My New Year’s Resolution List usually starts with the desire to lose somewhere between ten and three thousand pounds.

— Nia Vardalos

This is the year. 

I’m finally going to get to my ideal weight.  

You know what your ideal weight is, right?

It’s the weight that is always 10 pounds lighter than whatever weight you are right now. 

It’s the weight that whatever Time Magazine’s Sexiest Woman Alive weighs. 

To accomplish this, I will wake up at the crack of dawn to do one hour of vigorous yoga every morning (including weekends), even if my daughter’s midnight awakenings have exhausted me into incoherency. 

In a virtuous display of self-control I will subsist on celery sticks and carrots and pass up all cupcakes offered to me no matter how delicious they look. 

Even if said cupcakes are vanilla with chocolate frosting.

To ensure that I keep my eyes on the prize, I will chastise myself ruthlessly any and every time I fall short. 

I will be single-mindedly focused on keeping this resolution.

I will be merciless with myself. 

Sort of. 

Actually, probably not at all. 

See, I’ve learned that setting unrealistic or competitive goals for myself is actually pointless. (I’ve also learned that no matter how healthy my weight I will probably always obsess about it, because I am an American woman in her thirties. But that’s a story for another post.)

So now I try not to focus on how I think I compare to someone else, like whats-her-face on the cover of Time, Ms. Sexier Than Thou. 

When my self-improvement tendencies start wreaking havoc on my peace of mind, one thought brings me back to myself.

“I don’t need to compete, I just need to keep going in the best direction for me.” TWEET THIS.

Your best direction might depend on your personality type. Each of the four main personality types has different strengths and challenges. 

The “Opportunities for Growth” below give ideas for crafting resolutions that are in sync with your natural strengths, so you can bring your best self to the new year.

The personality types are described in terms of the element of nature they most closely resemble – Earth, Air, Water or Fire. In my personality system that I use when coaching clients, I call this their Strongest Element. (Click here to take the Quiz and find out which is YOUR Strongest Element.)

The Earth Element

Earth Element personalities are drawn to order, structure and tradition. They are highly dependable, responsible, and reliable. They respect authority. They love crossing off their to-do lists. They are parental. On a bad day, they can be stubborn martyrs. But like the Earth, they are solid and stable.

Opportunities for Growth:
•    Are you truly satisfied with your career? If not, it might be time for you to shift gears, step out of your comfort zone and find something new.
•    Your gifts include an amazing eye for detail. Make sure that isn’t going to waste in your career.
•    When you hear yourself say, “But I’ve always done it that way”, be open to the possibility that there could be new ways to do things.
•    You will be tempted to ignore self-care and take care of others out of love and a strong sense of duty, but you can’t get water from an empty well. Make your self-care a priority this year.

The Water Element

These people are sympathetic, caring listeners. You feel comfortable confiding in them instantly. They focus on developing potential – in themselves and in others. They are romantic, compassionate and empathetic. On a bad day they are fickle drama queens. But like an ocean wave on a summer day, they are warm and nurturing.

Opportunities for Growth:
•    Do you find that you are constantly looking for advice and guidance from others? Cultivate a practice of listening to your own inner wisdom. 
•    Try meditation. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Louise Hay, long-time metaphysical teacher and author, recommends sitting still and asking, “What do I need to know today?” Then just sit quietly and see what comes up. 
•    Your gifts include encouraging others to reach their potential. Make sure that isn’t going to waste in your career.
•    When you hear yourself say, “But they need my help”, be open to the possibility that they might not. Your tendency to overextend yourself may inadvertently keep someone else from becoming more self-sufficient.

The Air Element

Air Elements are open-minded, logical, rational people. They consider all sides of a situation before making decisions. They research. They are experts in whatever they are passionate about. They explore big ideas. They are intellectual and academic by nature and comfortable with complexity. On a bad day they can be sarcastic perfectionists. But like a wide-open sky, they are all about possibilities.

Opportunities for Growth:
•    Are you often frustrated when you are pulled into drama by others in your life? Recognize that not everyone shares your rational approach to problem solving. By listening without trying to solve the problem, you will strengthen your relationships and sidestep frustration. 
•    You are an expert at whatever you are passionate about. Is there a way you can utilize your knowledge in a career? Research possibilities and talk to those already in the field. THEN TAKE ACTION. It is hard for you to move beyond the “research phase”, but results come from action not just research.
•    Your gifts include creating elegant and unique solutions. Make sure that isn’t  going to waste in your career.
•    When you hear yourself say, “This doesn’t involve me”, be open to the possibility that you could still help. Even if the situation doesn’t directly involve you, you can provide valuable insight if requested.

The Fire Element

Fire Element personalities are always in motion. They are energetic go-getters. Of all personality types, Fire Elements are the most comfortable with change. They are determined, resourceful and able to rebuild easily. Naturally optimistic and charismatic, they are often the life of the party. On a bad day they can be competitive and self-destructive, but like a roaring bonfire, they are magnetic and dynamic.

Opportunities for Growth:
•    Do you feel that people close to you sometimes hold you back? Recognize that not everyone shares your independent nature and need for freedom. People who need predictability find it difficult to understand your spontaneous nature.
•    You are good at motivating people to take action. Can you use that talent to promote a cause that needs more attention?
•    Your gifts include your confidence with taking risks and your natural charm. Make sure those gifts are not going to waste in your career.
•    When you feel yourself rise to a competitive challenge, pause. Be open to the possibility that there could be a win-win solution instead.

No matter which resolutions you decide to work on, be patient with yourself. Real change takes time. 

And don’t forget to reward yourself with a cupcake.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me which of these Opportunities for Growth resonated with you. Let me know in the comments.

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