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Making a Good Life Happen – Resolutions True or False?

by Bonnie Bell, MA, MDiv., Principal, and Director of Career/Life Coaching

January 2011

With the new year just a few days old, the atmosphere is thick with upbeat greetings and optimistic resolve. This ritual is so ingrained in us, we can’t help ourselves. It’s what we humans do each year in our endless failed attempts to be gods instead.  

By January 5 or 6, jokes were swirling around the water cooler about how long it took to break this or that resolution – with a cookie, a drink, or a missed morning run. By the end of the week, we were laughing at ourselves and moving on. Nothing gained or lost except a pound or two, but underneath it all, something very big may have been missed: the genuine, equally human, will to transcend the norm and have an exceptionally good life.   

New Year’s resolutions are inevitable – they will continue to exist indefinitely as part of the new year ritual, but they are rigged to fail for at least two reasons I can think of off the top of my head:

         1. They are high-concept, e.g., “I will never eat a fattening thing again, and  I will be thin once and for all.” No philosophy, strategy, tactics, or plan.


         2. They tend to be based on a false or shallow premise, e.g., “I am going to get a good-paying job so I can earn more money, buy more things, and be happier.”    

I want to have a different conversation – a deeper, broader, more meaningful conversation – one that does not dry up in a few days or weeks. This conversation has everything to do with the quality of your life and work, day after day, all year long and well into the future. How about resolving this year to enter that conversation? How about to have a good life, and developing strategies and tactics to make that happen?

As a Career and Life Coach for over 22 years now, I have largely facilitated these kinds of conversations behind closed doors, one person at a time. They are full, deep, rich, serious, fun, funny, challenging and profound conversations about life and work. They most often lead to clear, practical decisions and positive change. A brilliant teacher decides to marry, train teachers, and write books. An attorney leaves his large firm to start a small one of his own. A public relations professional becomes a storyteller, playwright, and actress at age 60. Most people get on the right track and move forward.       

How to make that deeper conversation public? Let me count the ways: conduct workshops, do public speaking, pen a column, teach a class, write a book (all of which I am doing or about to do). But in the age of cyberspace, there’s another, more immediately accessible way – launch an interactive blog!  (Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it….)

By the time you read this, I will have launched mine. It’s called Making a Good Life Happen. Please join me at and enter into the conversation you really want to have about your life and work. We’ll deal with powerful strategies and effective tactics, including The Resume, where confusion reigns.     

Bonnie Bell is Principal and Director of Career & Life Coaching at Bell Investment Advisors, 1111 Broadway, Suite 1630 in downtown Oakland where she co-manages the business with her husband, Jim Bell, CFP®, Founder and President. The firm has been providing customized financial planning, investment management, and life coaching services since 1991. 510-433-1066

Published in Piedmont Post on January 12, 2011

Piedmont Post

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