Melissa Ganus

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What are your New Year's resolutions?

Last year, Sajeesh Ragavan posted this question at

Now, having made it through the 21st of December, 2012, it seems like exactly the right time to post it again!

I've been inspired by Dr Mike Evans short video about how much more successful New Year's resolutions tend to be compared with making resolutions at other times of year. Just posted a TEDed and would welcome your thoughts and feedback:

Happy New Year!!!

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    Dec 30 2012: I used to make New Years resolutions. But I have learned that a better, smarter and wiser person should not wait to run harder towards the finish line or exhaust their wits and energy at the shot of the gun. It is how they perfom, persevere and stay determined during the race that matters the most. Hence I make resolutions all through the year for various reasons and often inspired by various ideas. Some I achieve, some I try and fail, but only to pick up another one. Perhaps an essential process of continuous self evaluation and progressive development that every person should indulge in.

    Hence I guess if I have a New Years resolution, it is to continue to self analyze and develop all through the year!
    • Jan 1 2013: Wonderful, Maaher!
      Just like you, I used to make New Year's resolutions, but somehow I got disappointed at myself in the process of attempting to achieve them all. I used to fail—a lot. So, for about 2-3 years, I've intentionally avoided setting New Year's Plans—stuff like that. It gave me a wrong inspiration that I got a very good excuse not to do my best to accomplish my personal goals. That is, I've used the realization, which you and I both realized, for supporting my coward excuses.
      For this time for sure, I do not want my excuse of weakness, which destroys my passion toward my youth, to manipulate my mind.
      You know what, I had at least the whole 6 months planned out with 5 big, yet quite specific plans.
      For this time, I will try really hard even if I fail again and again while not giving myself any room for futile excuses(Ironically, I remember reading an article of ineffectiveness of proclaiming one’s own goal that goes like, “I will~”, but somehow I feel necessity to put that kind of scientific or psychological studies aside. I want to. lol)
      And even if I wouldn't accomplish my goals, the fact that I did my best for myself and my loving people would remain.

      However, I agree some TEDsters’ idea that the time when we make resolutions doesn't necessarily need to be January 1st. Anytime, anywhere, we can always start over! We should know that, right?

      Happy New Year to you!
      Partly inspired by
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        Jan 3 2013: Great talk! I've added it to the list above.
  • Jan 10 2013: My list:
    1. Learn to be content with what I have in my life (people, things, everything).
    2. Listen to my heart more often instead of my negative thoughts.
    3. Give more of my time and my soul to everything and everyone around me....Become open
    4. Enjoy the ride of life instead of focusing on the end result.
    5. Make time to reach out with those who are in need.
    These are my goals for now... Wish my luck!
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      Jan 13 2013: I wish you luck! I've been working on a version of your #2 myself for quite a while. I've come to see our negative thinking as instinctive - our ancient ancestors survived by focusing on the problems they were facing or, if none were currently life threatening, anticipating the problems that might be coming up. I think mindfulness and being able to shift from negative thinking to more positive thoughts of gratitude or serenity takes a lot of mental skill and ongoing practice. So I'm practicing a lot!
  • Jan 8 2013: Continue not drinking alcohol.
  • Jan 7 2013: I want to be perfect in what ever I do. Learn, help, laugh as much as I can.

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    Jan 2 2013: I wish to be on the trail again… Just me, my passports, camera and a clutch of tickets…
    Going anywhere and everywhere… Pour les uns qui voyagent, les étoiles sont des guides.
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    Jan 1 2013: I wish to become a person that will be an inspiration to others, in term of their next New years resolutions... I wish that my actions motivate others to do something they never dreamed of doing and at least try to do it. I would be more than happy to help them!
    I would consider my wish fulfilled if just one person told me that I've helped them take the first step.
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      Jan 2 2013: What a goal you got out there!
      But I wonder if ur goal here is to be a role model or to be good for the sake of goodness. Because I know that people would follow those who help and give for nothing in turn, not even fame, rather than following someone who wants to be followed. What do you think? Hope I could speak up my mind clearly!
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        Jan 2 2013: I know what you wanted to say, and I honestly understand why you said that. There isn't a lot of people who would do good deeds just for the sake of the good deed. There are in most cases hidden thoughts behind those good deeds. True altruism is really rare nowadays... I totally agree with you on what you said about people following those who help others without asking for anything in return.
        But, why not be both? Good for the sake of goodness and a role model? Actually, when someone is good just for the sake of goodness then that person will eventually become someones role model. I think that you can't choose to be a role model, you become one when someone notices what you are doing and when they start doing it too. You don't make yourself a role model, others do. :)
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          Jan 3 2013: I believe there ARE lots of people who do good deeds just for the sake of doing good deeds....without expectation....without expecting anything in return.

