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Our 2020 New Year’s Resolutions (D)

I resolve to be more thoughtful about when and if people are taking advantage of me and to be more cautious about my tendency to go along to get along. My issue here is twofold. First, an unfortunate element of human nature is that letting people take advantage of me simply encourages them to repeat the behavior in the future. The more people take advantage of me, the more people will take advantage of me. Second, being taken advantage of evokes anger, frustration, resentment, and related energy draining emotions and feelings. Along with being unpleasant, these emotions and feelings are unproductive and divert my attention and energy. For me, the bill associated with letting people take advantage of me is quite simply too high. I still want to be cooperative and helpful but not at the cost of my sense of well-being.

I resolve to be less willing to argue with anyone about anything. I know that people who argue with anyone, anywhere, at any time are attempting to manipulate and control others by confusing them, wearing them down, and by emotionally and intellectually overpowering them. Alternatively, I’ll do a better job of simply presenting my thoughts, perceptions, intentions, or point of view and stop. I’ll listen and consider what the other person is saying, adjust my ideas and plans as I think is appropriate, but then stop. If the other person wants to pursue the issue, they must do so without my further participation.

I resolve to step back some and be less willing to try to take charge of anything or anyone. Sure, I’m assertive and comfortable with my position and authority and don’t hesitate exercising that authority appropriately and responsibly. The point here is that I’ll work to avoid using power junkie strategies including manipulation, power games, and expanding my locus of control at the involuntary expense of others. Will I gain more control and influence over time? Yes I likely will. The remarkable point is that this expanding locus of influence will just happen without any active intent of mine. My expanding influence is thus a gift given to me by others and not something I either expect or demand. If I deserve it, being seen as a leader will come in time. It seems likely that this is a product of my getting better at recognizing and exploiting opportunities to facilitate the success of other people. It’s a function of an extrinsic but essential aspect of other people’s success. They just would not be as successful without me.

I resolve to get better at adjusting to people and circumstances without compromising my values, beliefs, personal style, position, or self-perceived status. I don’t expect others to adjust to or accommodate to me, unnecessarily, inappropriately, or unilaterally. I’ll remain who I am regardless of who is present or the specific situation but will intentionally adjust my behavior and demeanor so that others can perceive and relate to me in positive and useful ways. In this way, I’ll avoid any extraneous emotional or social clutter, thus maximizing the opportunity available with each person and in each situation.

I resolve to be more flexible and accommodating to the needs, preferences, and individual situations of other people. My emphasis will be on “accommodating.” I want to be flexible enough to help meet the needs of other people or at least to not prevent those needs being met. The preferences of other people will always be considered to the extent that they don’t preclude satisfying my needs and interests. The point is that I’ll make room for others and their priorities so long as this does not prevent my long-term success.