New Year’s resolutions can be powerful.  They can either take you to a new place in life or have the power to make you feel like a complete loser.
Over the years I have made dozens of New Year’s resolutions.  Most of them I have failed at.  Why?  Because when I “messed up,” instead of shaking the dust off and trying again, I got frustrated with myself and gave up.
Have you ever done the same?  My guess is you probably have.  Here’s the thing: it’s okay.  There is no reason to dwell on what has happened in the past, unless it’s to learn the lesson that we can always move forward.
Which brings me to my final resolution for the new year…  Move forward.  And quite frankly, this will be the hardest one for me.  Before I started writing this post, I went back and read all the previous four resolutions.  I like them all!  I know if I can really put them into practice, my year will be much more peaceful and purposeful.
I need to keep moving forward when I fail, mess up or get lost in the busyness of life.  I have to remember that I can come back to what is really important and move forward.  You can too.
Let’s recap what we are going to do together in the new year.

  1. Take time for reflection—Spend time not thinking.  Start with 5 minutes a day.  Follow your breath, in and out.  Before too long you’ll be at 20-30 minutes every day.  You will feel a change.
  2. Prioritize your life—Write down what is most important in your professional and personal life in this coming year.  Then come up with a strategy to make it happen.  This will allow you to focus on the right stuff.  As you know, in major gift work, there are so many things coming at you all at once.  If you know what your priorities are you can filter out a lot of things you don’t need to worry about.
  3. Do less—Our culture (and perhaps our boss) is screaming at us to always do more, more, more.  Make this year the year of quality over quantity.  Spend most of your time with your top donors.  Focus on your caseloads.  Don’t get distracted with anything that takes you away from your donors. Do less…get more.
  4. Practice gratitude—When you wake up each morning, say “thank you” for the ability to do what you do.  You get to help change the world.  Everyday look for ways to say “thank you” to others, donors and those close to you.
  5. Move forward—Take these four resolutions and practice them.  If you fall, get up, have some grace for yourself and keep moving ahead.  This is the year you don’t stop in February when it begins to get hard. Tell others about your resolutions and have them hold you accountable.  Know there will be times of frustration, but that’s life.  Deal with it and keep plowing forward.

There is no that doubt major gift fundraising is difficult, and life is never easy.  It will always be this way.  However, you have control over how you deal with it.  You can handle it by being frustrated and grumpy toward others, or you can handle it with grace and understanding.  I choose the latter.  You can too.
These five resolutions for the new year have enormous power for you and me.  This year let’s allow them to change us and take us to new places.
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