No New Year’s Resolutions in 2020

January. The time to set a resolution for better living and better outcomes.  Have you set one or two or ten? 

Resolving to be better is always a good thing but resolve rarely accomplishes.  As Paul David Tripp says in New Morning Mercies for the December 31 devotional: 

…the reality is that few smokers have actually quit because of a single moment of resolve. Few obese people have become slim and healthy because of one dramatic moment of commitment. Few people who were deeply in debt have changed their financial lifestyle because they resolved to do so as the old year gave way to the new. And few marriages have been changed by means of one dramatic resolution.

Tripp goes on to say that change is important, but our method for trying to will that change is wrong.  We often think grandiose in our change mindset instead of realizing that change happens through growth (in grace as Tripp would say) in the day to day.  Growth that happens through the mundane priorities of and habits exhibited on a regular Tuesday or a typical Thursday. 

So in 2020, focusing on a mindset of growth can lead us down a path to success.  Where when we look up in July or October and realize a process has taken place that has changed us because we practiced change instead of resolving to it.  

According to the NeuroLeadership Institute in the Growth Mindset Culture publication in 2018, growth mindset is “the idea that skills and abilities can be improved, and the development of skills and abilities is the goal of the work you do.”

In a Growth Mindset Case Study Collection also by the NeuroLeadership Institute, one company featured described their focus on growth mindset as, “perseverance in times of change, being curious and asking lots of questions, and achieving more tomorrow than they did today.”  Love this. 

Three factors contributing to great growth occur are: 

    1. Priorities
    2. Habits
    3. Systems

For example, if you are “resolving” to be a better leader in 2020, ask yourself what priorities, habits, and systems can actually help you be one with “the development of skills and abilities” being the goal. 

  1. Priorities: My priority is to help other people grow through my leadership in 2020. 
  2. Habits:  In order to be a better leader in 2020, I will: 1) Hold regular (weekly, biweekly or monthly) one-on-one meetings with each of my direct reports and 2) Provide one stretch assignment per quarter to each of my direct reports.
  3. Systems:  I will use our project management (or some other system) to log and follow-up regularly on action plans created in the one-on-one meetings and for the stretch assignments.  I will utilize our performance management/appraisal system (or create one) to provide feedback and rewards for each of my direct reports based on their performance.

“The little moments of life are profoundly important precisely because they are little moments that we live in that form us,” as Tripp goes on to say for his December 31 thoughts.  Priorities, habits, and systems are lived out in the day to day, day in and day out. 

What priorities, habits, and systems can you set today that will form you and grow you in the day-to-day? 

Happy 2020!


Author’s Note:  The little moments are truly what shape us.  I had a “little moment” this past weekend where I ran into an old high school friend.  It did our souls good to see each other, however so briefly, and we exchanged phone numbers to be able to get together again soon.   She texted me a screenshot of the devotional referenced in this post this morning.  I had been wrestling with thoughts for a New Year’s post. The idea of growth mindset taking shape and her text and the thoughts in the devotional set me to immediately write.

I could have gone a different way on my run on Saturday morning and not seen her, she could have not taken the time to send me this devotional, and we both have the choice to either follow-through or neglect our commitment to get together again “soon.”   The point is, the priorities, habits, and systems we create lead us to experience moments of growth and honestly holiness, not the other way around, and it so simple to neglect them in the hustle of life.  

It is so easy to reschedule a one-on-one meeting with a direct report because something else “came up” and then never actually reschedule it.  It’s so easy to not log that follow-up item in your system because you’re too busy or to not provide quality feedback because it is uncomfortable. But to neglect these things in the day-to-day is to neglect growth in you and in others. 

I’m so thankful for my friend taking the time to help me grow in the day-to-day by sending me the devotional screenshot.  I can live in that example by making sure I schedule a time to get together with her by the end of January, or by sending her the next things that come my way that make me think of her. 


Like this post? You may also like:

Insights for Learning

Three Tips for Leading Well in 2020

A New Take on Time Management 


Mary Ila Ward

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