          I think what Ghina speaks of, is unconditional love....or unconditional giving?

          I agree Dinko, that we can be good role models, AND give for the sake of giving, without expectations. I also agree that we become role models by "being"....walking our talk:>)
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          Jan 3 2013: I've been studying psychology and neurosciences for years, and have come to the conclusion that the conventional definition of altruism, doing something with no expectation of any personal benefit, isn't really humanly possible. We can do things anonymously with no expectation of external rewards, but our internal systems usually get at least a little "high" from doing something we believe helps others (eg, dopamine bump). This really hit home for me a few years ago when someone at a gas station asked directions to the post office. I didn't know but was able to look it up on my nav system. She was grateful - an external acknowledgement, and I was higher than a kite for at least the next 10 minutes. l can get a little feel good bump just tidying up a public restroom a little (I'm surprised that only airplane bathrooms encourage people to clean up as a courtesy to the next person).

          The coolest thing about this perspective? When people can see how helping others feels good, they are more likely to do it more often. I've worked a lot with volunteers and recruiting - I bet most of you here on TED have - that "feel good" piece seems to work for a lot of people.

          On being a good role model, walking the talk & practicing what we preach, I'm among the big group of educators out telling students what they should do without being consistent about doing it myself. I think that's hard for most of us - our planning brain is not always well supported by our doing brain. But acknowledging that gap goes a long way... and, for me, makes it a little easier to forgive myself for not being anywhere close to perfect. ;-)
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          Jan 3 2013: Hi Melissa,
          I know it is possible. I do not question at all whether we may get "high" from doing something to help others. We can, however, experience that "high" without expectation....can we not? Well, in my humble perception and experience...we can:>)
          To say that it is not "humanly possible" is a self imposed limitation.

          I agree that helping others and doing good things can be contagious, and often become a model.

          I don't think "walking our talk" means being "perfect". To me, it means being consistant with saying what I do...doing what I say...."being" and "doing" to the best of my ability. I've been told most of my life that I "walk the talk", and that feels FABULOUS!!! Most of the people who tell me that, KNOW I am FAR FROM PERFECT!!! LOL:>)
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      Jan 3 2013: Your resolution reminds me of this video

      Re: "I think that you can't choose to be a role model, you become one when someone notices what you are doing and when they start doing it too. You don't make yourself a role model, others do. :)"

      I totally agree. It's hard to become a role model on purpose of becoming a role model. Perhaps, the best way to inspire others is to be yourself and follow your own passion. The scene of Forrest Gump running across America "for no particular reason" also comes to mind...
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        Jan 3 2013: Wow. Fantastic talk. Thank you - I've added it to the list above.

        I've also just forwarded it with a note of big gratitude to one of the people who gave me a lollipop moment years ago and probably doesn't remember it.
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        Jan 3 2013: That's an amazing talk! It made me laugh and it helped me come up with a cool idea thank I could introduce to my faculty! Thank you for sharing! :)
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      Jan 3 2013: Dinko,
      You say..."I would consider my wish fulfilled if just one person told me that I've helped them take the first step."

      What if you did not get that you think you would feel less fulfilled? Is the fulfillment from the "doing" or "being", or is the fulfillment from the feedback?
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        Jan 3 2013: If I didn't get that feedback I would be a little bit disappointed, but I wouldn't think of myself as a failure. What's the point of that? Positive feedback from one person doesn't prove my concept, but it gives me some kind of reassurance that there is some potential in the concept. In the end, the most important thing is not to give up. I don't give up that easily. :) No feedback would just motivate me to try harder.
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          Jan 3 2013: Good points:>)
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          Jan 3 2013: One of my favorite quotes: "Teachers affect eternity. They can never know where their influence ends." (paraphrased from Henry Brooks Adams).

          Feedback is such an interesting piece of our lives! So valuable and yet so often difficult to get. When I post something I've been working on to Facebook or the like, I often get discouraged by a lack of response, wondering if I'm wasting my time and effort (mostly volunteered). Or by the critiques without praise. Somehow my wiring/upbringing leaves me craving the social approval of others far more than I'd like.

