means organizing my desk at home, my desk at the office, as well as organize various unfinished projects.

3. These are steps I will take: 

  • I will start with the office and do something every day and check it off my list and finish all my tasks by February 1. 
  • I will immediately share my plan with others who can help me and then decide who will do what. 
  •  I will organize my desk. (I like the method of clearing my desk completely—moving everything to the credenza-- (noting for a moment how good that makes me feel). I begin a review of every piece of paper, my notes, and telephone messages and determine how it will be handled, and organize all work in process this way. In other words, create a “To Do” list.

 Your list of tasks may be long. Do not worry about the length. It may also grow as you go along. You will likely find you need to develop systems, templates, form files, organize files and become more paperless. Starting out with a singular goal takes you in a new direction. Doesn’t that make the effort of resolutions worthwhile?