Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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For the New Year, Figuring Out What Matters Most

New Year’s is the season for making resolutions, trying to close the gap between who we are and who we want to be. Yet few people have a detailed set of well-defined values sitting around in their brain, waiting to guide their actions. Rather, we muddle through life with a general sense of the things we care about most and a vague idea of what it means to succeed. Often we’re surprised to learn how much something means to us when it is taken away. “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone,” as the song goes. This wouldn’t ring true if we were always perfectly informed about our own values.
Our values—the things that are most important to us, like work, family, friendship, creativity and so on—are open to interpretation. What kind of work? Family in what sense? Friendship with whom? Just muddling along may work well enough until we have a conflict of goals or a crisis to deal with. But when we confront challenges, getting more specific about what we really value lets us know what’s at stake in our choices. As we think about the year ahead, five strategies can help us figure out what matters most to us.



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