          I've been a fan of TED for years, sharing videos with students and anyone else I manage to connect with. Last June, I wrote my first TEDed to learn about the new platform.

          I didn't think about it much until about a month ago when I discovered the lesson had become one of the TEDed Best Flips (more than 50k views, 100 flips and almost 200 responses from people I don't know). That was has been very gratifying.

          But having started this, my first TED conversation, and seeing everyone's thoughtful comments and interactions is what is really lighting me up now. Thank you enormously.
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          Jan 3 2013: Being able to connect with people around the world, in this way, is SO my humble opinion:>)

          Feedback in the form of criticism does not seem difficult to get! It benefits all of us to give positive, encouraging, supportive feedback as well....when possible and appropriate. I believe that what we focus on expands, so offering positive feedback helps create a foundation which we can build on to help create a better world?

          When I started commenting on TED 3 years ago, I was accused of being too "sugary" and told that "no one can possibly be that positive"....bla....bla....bla!!! I don't give up easily either Dinko:>)
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        Jan 3 2013: TED is a great community. When I first came in direct contact with TED I didn't get the whole picture, I just loved to listen to TED Talks. But when I've done a little bit of digging and found out what TED stands for (not as an acronym, but as an movement), I instantly fell in love with TED!
        Positive feedback is important and it can help in many ways, just as you said, Colleen, even to help create a better world, but if it stops at just words then it doesn't have a long lasting effect. Putting words into practice is what makes the world better. I guess that people don't have enough of free time to invest in walking the talk... But there must be a way to overcome this obstacle...
        I also believe that everyone should get some negative feedback from time to time, just to keep you realistic about your achievements.
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          Jan 5 2013: I agree Dinko, that feedback which stops with the words probably doesn't have much effect. I believe that with our words, we program our mind, so if we keep repeating the same words over and over again, that becomes our reality.

          With that in mind and heart, the words we use with ourselves and with others are very important and in my perception, can mold our world.

          Time is a human construct, and saying we don't have enough time may be an excuse sometimes? I MAKE time for the things that are important to me in the life adventure:>)

          Feedback is simply feedback...depends on how we use the information that may be the imiportant piece?
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          Jan 8 2013: I just love what Mrs. Steen has said about creating our own realities and molding the world.

          And the negative feedback seems to be a must indeed. Sometimes our egos might fool us.
  • Jan 1 2013: I've always wanted to be wise.
    I thought doing my job cleverly or having good relationships with others would be the very part of being wise.
    Sometimes I would regard giving up what I want to pursue as some sort of wise thing to do.
    Then there was a wake-up call.
    "I am not passionate enough to pursue my dreams."
    As time goes by, I will get older and older. Being an adult isn't cool, but while I'm not only physically young, but also mentally(so to speak) young, I want to know, I want to feel what is like to fall in love with what I'm doing.
    I aspire to be an enthusiast so that there'd be no regrets of wasting my time while I'm young.

    Some might say, making New Year's resolutions stuff would be a cliché, but depending on how we interpret and apply this thing, it still can be a creative way of living our lives and encouraging ourselves, don't you think?

    Good question!
    Happy New Year, btw :)
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      Jan 1 2013: ELIZABETH!!! Nice to see you've been away from TED for awhile?

      You say..."being an adult isn't cool" about being an adult who still faces life with the curiosity and unconditional love of a child? That feels "cool" to me:>)

      You are very wise, introspective, and insightful Liz, and I appreciate you very much:>)

      May the New Year bring peace and love to your heart:>)
      • Jan 1 2013: Hmm, in that case, being an adult would be still beautiful...!

        Long time no see, Colleen!
        Yeah, it's been a while lol
        Btw, did you receive my emails? Ah, what's wrong with our email services, right? lol
        I should make a new account on the other website so that I can make a new email address.

        that's very sweet of you, thanks :)
        I appreciate you too.

        Happy New Year! And I wish you all the best!
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          Jan 1 2013: Liz,
          I did not get any e-mails recently, and I replied to all the ones you sent awhile ago.
          I like your new profile photo:>)
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      Jan 3 2013: Re: "I've always wanted to be wise."

      "Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment." -- Dogen
      "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." -- Shakespeare
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        Jan 3 2013: Good quotes Arkady! I believe we are everything and nothing:>)
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    Dec 30 2012: Hi Melissa,
    I'm not convinced that new years resolutions tend to be more successful....that doesn't seem to be what I'm hearing all the time.

