New Year’s Resolutions

Winter Journal

Memories as Motivation…

It’s that time of year: Reflections and resolutions.

Looking bWinter Journalack over 2016 means being honest about how well we accomplished what we promised ourselves we would do; met our goals, kept our commitments, helped others along the way. Soul-searching is not easy. I’ve found a shortcut…

Many of us are engaged in our year-end ritual walk down memory lane. How well did we play our part in the circus, did we grab the golden ring or just miss it? One more ride on the merry-go-round, please. I’ll reach further this time.

Even in our most private conversations with ourselves, memory can play tricks on us. Our fairy godmother shows up, the one who promises that if you just think about it, she’ll wave her magic wand and make it happen: No actual effort, sacrifice, or planning required.

Self-deception can be a comforting thing. It can also keep us in mediocre jobs, stifle our creativity, and kill our courage.

There’s a wonderful tool to help confront such self-defeating fantasies and it’s only a mouse click away: Facebook’s feature “On this day”. The memories may show up directly in your newsfeed, but whether they do or not, you can access them under the “Explore” heading on your wall. One click and you can see every post, comment, and new friend from that date for all the years you’ve been on Facebook.

It’s a digital journal, filled with reflections in the mirror. Laid out in chronological order are not only all the good times but also all your good intentions, begging the question, “Did I follow through, did I hold up my end?” Did the website get upgraded, did the book get written, did the unruly files and contacts get organized, was the new friendship nurtured…

“On this day” has given me more motivation, clarity of insight, and shown me how much more focused I need to be than any other method of self-motivation I’ve ever used. I urge you to give it a try.

Let’s check back in with each other next year to see how it’s going. By then I’ll have a book to sell you…

Back To The Future…

I love the start of a New Year for the nostalgia and introspection it inspires. I have a tradition on New Years Day of reflecting on where I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the experiences that mattered and the lessons learned; the cumulative effect of victories won and wisdom gained along the way that I can take with me moving forward. Each year I seem to journey to a different time and place…

PDV-PBS I used to have a television program on PBS 39/WLVT called “A View from the Valley”, of which I was quite proud. It was a “live to tape” show shot with no script and broadcast a day or two later with no edits. What happened in the studio was what you saw on the screen, just not in real time. I suppose if someone had used a bad word or keeled over in their chair we might have stopped the cameras but it was never necessary. I was the executive producer and on-air host. The program aired for five years and I loved every minute of it.

With more than a little help from my friends like Mike Bruckner of Muhlenberg College and James Harper from Lehigh University and other well-connected PR & communications buddies, I had the opportunity to interview the likes of erudite and charming Gennady Gerasimov, former spokesperson for Mikhail Gorbachev during the end of the Cold War; the magnetic and dynamic former Prime Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres; and Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, who was the only human being I’ve ever encountered that I thought actually had an aura around him…an other-worldly light and energy. Such renowned leaders made for great interviews that to this day hold up when I see them…and when I see me.

Beyond my little walk down memory lane, the point of this exercise is how impactful it can be to look back on ones younger self in action. Not just a one dimensional photo or an often blurred memory, but a walking talking avatar of an earlier version of you. Such a journey can be rejuvenating, or not, but either way I promise it will be enlightening, and isn’t enlightenment what we’re striving for.

Not all of us have taped evidence of our more youthful “I can conquer the world” self to propel us in to a New Year. If you don’t, you can still take that journey in your mind. Call up the image of you that believed in luck and miracles and immortality; turn them loose to dance across the room and in to your dreams with wild abandon. Then tomorrow, tuck them in your pocket and venture forth in to the New Year.

Wishing you the blessings of health, happiness, and love, and the wisdom of the past, in 2013.

New Beginnings

It’s a testament to the human spirit that at the beginning of each New Year, we go through the same exercise, optimistically looking forward to what we believe will be better times ahead while setting countless resolutions that seldom are in effect when the daffodils bloom. But despite years that are not always better and promises to ourselves that we don’t keep, we repeat the cycle each January.

Nowhere will optimism and resolutions be more important than in our state and federal governments where deficits and entitlement programs threaten to sink a very weak recovery.

Republicans, who won what could be considered a mandate in the House must deliver on their promises or risk losing the ground they gained from frustrated members of their own party as well as Independents.

Appearing Sunday, January 2, on Meet the Press, Pennsylvania Senator-elect, Pat Toomey, highlighted his own agenda…reducing corporate and capital gains tax rates, reigning in regulatory over-reach, and “reforming” the health care bill. All good places to start when it comes to keeping those resolutions made to voters.

Let’s just hope when spring rolls around, congress is not sitting on the proverbial political couch, eating bon-bons, having forgotten all about its promises.

Scroll to Top