Welcome to a New Year of Being!

A New Year of Being

As one year comes to a close and a new year begins, much of our focus is on doing. What did I do last year? Did I accomplish my goals? Am I where I thought I would be in my job, my relationships, my health, my life? Looking forward to the new year there is a great deal of focus on what we want to do and accomplish. Whether it is reading a book a week, losing 10 pounds, taking a big trip, or starting a new job, we plan goals and resolutions around doing. All of the focus on doing makes it easy to believe that we are defined by the things we do, and we so easily forget that who you are is more important than what you do.

Who you are is more important than what you do.

It’s a simple concept really, but one that is so easily overlooked in the busyness of our lives and the emphasis we’ve put on doing. We write daily to-do lists. We tell our friends and family about all the things we’ve done. We make introductions based on what someone does for work. It’s no wonder that we often feel like we are defined by what we do.

Remembering that we are more than what we do is a key part of looking at ourselves optimistically and living optimistically. In recognizing that we are multi-faceted, diverse beings that can not be defined simply by one aspect of how we spend our time, or by items we’ve checked off a to-do list, we are able to see ourselves as whole beings. After all, we are human beings, not human doings.

“Happiness is not about doing, it’s about being.” – Richard Branson

The start of the new year is a great time to start shifting from doing to being, and experiencing the benefits of being more optimistic as it relates to yourself. This month we’ll be focusing on tips that help transition from doing to being, starting with how to reframe your new year’s resolutions.

New Year’s Resolutions on Being  

Throughout the year I am setting goals and intentions (just other words for resolutions really) and until a few years ago, I would frequently set myself up for failure because my resolutions were all about tactics and never about the why. In other words, I was focused on doing instead of on being. When we set goals that are based on doing, we more easily set ourselves up for discouragement when things don’t go to plan.

For example, if I set a goal to go to the gym every day, what happens when I have the flu and a trip to the gym is impossible? Even though I know that it’s ok to skip a day for the flu, there is a sense of discouragement for not following through on the resolution. Instead, if I step back and identify why I want to go to the gym every day, I can set a goal or resolution that is based on that why, based on who I want to be, and then provide flexibility and accommodation in how that is accomplished. In the gym example, my reasoning for wanting to go to the gym every day is to be healthier, stronger, and more energized. With the broader goal and intention in mind, if a time comes when I have the flu or can’t make it to the gym because of some other reason, I’m able to stop and ask myself: what choice can I make right now that moves me towards being healthier, stronger, and more energized. The result is a sense of empowerment and encouragement in making a choice that moves me towards my goal, and has the domino effect of making more choices like that on a regular basis. Positive reinforcement really does wonders!

What new year’s resolutions have you set that are based on doing, that you can shift to being?

I want to read 1 book each week -> I want to be inspired and educated on a regular basis

I want to save $___ for a rainy day fund -> I want to be more secure in my finances and prepared for the unexpected

I want to lose 10 pounds -> I want to be confident and comfortable in my own body

I want to take an amazing 2 week vacation -> I want to be inspired and curious to explore new places and cultures and I want to be rested and recharged


Once you have your new year’s resolutions around how you want to be, you can still identify the tactics (i.e. the doings) that may help you accomplish the being… but the focus is now on being instead of doing, and as a result you’ll feel much more optimistic about who you are being and who you are becoming.

As with most areas of growth in our lives, this shift in goal setting is not a one time thing… to-do lists will still exist, we’ll still talk a lot about what we do… but if you start taking steps to embracing your being, over time you will be defining yourself and your life by who you are. 

What are your goals and intentions for the new year? We’d love to know!