    I have not made new year resolutions for many years, because I learned long ago to start changing something when I recognize something needs changing:>) As soon as I realize something in myself needs changing, I immediately take the steps to begin. It seems that often times, people make a huge list of new year resolutions, and carry through with them for a short time, then abandon the effort. So, although it is good to become aware of those things we would like to change in ourself, it seems sometimes counter productive to have several expectations of ourselves at that time of year. I think/feel it often leads to undermining the effort.

    I agree with Maaher, that a continuous self evaluation and progressive development is more appealing:>)
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      Jan 2 2013: Well spoken. Absolutely agree with you. Just hate the frustration that comes with looking at that long list and seeing that few is being accomplished. I think it just turns goals into numbers and smothering tasks. Would rather to enjoy each challenge and live it and be proud of attaining it rather than forgetting about it fast to move on to the next goal one on the list! As if finishing that list would grant us the ultimate happiness!
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        Jan 3 2013: I wholeheartedly agree Ghina...enjoy the fully present in the it and be proud of attaining it one step at a time:>)

        "As if finishing that list would grant us the ultimate happiness". Well said!

        I believe that it is HOW we do things, which is often as important or more important than what we do. We can go through the motions of finishing the list....AND/OR.....we can be fully engaged in the journey:>)

        Happiness is not just a is a way of travel:>)
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    Dec 28 2012: Why do people wait till January 1st to start doing what they resolve to do? Why January 1st or "Monday" is better than "now"?
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      Dec 28 2012: Great question! Mike Evans, in the video up at suggests that, from his review of the research, the new year has a special symbolic meaning for us and is often a period of reflection for lots of people. For me, it also comes after the decadence of the holidays... I'd love it if you checked out the TEDed and could give your feedback. Are you likely to make New Year's resolutions for next year?
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        Dec 30 2012: That's a good video. And that's exactly what I'm looking forward in the new year - better habits. No big achievements - just clean up some clogs and lubricate some wheels. It's not necessarily associated with January 1 date. But, perhaps, the video is right. The holiday week is a good time to reflect.
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          Dec 30 2012: Melissa and Arkady,
          I agree that the end of the year and the beginning of the next year is a good time to reflect. I also believe that the end of the day....beginning of the next day is a good time to reflect....end of the week....beginning of the next week.....or month.......:>)
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          Jan 3 2013: Colleen, I totally agree - each new period is an opportunity to start again, each end a chance to reflect on what we want to differently the next time. I've been seeing trips that take me to a new context for a few days as opportunities (or challenges!) for trying to start (or maintain) a new habit I've been wanting to develop.
    • Dec 28 2012: I tend to share Arkady's sentiment. Although the influence of an objective time interval might help us with our goals, I feel that working on the core of our motivation (whether that means finding out exactly what motivates us or working on the indirect factors that mitigate our motivation) can be exponentially more powerful.

      This reminds me of the "Lean Startup Methodology." My understanding is that with this process, start up companies commit to a path of continuous improvement that includes frequent tweaks to the mission and goals. Several small tech companies swear by it, and I believe that its power comes from developing the core of a team's motivation to constantly improve. Unrelated external situations (such as the turn of the year) are not the catalysts of this drive.

      I'm not suggesting that we avoid deeper reflection if the new year compels us to take some time for it, but rather that maybe we should strive to become more reflective on a more consistent basis.

      With that said...I am still striving quite a bit :). The new year does have an influence on me, but I have not come up with an objective resolution. I'll post it if I do!
  • Jan 10 2013: I seldom make NY resolutions, but this one feels imperative to me- something to keep me from drowning in the mire of hopelessly negative world news. So here it is, 10 days late- but my resolution is to view something on TED at least once a day, kind of like wearing a life preserver! And I don't think it will be hard to keep this one.
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      Jan 13 2013: What an excellent prescription for counterbalancing the sensationalized negativity in the news!
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    Gavin J

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    Jan 6 2013: My New Year's Resolution is to listen to others more and not always lean on my own understanding. Basically, accept that I can be wrong and make mistakes!
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      Jan 6 2013: A friend told me that one of the most useful lessons he had on being able to see things from different perspectives came from a little video on Sesame Street: "That's about the size of it." I made a little TEDed of it a few weeks ago: Let me know what you think?

