Resolution or Review?

Many of us are familiar with the tradition of a “New Year’s Resolution.” A quick Google search indicates that more than 90% of resolutions in the U.S. are fitness or weight loss related, and less than 10% last more than 90 days (most in fact, last a month or less).

A close friend shared the notion of an annual review, rather than a resolution, and I’m intrigued by the idea. The review he shared comes from Shane Parish at the Farnum Street blog and encourages us to ask ourselves some questions as a guide to assessing aspects of our lives from the last year and using the assessment to make conscious decisions about things we want to add or reinforce in our daily lives, and things we should consider eliminating (or at least reducing). Some of Shane’s questions help us look at our day(s) from a different angle (If a film crew followed you all day, what would you want the crew to film? What would you definitely not want them to document?) The questions are thought-provoking and introspective.

Tim Ferriss, the author/owner/host of one of the most popular podcasts available, suggests conducting a review by making two columns: Positive and Negative, and then looking through your calendar (by week) and noting the people, activities, and events or commitments triggering peak positive or negative emotions, placing those items in its respective column in order to clarify the things we want more or less of in the New Year. Tim suggests reviewing the Positive column, identifying the 20% of things that brought the most joy or satisfaction, and planning more of those items into your annual calendar right now. Similarly, walling off or refusing the 20% most negative. More from Tim’s blog on Annual Reviews here: Tim Ferriss’ Past Year Review.  

So much of today’s marketing and media communications bombard us with messages of “the new (thing, service, product or practice)” that if we only add, will solve all our problems. Of course, as soon as we pay for and add that new item, we’re reminded of its looming obsolescence and how “version next” is really the answer…  However, the reviews proposed by Parrish and Ferris encourage us not to “add new,” but rather reinforce the goodness we already have, and consciously minimize the negatives.

When I think about my own review of 2022, I clearly want (and am actively planning) more time with family, more time leading, teaching, and mentoring student-athletes, and more personal time outdoors (I’m amazed by the energy and renewal I derive from skiing, hiking, and time in the sunshine!). I’m also looking for ways to minimize time inside behind my desk, time spent worrying about things outside my control, or contending with others whose negativity saps my energy.

What’s in your review for 2022, and what are your plans for ’23?

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time! 

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