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Ditch resolutions ahead of January 1


I gave up making resolutions in the early 2000s. They were broad and lofty (yeah, lose weight), all going by the wayside before springtime.
In the past decade, I’ve turned the week between Christmas and New Year’s into a retreat of reflection and recommitment to being my better self.
I call it ‘The Janus Method’ for the ancient Roman god of endings, beginnings, passages and time. He is depicted as having two faces – one towards the past, the other, the future. It’s an approach that has one account for the good, bad and ugly of the past year in order to inform a vision for the next. I swear by it and am happily sharing as a viable alternative to do’s and don’ts.
Dec. 26 – ponder the past: highlight up to five accomplishments in 2021 whether professional or personal, big or small. They only have to matter to you. Successes can be bucketed into broader themes. For me, better health – physical, mental and financial – loomed large as
I shared my walks and runs with a friend via a wrist fitness tracker, used an app to meditate each morning, and retained a financial planner to check on my nest egg.
There are lowlights to confront as well. Whether in or out of your control, they were integral to the year that was. I suffered a sense of abandonment in 2021 with the death of my father, roommates moving out, and a romance interest that ghosted me after 10 months.
Face such challenges with grace and humility, find the narrative and express gratitude for all that has been manifested.
Dec. 27 – pick your planner: I have shelves full of Franklin Covey binders and during COVID, I switched to #ThisIsMyEra datebooks. Whether paper or digital, explore the framework features for your eventual tool of choice. Having day, week and month entries offers a holistic view to the march of time. Treat your planner as a prized possession with which to start and end each day.
Dec. 28 – tackle what’s tough: everyone prolongs procrastination on something. That call to neglected relatives or friends. That junk drawer. For me it’s a laundry/cleaning/whatever else closet, which screams to be organized.

The key is to take on one truly challenging task, which even if it takes the entire day, when completed, will lighten a load off your chest and shoulders.
Dec. 29 – generate goals: what is your life mission? Your aspirations? Map it all out. Illustrate it. The best goals stem from a big step back to assess what means most to each of us. It’s pinpointing priorities against which to invest the finite resource of minutes in a year. You may have already heard of goals that are S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-stamped. Three will do and break them down into even smaller goals.
Dec. 30 – detox and declutter: tackle what gums up your inboxes and workspaces. Think about the automated emails you accumulate from retailers or political campaigns. Be judicious in what you choose to receive. The simple act of unsubscribing clears the psyche. Some are returning to our offices astounded by all the files we forgot about while working from home
This is a good time to question all recurring expenses
Dec. 31 – revel in ritual: New Year’s is the one holiday the entire world celebrates. Traditions are diverse and fun. Eat twelve grapes for good luck as they do in Spain. Wear round colorful images for prosperity as in the Philippines. Whether noisily or lowkey, welcome the new year with the will to make it your best.
I like to include an overnight stay away from home to focus on my retreat. I’ll dine somewhere special and even pamper myself with a massage. It’s been a challenging year and having survived it is cause for celebration.
The Janus Method is flexible. You can adapt it to suit your situation. It can be done alone, together with a significant other or as a family.
It’s all about setting ourselves up for success all year long. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2022!
Jobert Abueva lives in New Hope.

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