      The ability to see things from other perspectives is sooooo powerful! A pity we aren't born with it and that so many people don't even know how to very well. How old do you think you were when this became important to you?
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        Gavin J

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        Jan 6 2013: I am 19 years old now and it really struck me about a year ago when I had just turned 18! It is a really powerful tool and has helped me have better relationships with my friends and family. It would be incredible if everyone practiced this!
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          Jan 6 2013: I didn't get it from school - but wish it could be better taught there. I've heard of history professors who nail it, getting students to imagine themselves in the roles of the people they're studying, making decisions in those different contexts and challenges. May I ask, What do you think triggered it for you last year?
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      Jan 6 2013: Gavin and Melissa,
      Being able to really listen, hear and understand others more is a wonderful practice, and accepting that we can be "wrong" at times facilitates good communications with ourselves and others:>)

      You mention the idea of "getting students to imagine themselves in the roles of the people they're studying, making decisions in those different contexts and challenges", and that is another great step....compassion and empathy. When we can practice this, often times we do not need to use the "wrong" label. We are all different, with many different perspectives, perceptions, thoughts, feelings, ideas and beliefs. Often, we do not know the challenges a person is facing, and if WE can sometimes get beyond the "right" and "wrong" labels, we can understand people on another level? What do you think?
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    Jan 6 2013: I resolve to make mistakes.

    I know I can achieve this and I know that I am learning as a result. Win-win.
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      Jan 6 2013: Love it! I've been hearing more about "productive failure" especially from one of my daughters, a recent TEDx presenter. Made this TEDed lesson for her video:
      I've often tried to remember "If you aren't having fun, at least you're probably learning something!"
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        Jan 6 2013: I LOVE that..."if you aren't having fun, at least you're probably learning something"!

        So, if something is "productive", is it a "failure"?
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          Jan 7 2013: The way I've seen "productive failure" used is to reframe an effort that didn't meet the stated objectives as a learning experience that contributes to the next effort. I tried raising money with an IndieGogo campaign last month, launching before I'd known enough about what it'd take to succeed and quickly recognizing that what I'd put up wasn't ready for broader promotion. Made it much easier to refocus my efforts rather than twisting and turning to try to make a dud work. I spent so many hours learning about it as a result of having tried, though, that I'm far more confident about a second effort, and I'm now taking the time to pull all the necessary pieces together. I'm also further along the learning curve than many others I know and am delighted to be able to advise them - crowd-sourced funding is a fantastic way to get support for cool ideas.

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        Jan 7 2013: Hi again Melissa,

        I understand what you mean by "productive failure",and it is a great way to reframe an effort that may not have worked out as planned. I believe that life is an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve in every moment. So, I don't generally label anything a "failure"....even a "productive failure"...LOL. For me, everything is about learning and moving on to the next step of growth for ourselves and the whole:>)
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      Jan 7 2013: Keep up the good work Linda. I know you will be successful at it. :)
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    Jan 5 2013: To stop smoking. actually this is my fiance's resulotion to stop me from smoking.
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    Jan 4 2013: I heard an interesting theory the other day on new year resolutions; the theory is that just by proclaiming your resolution you get a feeling of accomplishment and that somehow was said to reduce your changes of fulfilling you goals. Sorry I did not hear the full story I was headed out the door at the time.

    But this year instead of proclaiming my resolutions, I will keep them to myself until I do finish accomplishing them.
    With that said in 2012 I did join the TED community, made noteworthy improvements to my old 1900 farm house and hard/landscaping, and did start and made major progress of finding out about my ancestry. You know looking back at my accomplishment of last year I do feel more resolved to do more this year, than I think I would have felt by just proclaiming my goals for this year.

    P.S. Data mining for ancestry is great mental exercise, for me personally finding no slave owners, union army war veterans, US revolutionary war US army veterans and Viking DNA make having a grandfather that was married 7 times less of a factor.

    Happy New Year everyone!
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    Jan 2 2013: I don't know if these plans work for me. I always seem to start my year with some goals, but end up accomplishing other goals. Things change with time, you know?

