Realistically, there is no compelling reason to make resolutions or be only introspective at the beginning of the year.

On the one hand, the individual who never makes resolutions or never examines themselves risks being mired in a rut, continuing habits or activities that are at best not self-serving and, at worst, self-destructive.

On the other hand, while there is some risk-taking in being willing to look at oneself. It takes a certain amount of confidence. This implies asking oneself, “is there anything that I can or should be doing differently in life”?


This helps to reinforce who you really are as an individual.

Why not be introspective any time of the year, re-evaluating one’s behavior, goals or priorities? This has the potential to promote self-actualization, re-affirming who you really are.

If an individual is determined to examine one’s life and possibly make changes, the key is to set realistic and attainable goals. The individual who, for example, has gained weight and desires to lose it should not
only set realistic goals of weight loss but a strategy of how to accomplish that goal. For example, strategies might include researching various foods and diets or consulting with a dietician.

It is not only important to set realistic goals, but additionally, not to beat yourself up if these goals are not immediately accomplished.

Traditionally, when making resolutions, people focus on diet, exercise, or spending and saving goals.

Some individuals might focus on simplifying their lives by having less clutter or perhaps fewer projects or activities.

One can have other lifestyle goals such as having more social contacts, perhaps reaching out more to both family and friends. Or, individuals might explore being more creative, volunteering, or traveling more.

If one’s goal is to change one or more habits, telling family and friends about your goals can reinforce your commitment. Don’t beat yourself up if you encounter hills and valleys in your efforts. Persistence, as well
as habit repetition, is the key to success. It is what happens in the long run that counts.

I hope that this article has been thought-provoking. Your comments or reactions are welcomed.

Dan Rich is an independent opinion columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email him at