Three Steps to a Better You in 2012

I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions, probably because I’ve got a crummy track record in keeping them for more than a week or two. Maybe I’m the only one who has struggled with this, but I’m guessing you can probably relate to what I’m saying.

During a recent hike I spent some time in solitude reflecting on what I want to do differently in 2012 and the phrase that kept coming to mind was “be a better you.” So in an effort to avoid repeating history by not keeping specific resolutions, I’ve chosen to focus on a few principles that I think will shape the path for me to be a better version of myself. Perhaps they can help you as you consider what the new year has in store for you.

1. Lift up my eyes – Over the holiday break I’ve been painting several rooms in our house and I’ve noticed a trend. The quality of workmanship of the trim at the top of the walls was less than stellar, but I hadn’t noticed it because I rarely look up. That tends to happen when you live life at eye level.

In 2012 I want to look up more. I want to elevate my perspective about my job, the people I lead, the way I serve others. I believe there is a higher calling inside each of us and I want to be more in tune with that voice this new year.

2. Connect with the core – A necessary companion to elevating my perspective is making sure that my goals for 2012 connect to my core values. Our behavior demonstrates our beliefs. If I say that I value health and well-being, yet continue to eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast and neglect to exercise regularly, then my behavior shows that I really don’t value my health.

So one of two things needs to happen. I need to examine, test, and confirm what I say my values are and align my behavior accordingly, or I need to drop the charade and choose some different values.

3. Get emotional – In order to sustain commitment to my goals I have to make sure they stoke my emotional fire. In their book Switch, Chip and Dan Heath refer to this as “motivating the elephant,” which is the emotional, instinctive part of our personality. Willpower lasts only so long and our “elephant” is very patient, strong, persistent, and will eventually win the battle.

If I’m going to be successful in creating a better version of me in 2012, I have to devise strategies that will direct the energy of my elephant toward achieving my goals rather than working against me.

Whether or not you’ve made specific resolutions for 2012, or simply want to join me on a journey to becoming a better “you,” here’s to a new year of elevating our perspective on life, living out our core values, and tapping into the emotional power within each of us.

Happy New Year!

8 Comments on “Three Steps to a Better You in 2012

  1. Randy,
    Having time alone is a great gift. Given the solid three principles highlighted here, looks like you made good use of the time. I’m particularly fond of looking up. In our haste through our day, even life, we overlook what is hidden above us. It could be anything. That makes it powerful, even thrilling.

  2. Very good article! I’l like to add one more little thing; I would like every man to take under consider common good when acting.

    • Thank you for your comments, Stavros. I agree that acting for the common good is a leadership imperative.

      Best regards,


  3. As always, to the point and most relevant. Everyone should focus more on core values and aligning these rather than the end results. The main reason for failed resolutions is that there is inner conflict between goals and values – such inner conflict amounts to insanity (if you cannot agree within yourself, how do you expect to function?) I am sure you’ve already made the organisational link too. Just experienced a company falling apart because of such inner conflict. That said, is there anything better I can wish you than success at re-evaluating your values and/or adjusting your goals so that they may completely align and lead you to the desired results? That is my wish for everyone, true success. Have an awesome new year.

    • Hi Daryl. I love your definition of insanity – not being able to agree with yourself. I hadn’t thought of this in an organizational context so I’m glad you pointed that out. Happy New Year to you!

      • Oh my gosh! I just realised why so many imposed rules are broken or simply ignored and why so many well intended resolutions* by the board of directors are similarly never brought to realisation. Have you made that link? It’s very closely linked to the subject matter of your blog and your work – TRUST…

        Yes, the goal does not agree with the values! The instruction is given, but there is no trust and the employees’ do not enthusiastically accept the goal of the instruction, because they have not bought into the organisational values. Talking about and establishing mutual values lie at the core of leadership and engenders TRUST.

        It also reflects how you have integrated this subject matter as part of your own core values, as it subconsciously runs through everything you say and do. This is why your messages are always so strong, they ring true. Thanks for the well wishes, really need them right now.

        *(note, same word, different context, alters meaning somewhat & clarifies both in my opinion)

      • Great insight Daryl! Having trust, faith, and confidence in mutually shared values is a key to achieving organizational success. Isn’t that really the process of someone “fitting” into an organization’s culture? The individual has to assimilate and internalize the values of the organization and have trust that the values are authentically lived out.

        As always, thanks for your input and inspiration.

        Sent via mobile device. Please excuse any typos.

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