    But I still set goals and write them down. Just to be on the safe side it seems? :P

    My ultimate goal for the next year is to become a stronger person. Someone with love, happiness, fearlessness and determination. Planning to accomplish that by pouring my heart into my work and education and just do the best work one can do. Want to add more things to my CV as well.
  • Jan 1 2013: Mine is to have no regrets. Although that's very vague and can pertain to anything, I believe the phrase "No Regrets" can help your other New Year's resolutions (If you have any) or any basic goals. By telling yourself to not make any decisions you might regret, might help you make a better decision. Like I said before, this can be seen very vaguely. For example, you're with friends having fun at some party, like let's say its Karaoke night and you have a decision to sing or not. You can either say to yourself "I don't want to go up and sing and regret embarrassing myself" or you can say "I don't want to regret NOT going up and have fun." Obviously I prefer the second choice. Use the guilt of regret as a tool to help encourage you to do something (positive of course). But honestly, this was my "goal' and "New Year's resolution" since forever but I haven't done a good job following it. So now, I'm filled with regret, regretting to not have any regrets such as this. To everyone else who experiences the same problem, hopefully we'll all do a better job this year! Happy New Year!
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      Jan 3 2013: An admirable and challenging goal! I went looking for the quote you reminded me of and found a whole bunch at - some quite good. The one I was thinking of, to echo your sentiment re: jumping in looks a lot like Lucille Ball's: "I'd rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven't." I wish you a very engaging regret-free (or regret-lite) New Year!
  • Jan 1 2013: My central goal is to try to be a securely attached person, but I also think these 5 are really really good:

    1. Be more mindful
    2. Exercise for a healthy mind
    3. Sleep the right amount for you (me!)
    4. Differentiate from your past (most important for me)
    5. Challenge your inner critic

    From my fav. self help site psychalive, an offshoot of the Glendon Association
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      Jan 2 2013: Do you think it is possible to live completely mindful?
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        Jan 3 2013: That's an awesome question! I've become a lot more mindful over the years, especially now that I teach it so often. In my approach, it's as simple as asking myself a question like: "why am I doing this in this way?" Works great often - gives me lots of opportunities to improve on how I do what I do.

        Being mindful 100% of the time I think is an impressive goal. For myself, I've been focusing especially on being more mindful in the times when I think it matters most, like when my emotions are starting to make rational thinking difficult, and are making the risks of poor decision making higher. Asking myself questions then seems to have dramatically improved the quality of my interactions with others - I don't often say things I regret anymore. Crucial Conversations, by Patterson et al, has some wonderful perspective and techniques for this.

        A few years ago, I worked with a wonderful man who'd founded a nonprofit years ago with a somewhat ambiguous mission. I asked him what impact he most wanted the work to have and he answered that he wanted everyone to be thinking critically all the time. I don't think it's possible to do that, to be questioning everything all the time. So much of how we get through our days is based on the consistency of our environment - the aspects of life we can comfortably expect to function as expected most of the time. One of the biggest puzzles I've been working on is how we can trigger mindfulness at the important times. For the emotional stuff, I teach my students to pay more attention to the signs that their emotions are starting to flood - elevated heart rate, flushed skin, tightening stomach... If they can notice when that starts happening and understand that their fight/flight responses are kicking in, they have more of a chance to turn on their mindfulness before doing an unmindful autopilot reaction.

        What are your thoughts or methods?
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          Jan 8 2013: I am a very emotionally driven person myself and I could absolutely use your advice.

          It is good to be on the safe side and to be in control of what we say or do. But a question I am interested in is, do we really know what to say or do to control it? Or we think that we know whats best and we act upon it?

          I am just wondering if mindfulness should be used for a better self control. What do you think?
  • Dec 27 2012: to achieve my goals, this is my new year resolutions :-)
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      Dec 27 2012: Thanks for your reply! Do your goals include changing any habits to make it easier to reach your goals? How do you go from your big intentions to specific actions?
      • Dec 28 2012: Hi Melissa,

        I thought you didn't just mentioned Derek Sivers' Talk. I don't have much habits that need to be changed or improved. my goals are unlimited as I set them every day because everyday we encounter ourselves with new challanges and overcome these challanges are (and can be) goals too.

        To answer your last question, I would simply say, I ask myself several questions (examening my goal) and if the majority of the answers are with YES, then I create paths to approuch my goal.

