Monday, January 9, 2012

'Rolling-over' new year resolutions?

Rather than the 'new year new resolutions' approach ...I am going to appeal to those of us who may just be rolling over a few resolutions from last year!

My starting point is generally positive. I am from the glass half full camp, lent towards the field of positive psychology,  from the ‘she’ll-be-right-mate' NZ yard.  Like war-time British PM Winston Churchill said, “for myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else”.

That is why I like Appreciative Inquiry (AI)1.. a philosophy and process for positive change, which focuses on life-affirming potential as opposed to problems.  An approach which is particularly encouraging when faced with unfulfilled goals and even despite an optimistic outlook, a feeling of 'making little progress'.

In essence the AI process involves 4Ds as summarised here3,4:

Traditionally applied in organisations, you can apply its principles and process in a coaching conversation as a 1:1 or with the team. You may want to do it in a conversation with yourself about those roll-over resolutions.  Here are some prompts:

  • On a scale of 0 – 10 (10 being the highest), where would you score yourself on [making progress on your goal]?
  • Looking at your score, what progress have you made? 
  • What has gone particularly well?  
  • What does a '10' look like?
  • What do you want to do? 
  • What could you do?

Such an approach builds from a place of strength, resourcefulness and success as opposed to deficit, deletion, non achievement and failure.

A much better way to start the year don’t you think?.


  1. The origins of AI can be found in the mid 1980s at Case Western Reserve University, USA – ie: Srivastva and Cooperrider (1990), Appreciative management and leadership, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  2. Whitney, D. (2010), “Appreciative inquiry: creating spiritual resonance in the workplace”, Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 7(1): 73-88.
  3. Whitney, D. and Trosten-Bloom, A. (2003), The power of appreciative inquiry: a practical guide to positive change. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
  4. Image source: (via images)


    1. I do indeed! Have to tell you too - I'm about a 3rd of the way through Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life & absolutely loving it & finding it so wise & inspiring, so thanks again for reminding me of its existence! Have a wonderful day & look forward to speaking some time this week Cx

    2. reconnecting with JKZ..certainly an inspiring start to the year, as was our chat the other day, px