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The Story of the Year

















Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions.  I don’t.  Most of us who do make them, don’t keep them for very long.  There are reasons for this.   Using strategies endorsed by the experts (see website links at the bottom), this activity takes a slightly different approach to making life changes.



Action Pak© Cue Cards from The Rider Group (you can also make your own)



The Set Up:

Open up a discussion about New Year’s resolutions.  What are they?  Why do we make them?  Do people usually keep them?  Why or why not?  Tell your group that since most people don’t keep their resolutions, you have a different approach that may work better. 


The Action:

Spread the cards out on a flat surface (i.e. large table, floor, etc…).  Instruct participants to take at least one card (preferably more) that represents their previous year.  They should also take at least one card (again, preferably more) that describes how they would like the new year to go.  These will be the story of last year and the new year.  During this phase, they should not be discussing with others why they are or are not choosing certain cards.  Inform the group that if someone takes a card that they wanted, they can borrow it when it’s their turn to tell their stories. 


Once each person has taken their cards, ask them to lay them out face up so that others can see what they have chosen.  Each participant will then convey the story their cards tell about the previous year and what they hope for the new year.  As each person goes, use the debrief questions to help them create an action plan to make their new year go as hoped.  You can have them write down their plans after they tell their stories.



















The Debrief:

  • How will you go from the story of last year to what you say you hope things to be like this year?

    • Are your expectations for the new year realistic?  If not, how can you modify them to make them more realistic?

    • What do you think your chances are of succeeding?

    • What changes in thinking need to happen?  What thoughts (or thought patterns) do you need to get rid of?  What thoughts (or thought patterns) do you need to develop?

    • What changes in your behaviors needs to happen?  What behaviors do you need to get rid of?  What new behaviors do you need to employ?

    • Do you need to get rid of any old habits?  Do you need to create any new habits?

    • Who can support you in making these changes?

    • What are the potential road blocks that may get in the way of you making these changes?  How will you deal with these road blocks?



Of course, you can use this activity any time of the year.  New Year's is just a convenient time for us to "start anew."  It can truly happen at any time of the year.


Psychology Today article Tips article


Team Building

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