        This kind of approuch is used by Roman Emperors... they built roads that led to conquer the world.
        They didn-t build castles and stayed inside. They explored, they reached out to grap their goal,

        Inspiration, Flexibility are the keys to achievement.
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          Jan 3 2013: "Inspiration, Flexibility are the keys to achievement."
          Hear hear!
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    Jan 10 2013: I intend to facilitate 100,000 new sign-ups on Safe Worlds TV. Sounds like a big number but when this thing kicks off in early February there will be a stampede to get in first - of course I am already in so it's my job to tell everyone else. Find out why at
  • Jan 8 2013: To stop chewing my finger nails.
  • Jan 8 2013: Save money, pay off debt, and live in financial freedom ... you know, like when we were teenagers... when we had to save for what we wanted; before the rise of credit card companies, and our meager paychecks were ALL ours to spend.
  • Jan 7 2013: Thanks for your sharing. my new year's resolution is to improve my comprehensive skills. magnesium sulphate from Rech Chemical Co.Ltd
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    Jan 7 2013: Buy a new car (Honda Accord 2013, Ex-l) and do some traveling with my wife on the east coast at least once a month while we search for a place to build a small home, the last one we will build.
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    Jan 7 2013: To save the planet, and solve the worlds energy problem with sub $20 per MWh energy. Top that one ;)
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    Jan 6 2013: Share my experiences with as many people as possible.
  • Jan 6 2013: To create and tell stories.
  • Jan 6 2013: America and the World: Here is Your Most Important New Year Resolution Ever.

    The Time Has Come to Open and Become Your Third Eye.

    Living Fully Aware as the Pure Self is the Key to an Emotionally Healthy Life and Pure Happiness.

    Putting the emotional personality under the microscope from a third person's point of view is a fundamental technique of self improvement through self analysis. One must learn to identify with the so called third person as the person's own pure self. After all this assumed third person is none other than your very own self.

    Thus the third person no longer is just an imaginary made up person viewing the emotionally challenged personality; it is the very real person himself who is doing the self analysis. Learn to identify with your true self and then with your true self observe your true self observing your true self. Observe and figure out why your true self is not free. Why you have fear, sleeplessness, anger, jealousy, greed etc. In short figure out what kind of emotionally challenged personality/self you have and what are the reasons stopping you from having an emotionally healthy self.

    It is the mind that is better adjusted to the current reality and is prepared say to give a speech; it is the brain that projects the childhood era nervousness. Facing the audience the mind is worried about embarrassing ones self by getting nervous, while the brain is generating the nervousness. The mind has access to the current reality through the five senses. It is the brain that is addicted to your frozen past self image. This past self image is generated by the emotionally challenged brain that is caused by the emotional baggage in the brain.

    The emotional baggage is the past emotional hurts and pains that are buried memory 'slaps' to the pure self. These slaps keep occurring again and again in the unconscious brain like a broken record. Once these unconscious hurts are brought to the surface they become conscious and so
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    Jan 4 2013: To not make resolutions :-) and.... listening to the wonderful Talks you have listed, I feel better now!! Thank you :-)
  • Dec 30 2012: I'm going to stop making resolutions.
    Darn it! I've already broken this year's and it hasn't even started yet :)
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      Dec 30 2012: Dear Dan....your comment makes me smile:>)
  • Dec 28 2012: eat less salt. spend more time writing fiction. it will be a gradual process with successes and failures. aim for the long term improvement, don't focus on the short term failures.
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      Jan 3 2013: I love the concept of reframing failures as learning experiences or "productive failures." I love Thomas Edison's quote from the period when he was trying to invent the lightbulb: “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
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    Dec 27 2012: Melissa, as I notice you linked the Derek Sivers' talk, which independently came to mind to me immediately on reading your question, what do you think? Are we more likely to progress in accomplishing our goals if we announce them? It does create an extrinsic component but also, as Sivers argues, may reward us too soon and reduce effort to make progress.
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      Dec 28 2012: (Looks like my first reply didn't post as I'd hoped so let me try again - I'm still new here!)
      First, thanks for the thoughtful reply. 4 weeks ago I publicly committed on IndieGogo to weekly outputs (on TEDed & WikiHow). Failing to follow through would burn my credibility, so I'm finding it much more motivating than just writing notes to myself about wanting to get the weekly outputs done. But the research Sivers talks about intrigues me: I'm trying to figure out how to test his recommendations - perhaps picking two similar goals then only looking for social approval on one? How do you approach such things?
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        Dec 31 2012: I am very independent-minded, Melissa, and do not broadcast my goals and plans.
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          Jan 1 2013: My apologies for too personal a question! Happy New Year!!
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        Jan 1 2013: No problem at all, Melissa, with asking.
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    Dec 27 2012: I do make resolutions but end up not following even a single one.
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      Dec 27 2012: Frustrating, right? Beyond the step where your "thinking brain" makes the resolutions, what can you do to make it easier for your "doing brain" to follow through? In the TEDed lesson, we've got some tricks that can help. It's easier to succeed when big goals are broken down into more bite sized chunks, choice points where you can plan to make a different choice than usual. What resolutions matter to you most for 2013?
  • Jan 19 2013: Mark I love your audacious goal. I'm going to have a crack at doing 10,000 new downloads on Job hacker. It's going pretty well but that would still be a BIG jump. Anyone want to help please check out It's a new candid and slightly naughty way of hacking your career. It's already helped a heap of people so might be a good way to start the new year.
  • Jan 9 2013: For these last few years I have not implemented any resolutions until the 1st of Feb. I know that it is better for me to take things more slowly, consolidate the new ideas. It is also the begginning of the Celtic festival of Imbolc, the coming of the light. A very good time to start something new. Having said this my resolutions are small one's and comprise in the main of disipline in small matters such as knowing that if I prepare my lunch I wil eat better. Knowing that if I hold my tounge when Great Aunty starts issuing orders, everyone will feel better. Nothing spectacular here.
  • Jan 5 2013: 토플 900점대
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    Jan 3 2013: Happy New Year! Just finished my new exercise routine (yay for Kinect & the privacy of our own home!). And delighted to see all the great comments that have been posted here. My follow up question: what tricks do you use to make it easier to change your habits?

