Here’s a new take on New Year’s resolutions: The Orange County Register

It’s New Year’s Day! A day when many of us are thinking about a New Year’s resolution. “Which one will I choose this year?”

A new approach to this question is based on the work of Peter Drucker, considered the best known and most influential thinker on management. His work has been studied for over 30 years by Bruce Rosenstein, author of the PBS Next Avenue article “5 New Year’s Resolutions for Older Adults” (December 26, 2016) and author of “Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way” ( McGraw-Hill, 2013).

Rosenstein suggests several suggestions on selecting a resolution for us future life folks based on Drucker’s work.

Embrace uncertainty, don’t avoid it. To deal with this uncertainty, be mindful and learn with intention by joining a book club and observing trends in business, technology, education, culture and work. Be informed rather than surprised. Find some role models who handle the uncertainty well that might be within families or among friends, writes Rosenstein.

Find your opportunities in changing conditions. Change is natural, so celebrate it. Drucker is quoted as saying, “The most effective way to successfully manage change is to create it.” He sees change as an opportunity rather than a threat. Rosenstein suggests learning by reading unfamiliar newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites, and having conversations with people from different groups.

Stop and reflect on your second act. The second act refers to what you might do in the future. Drucker is said to have taken the time to engage in deep introspection. He’s been thinking about the past year and comparing that to his expectations of him and then how to move forward. Rosenstein suggests writing down your thoughts through journaling and taking time for self-reflection through practicing mindfulness.

Fix, remove and improve. This is based on something Drucker called systematic abandonment where you give up relationships, jobs and other activities that are no longer fulfilling or not worth it to you, then move forward to improve. Next, think about what you can do without and realize the new weather you just created.

Make your friend risk it. Drucker considers it risky to do nothing and let things happen passively. That risk can involve something quite different, like taking a coding course, getting a degree, becoming an entrepreneur, or learning new technologies. The message is: “don’t be passive and take a risk”.

We may ask why it’s important to have New Year’s resolutions in later life. Maybe it’s because we don’t know how many more opportunities we’ll have in our stage of life to create change — big or small — that benefits us personally, our families, our friends, and even our communities and societies.

If you decide on a resolution, consider Drucker’s approach.

Here are some New Year’s resolutions for 2023 from men and women in their 60s, 70s and 80s ranging from homework to attitudes.

“I plan to be tidier and not leave piles around the house. My New Year’s resolution lasts about a week.

“I want to get rid of my big German antique furniture and also organize my house. Getting rid of things is a never ending task for me.

“I don’t want to get so flustered by what’s going on around me with this tide of negativity.”

“I gave up on New Year’s resolutions because they last about three days or a week. They are easy to forget and then you realize you have sinned.”

“I want to avoid serious illness by keeping fit through swimming, ballet and yoga and going to school once a week.”

“I want to remember the things from last year that I wasn’t happy with and then make some corrections.”

“I always want to be nice to others.”

“I want to be more aware of what I’m doing by setting a goal to set goals in IT, volunteering, and my family history project.”

“I want to see my desk. I have folders, paper, and meeting notes that I don’t need since I just left a non-profit as a board member. I have to get rid of these things.

“I want to make the most of every day, carpe diem… even if I have to go further.”

About half of New Year’s resolutions fail. Here are some tips on how to store them according to Jan Miller in the New York Times (December 31, 2013). Set a goal that matters and is achievable. Be specific and measure your progress, and have a realistic timeline for gradual progress. I will add one more. If you slip, just consider it part of the trip and move on.

Happy New Year dear readers. Wishing you a safe 2023 with health, joy and kindness.

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