I’m not a fan of the New Year’s Resolution ritual.  I find it unsavory practice to form intentions on cue as if it were as unquestionable a necessity as drinking water.  I admit I have an exaggerated distaste for a potentially positive practice.  But my experience with resolutions repeatedly demonstrates a set-up for failure.  Thus, I avoid dispapointment by shunning the practice.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in goal setting and personal reflection.  I just dont like feeling pressured by it at the start of a new year.  I much prefer the idea of forming a manifesto – a declaration of beliefs and motives.  Manifestos are juicy.  Simple, yet decadent.  Full of guts.  A manifesto is timeless.  It travels with you, co-existing with a change in goals.  Because manifestos reflect the core of a person, they tend not to waver.

Manifestos can act as a guidepost.  True North.  They remind you of who you are and what you believe.  When you step off track, as we all do, a manifesto can set you straight.  If developed thoughtfully, a manifesto helps you answer the elusive question ‘Who am I?’ independent of ‘What do I do?’ or ‘What do I want?’ 

Knowing who you are is a basic building block of self-esteem.  We cannot assess our own value, our self-worth, if we don’t know what makes us, us.  Can a jeweler appraise a diamond’s value without looking at it under a scope?

Let the making of your manifesto be a work in progress.  Let it evolve.  Form a draft and sit with it a while.  Take time to decide if it fits.  Whittle it down until it is a bare-bones representation of your uncompromising truth.  When the New Year rolls around, you won’t need new resolutions.  You’ll only need to recommit to your manifesto and the motivation for growth will follow.

Here are some questions to help you and your tween understand what makes you tick:

  • What’s your idea about how the world works?
  • What beliefs keep resurfacing?
  • What do you hear yourself repeating in conversation?
  • What do you wish you could change?
  • What belief or action do you aspire to?
  • Who do you emulate and what is their core belief?
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