Wednesday 30 December 2015

Happy New Year - The Resolution Matrix

The Resolution Matrix

How to make great New Year Resolutions.

Millions of us around the world, will be partying and thinking about the year ahead as midnight approaches.   New Year is an opportunity to rethink as well as celebrate and no doubt we’ll be translating dreams into a few resolutions.

Image result for new year party

Every year I ask: will I keep them? Do I really want things to get better?  

This year I want to boldly go where I have failed before, by making resolutions that lead to a better life.  I've been saddened about what happens in our world (see my last post)   So, I’ve been thinking hard about what the best, most useful, resolutions for 2016 might look like.   I have, today, designed my Resolution Matrix and I’m sharing it (drum roll) Might it work for you too?

My hypotheses behind the Resolution Matrix are:  The least good and a deluge of harm will follow from those who only make resolutions for self-fulfilment, personal benefit.  Localised good may well be realised by those who only go for the best for their chosen few (family, friends, community, race, religion or nation etc).  Some good will be gained by those who seek to improve the lot of mankind in general.  But a better world will only ever be achieved if enough of us resolve to make a positive difference to the earth, our planet.  

I have a chant that simplifies this four level progression from pure selfishness through altruism and wisdom, 

“For me – for us - for everyone – for everything!” 
(for the origin of this see "The Tower")

Of course we all need to look after ourselves but if we stop at egotism it can render us selfish and blind us to the needs of others.  So too can a resolute focus on our chosen few – family, nation, religion and belief set.  We all want the best for our own and yet this too will become self-defeating if unknown or unfamiliar others lose out or are harmed.  If enough resolve to better the lot of mankind in general, there is some hope.  But unless a critical mass made up of you/me/humanity, take meaningful actions to protect, improve and sustain the planet there will be nothing for mankind, our chosen few, or each of us as individuals. It really is that simple. Isn’t it?

Using the Matrix.

You can either use the matrix to plot your resolutions using the boxes, or make your resolutions and check them out against the matrix.


If your resolutions only fit the red and amber boxes they will, by definition, only benefit yourself, or your chosen few.  Whilst there are times when all of us have little choice but to look after ourselves and those we feel closest to, two things follow.  First, it is easier if others help us when we are vulnerable, suffering, or ill, and second, we should resolve to help other when we are in a position to do so.  But communities, nations and humanity are heading for trouble if those who can help others do nothing.  Bluntly, if the majority of resolutions at New Year are in the lower boxes there will be more selfish and ethnocentric acts in the year ahead.  

If, however, a majority of our resolutions match the green and greener boxes, i.e. they include not only hopes, aspirations but actions and plans for everyone and everything, there is a real chance that humanity at large will act in sustainable ways, not just for ourselves and our own, but also for everyone else and everything.

Of course we must survive and thrive as independent individuals and communities but the higher order resolutions have to be about caring for others, the flora, fauna, environment and infrastructure of our planet. It's about recognising our interdependence – I like to think of this as wisdom – acting for the common good.

So there you are: a simple hypothesis a Resolution Matrix and, most importantly, a hope that more of us are able to lift our eyes beyond ourselves and our own.

A Happy New Year and all together now,

“For me, for us, for everyone and yes, for everything!”

I'm still collecting those sayings, principles and "common goods" I asked for in my last post... best sent to