3 Tips for Making a New Year’s Resolution

Lessons Learned from the Mentorship of Mary Brougher

As many of you know, in 2021 we tragically lost our President, Mary Brougher, to a hiking accident. For those of you who knew and loved her as we did, you know that she always had lessons to share with others about her philosophy for living a joy-filled life.

In 2022, we embraced the theme, “choose joy,” as a way to honor Mary’s life and legacy with our company. Each month we shared a quote and lesson on how to “choose joy” in your own life. As a way to continue to honor Mary, periodically, we will continue to share lessons she shared with us.

As we begin 2023, we are reminded of Mary’s commitment to inner-growth and learning as we set forth our resolutions for the coming year. The tips outlined below are lessons learned from Mary on how to make and keep your resolutions.

1: Choose a theme and write it down.

For years our company has chosen a theme and shared quotes related to that theme each month, as we did last year with “choose joy.” What many may not know is that Mary always chose a theme for herself each year as well. She would consciously make the decision to interweave this theme into every decision she made, both at home and work, and take time to reflect on how the theme could lead to meaningful change in her life, whether at a professional or personal level.

As any good leader, Mary shared her theme with others and her vision for how that theme related to changes she wanted to commit to making in her life. Some of the themes Mary had over the years included, “embrace the and,” “work smarter, not harder,” and “lean in.” Mary came in at the beginning of every year with her theme and a list of what she would change or do to grow in that area.

Taking the time to write out your theme and your thoughts for what you want to accomplish not only helps to you to organize your thoughts and make you feel more committed to carrying out your resolutions but helps you to begin to build new habits that embrace your theme.

2: Take enthusiastic action.

Most people don’t pick resolutions for things that are easy for them or come naturally. Usually, our resolutions are around things that we know we need to do but are maybe things we don’t want to do – like eat healthier, lose weight, start the workday earlier, or be less defensive. Because they are things we struggle with, getting started on forming new habits can be daunting and obstacles can seem insurmountable.

Mary had a lesson for this she would share. When it came to doing things, she didn’t want to do, Mary would flip the negative into a positive. Instead of saying, “I have to do this,” Mary would say, “I get to do this.” Changing how you think about the actions you need to take to honor your resolution from negative to positive helps to build a habit of enthusiasm for the changes you want to make in your life. If you embrace the negative, you are creating another challenge to meet your goals.

3: Reward successes.

Some days you are going to do better than others in keeping your resolutions. In fact, on average, only 9-12% of people are successful in keeping resolutions they make in the new year. This is in part due to people having unrealistic expectations or setting unrealistic goals. After missing so many trips to the gym or forgetting to think positively about their grumpy office mate, they give up. Instead of setting a goal of perfection, set milestones and write down what you will do to reward yourself for reaching each milestone.

Maybe your goal is to get fit in the new year. If so, how many miles do you need to run to earn that new pair of running shoes you have been eyeing up?

Maybe your goal is to move to a space where you clear your email every day. What reward will you give yourself for getting it down to 50%, 25%, 10% unread?

Make and keep commitments to yourself to celebrate your successes. You will inevitably have days where you skip the gym, eat unhealthy food, or get behind due to too many meetings in a day. To get over these roadblocks, you need to keep moving forward and not give up. Having rewards for yourself keeps you motivated when something prevents you from living up to perfection.

So, what are you choosing for your theme this year? Visit us on social media to tell us what you think.

Looking for a theme?

Consider one of these past themes from recent Bender history.

  • Choose Joy
  • Resilience
  • Gratitude