    For example, my self discipline is highest in the AM, so I'm psyched about getting up and into the living room for a workout first thing, before the busyness of the day makes working out a lower priority. My partner is starting to workout, too, but has a different routine for his first few minutes in the AM, so we've agreed that I'll do my workout then leave the Xbox/Kinect on for him. That way I don't need to nag - it's up to him whether he works out or just turns it off.

    Developing better flossing habits is another example of how I'm tricking myself to follow through on my intentions, riffing on the psychology concepts of priming (ref Nudge by Thaler & Sunstein). By leaving the floss out on the bathroom counter, I've got a better visual prime than if I keep it in the cabinet. The main objective I have with the primes is to get myself to be more mindful when those decision points come up - I see the floss and I ask myself the question: "so, are you gonna floss today?" The answer isn't a consistent "yes!" yet, so I keep asking. Just being mindful at "choice points" has been making it a lot easier to divert from my autopilot habits more regularly. And I know 100% is hard to maintain, so I try to start each day with intentions to try again, whether I succeeded or not the day before.

    This "learning new habits" is the kind of stuff I love to teach, so any of your favorite examples could be great for sharing with my students. Thanks!
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      Jan 4 2013: I really like your mindful way of convincing yourself to do things. You know, last year was the first year I could accomplish so many things I am satisfied with. It happens to be the same year I started following a different logic.

      I read about Carl Rogers theory of client/person-centered therapy (1951), which has evolved to become a branch of psychology, positive psychology. As you know, this theory states that we are born with an intrinsic self actualizing ability. It believes in the good nature of humans. The main aim of our actions is to actualize ourselves.

      When you observe our *bad* habits you don't see evilness or the lust to destroy ourselves. They start as acts to lower our anxiety, lessen the stress, and make life a bit easier for us. We start them without thinking, emerging from the hopelessness and frustration. Hoping they would work. Some work momentarily, but as soon as we get back to our former state, our poor minds/ consciousnesses/ selves remember the last thing that has worked and do it again and again and again. I don't even know if this is scientifically valid, but I know that this has helped me make peace with myself. I have no bad habits. I only have good habits done wrongly.

      Same thing apply to not sticking to the good habits. That needs energy, and we are doing just fine without this extra energy. Maybe that's what laziness is about. So once again, I could make peace with my laziness lol

      Started to show myself that there is nothing wrong with wanting to do nothing, and with lowering my anxiety. And that its not a matter of what I SHOULD or SHOULDN'T do. I am here to do the best for myself, because I love myself.

      So it became a matter of what I WANT to do because I'd LOVE to.

      And after exerting ANY amount of work, I get myself a cookie lol or go to the beach for a walk or do anything I want to do. Never went hard on myself. I am not living to punish myself. if I don't do it, I don't, but if i do, I will just make myself happier!
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    Dec 28 2012: My biggest resolution this year? Closing the gap between what I want to do and what I'm actually doing, with an emphasis on daily habits for Getting Things Done. The biggest hurdle is making it a daily habit to review & update my inbox & to do lists. Defying Sivers advice, Im gonna publicly commit: starting Jan 1, 2013, I will block 15-30 minutes to review & revise my inbox/to do list each morning before I start my work. By 9am. On weekdays, at least.