Yesterday I overheard a conversation in a cafe between two people who were talking excitedly about their New Year’s resolutions, and I couldn’t believe my ears. Are people still making resolutions? Can’t be.

To be fair, I used to make them. Then many years ago it hit me — they’re stupid. Like, super-really-bad-stupid.

A quick taste of some of my more stupid resolutions (Age range: 18–30):

  1. Lose 15 pounds
  2. Run 5 miles everyday.
  3. Get to work an hour earlier.
  4. Read one fiction and one nonfiction book a month.
  5. Go to grad school.
  6. Get out of debt
  7. No more sunbathing.
  8. Stop saying the F word
  9. Quit my job, start a business
  10. Learn Italian

I cringe remembering these. It’s not that some of them aren’t worthy goals, they are. I cringe at the motivation behind setting them.

The problem with the ones I made, and most other resolutions, is they come from a superficial place that tells us we need to “fix” something in order to feel OK about our lives. There’s a fraudulence about them that screams — “You’re doing this for the wrong reasons!”

Our lives don’t change overnight by setting goals loosely based on short-lived motivation. They change overtime, starting at the exact moment we make the decision to change, based upon our core values.

It was my value to travel that encouraged me to set the intention to learn Italian. The truth was, I was hadn’t traveled at all at the time I made that resolution. What I really needed at that time was to look myself in the mirror and say, “Whatever you need to do to get out there and see the world, even if it’s by yourself, go and do it”.

Eventually, I did…and I didn’t need to learn Italian to do it. Besides, pretty much all the Italian I need to know I learned from The Sopranos (see #8).


There have been many changes in my life this year, and It wasn’t because of anything I set in motion at midnight New Year’s Eve. It was because I finally started paying attention to what I valued.

It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.

— Roy E. Disney

I took stock of my life, examined my values, and asked myself better questions:

Where do I want to be in 5 years? 
Who do I want to be sharing life with? 
What is it I want to have left behind? 
What would make me proud to accomplish?

From there I made some decisions..and from those decisions I changed some habits…and those habits changed my reality…and voila!

(Voilaá [voi·lá]= Going for it, living with purpose but, nevertheless, a work-in-progress)

Throw out your resolution list and write out your VALUES instead.

Place your values at the top of any list you create. By the time the next Jan. 1st rolls around you’ll be swimming in the fountain of youth, without a money care in the world, and too chilled out to give a rip about another resolution.

Sincerely, Jennie

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