It is about this time of year that we start evaluating what happened this year; what was good, what was bad, what should be changed in the upcoming 12 months. Typically, we only look at the highlights instead of really putting some concentrated thought into the whole year. This usually leads us to making "New Year's Resolutions" that probably last more than a few weeks, or days.
Resolution (decision): a firm decision to do something. This is a pretty scary thought. That's why most resolutions don't last. Making resolutions sets you up for failure, they are too inflexible. If the situation is not the product of a commitment to self analysis, making a broad promise is a direct path to guilt and self abuse. Making a resolution to lose weight next year is doomed to failure unless it is less generic and more specific. Telling yourself instead, or better yet journaling, that by the end of next year "I will lose 20 pounds in order to make my blood pressure lower. I will do this by (insert your specific game plan here) "will give you a better chance of victory. Now you have a plan for success, with specific parameters, that will assure you a greater chance for success; and you won't have to suffer the guilt of failure.
This best way to make this system work is to take the time to study your core values. This can be a frightening task, but I assure you that the results are worth your effort. Actually, I have noticed that the process is more important that the answers. Nobody will ever see your list, unless you choose to share it, so you can be brutally honest. This is the hardest part because we don't really like to look at ourselves up close, but we should. Also remember that your list is not cast in stone, you should review it at least once a year and make any necessary changes.
Your Core Values can be one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox. You are judged by how you appear, how you act and how you react. Knowing yourself well will help you make the kind of decisions that make you stronger and inspire the people around you.