Values for a New Year

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to the amazing Creative Mornings community in San Diego about the idea of clarifying values for a new year, helping us to drown out some of the noise and act with intention and purpose (worksheet download below).

As we approach another new year—and this time around, a new decade—many of us will emerge from the daze of the holidays and start thinking about the year ahead. The start of the year is a great time for reflection, planning and goal-setting. It may be a cliché and a marketing tool, but the idea of New Year, New You holds a lot of promise. It’s a fresh start, a reset, an opportunity for change—it’s all new. 

As we make it through the last remaining cookies and let ourselves embrace this mindset of newness and change, many will eventually sit down to create a list of New Year’s Resolutions. We’ve probably all been there. Fitness, finance, diet, career, skills, travel and wellness are among the themes that people turn to most often. Learn a new language, drink less, read more, join a gym, be kinder to your family—all virtuous pursuits that would likely change your life for the better. 

So, why are they so hard to follow through with? Why, according to U.S. News and World Report, do nearly 80% of resolutions get dropped by February? One of the reasons I’d submit is this: when we resolve to eat more vegetables, or take up cycling, or write more letters, why we’re doing it isn’t always apparent. And when we don’t have a purpose, or a why, behind our actions, there isn’t much of a foundation to inspire us to do things consistently over time. 

This year, I’d like to encourage you to try something different. Instead of making that list of resolutions and weighing yourself down with a bunch of whats that you will be struggling to maintain come March, consider shifting your attention towards why. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, try refreshing your values for the New Year. 

Here at Bulldog Drummond, we work with brands to identify and define values that help drive behavior and decision making across the organization. Instead of having a laundry list of things to do, it means creating a clear and purposeful set of reasons behind doing. As an individual, clarifying your values can be just as powerful for your personal life, giving meaning to what you choose to do and how you choose to do it. And as you enter another year, having a renewed connection to your values can also lead to real changes that stick with you well past Spring. 

Ready to ditch the resolutions and get started on values? Use the exercise below to reflect on what’s important to you, and then start to organize into themes. From there, give each value a specific name that means something to you and will help inform your decisions and actions throughout the year. The more unique and personal the better. 

Most importantly, make sure that your values:

Resonate with you personally

Support your purpose 

Inspire action

Download our Values Exercise to get started on a new year full of purpose.

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