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Leigh Dance has written, published and spoken extensively on many aspects of global legal services, at major global conferences and in business and legal industry publications worldwide, including The Wall Street Journal.  Click here for our extensive archive of past (we believe still insightful!) published articles.

Dance is author of Bright Ideas:  Insights from Legal Luminaries Worldwide, published by Mill City Press and available on Amazon.  Bright Ideas is a compilation of 23 original essays by leaders and influencers around the world.

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New Year's resolutions around the world

Why do we resolve, anyway?  Where did New Year’s resolutions originate?   I dug around to come up with an inspiring quote about New Year’s resolutions, and got sidetracked. First, what does it mean “to resolve”?  Merriam-Webster online includes in its definitions:

  • “to deal with successfully : clear up
  • to find an answer to
  • to make clear or understandable
  • to find a mathematical solution of
  • to reach a firm decision about <resolve to get more sleep>”

Have you reached a firm decision about your resolutions for 2013?

An article by Gordon and Marcia Mercer in The Raleigh Telegram on Dec. 28th says “The first recorded New Year’s resolutions came from the Babylonians, around 4000 years ago… the Babylonian New Year began in March, which was the beginning of farming season. Many of the resolutions involved returning borrowed farm equipment or planning for the new agricultural year.  The Romans, after evaluating the accomplishments of the previous year, began the New Year by setting higher goals for the coming New Year.  The Chinese have an ancient tradition of beginning the New Year with a thorough housecleaning.”

I’m not so fond of the Chinese one.

The Mercers go on to say that “A resolution is usually not something we want to do, but is something we very much wish we had already done. How do we succeed?  Research has found that putting goals in writing and clearly stating what we want to achieve is important for success. Developing small attainable steps in working towards the larger goal and rewarding oneself at each completion increases our chances of success.”

This sounds self evident, and it’s a very good reminder.  Do you remember what your 2012 resolution was?

I plan to write down my resolution and go back to it regularly.  In our professional lives our resolutions are fragmented daily into dozens of goals—for our clients, for our products and services, for our bosses and our teams.   If I don’t write down and refer often to my new year’s resolution, it will get lost in the shuffle.

Which brings us to the quote I chose.  It’s all about what’s next:

"The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat."  - Napoleon Hill

From Water Mill, New York, we wish you a bonne annee, buon anno, happy new year!