Common Outlook
January 2013 - Issue # 13-01


Founder's Message


We espoused tradition in December, and here we are in January, combining the Founder's Message and article, and breaking a long-standing practice. Worse, we're going to suggest you break a habit, too ... specifically the one called: making a New Year's resolution.


Most New Year's resolutions are customarily made in January, for the month itself was named after Janus, the Roman god of 'beginnings' and 'guardian of doors and entrances'. His unmistakable visage, a face at the front and back of his head, meant he could simultaneously look at the past and future (as can you and I), and inform a devotee's wise decisions in the present.


We tend to make New Year's resolutions because we were beguiled or bedeviled into: 1) adopting the beliefs and practices of others, 2) comparisons, 3) shoulds, 4) expectations of quick high returns, 5) out-of-whack timing and, 6) the possibility that this time, we'll exercise enough willpower.


Alas, a 2007 study [5] of 3,000 people revealed 88% of those who made a New Year's resolution failed to stay the course. Most people who fail, believe they don't have the willpower, and as it turns out, they're probably right. The prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of it, has other more crucial duties. It keeps us focused, and handles short-term memory and solves abstract problems. It has limited capacity though: when stressed, it diverts the power used by our 'will' into those more-vital duties.[4]


The assumptions we form about a problem or habit also affect success or failure; e.g., the habit of smoking. A smoker tries quitting, perhaps numerous times, but fails. Convinced they don't have the willpower, they tend to set the failure in the "can't" of a wicked problem[2]  rather than where it belongs ... in the "can" of a tame problem


Continue reading...



  • Make your goal specific. 
  • Break it into measureable increments ... into small or even itsy goals.  Write them down. Then tell someone about them. 
  • Reward yourself every single time you achieve one (or achieve a milestone). 
  • Take a breather now and then to recharge. When you're ready to continue, put the Janus-face on (see Founder's Message) and assess.


What's New?  

"The Personal is the Professional". The two-part series starts in February!




When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning,

by dreams that want completion,

by pure love that needs expressing,

then we truly live.


~ Greg Anderson


Peter Hiddema


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