By Patti Smith, RN

2017 is upon us and you may have questions about your goals. Do I submit to stating resolutions again, or is there something else out there for me to consider that will help me follow through better? This is the question I will help answer by providing you another option for making, and achieving, resolutions for 2017.

Have you ever wondered what percentage of folks actually follow through with their resolutions? Have you been a resolution-maker over the years? How many did you complete? Here are some dismal statistics from, 2015.

Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions 45%
Percent of people who achieve resolutions 8%
Percent who have infrequent success 49%

Why do individuals not follow-through?

According to Joseph J. Luciani, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, looking at fitness resolutions: “To answer this question, it’s important to recognize that outside-in solutions such as dieting, joining gyms and so on are doomed to fail if, other than your well-intentioned resolve to change, you’ve done nothing to enhance your capacity to either sustain motivation or handle the inevitable stress and discomfort involved in change. Saying this differently: Unless you first change your mind, don’t expect your health goals to materialize. As the saying goes, it’s not the horse that draws the cart, it’s the oats. It’s not the gym, Pilates class or diet that will change you — it’s your mind.”

Consider the prospect of the legacy you will leave behind. If you follow your heart passion (directly connected to your mindset) to be in service to others, you will remain interested and on-path to follow through with your goals. Find an organization in your community that tugs on your heart strings and begin to create your legacy.

Leaving a legacy is important.

I have followed others who have left a legacy of service for me: My mom, an RN, drove 30 miles one way from the farm to work as a nurse, often driving home from the hospital at 2:00 a.m. Before coming home, she would stop to take care of an elderly neighbor every night for twelve years.

There were many times that I walked to church with my grandmother; I turned pages for her as she played the organ in both the Lutheran and Catholic churches.

Kimi Taziri, RN, took me under her wing when I told her that I wanted to learn to teach. Later when she retired I was hired to take her position. I hope that I am also leaving a legacy of service for others to follow.

leaving something to follow

Who has left you a legacy to follow? What is that legacy?

I like this definition of legacy: A legacy is something that is handed down or remains from one generation to the next; a heritage; or a tradition. Below are several other explanations of legacy.

Jim Rohn shared four dimensions fundamental to leaving a legacy: A life well lived, principles to live by, importance of both impact and spiritual legacy and a financial legacy.

I also like the following: 5 ways to leave a legacy from

  1. Legacy of Excellence: Saint Francis of Assisi said, “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless your preaching is your walking.” Strive to be your best every day.
  2. Legacy of Encouragement: You have a choice: You can lift others up or bring them down.Be the person that someone will call five, ten or twenty years from now and say “Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
  3. Legacy of Purpose: People are most energized when they are using their strengths and talents for a purpose beyond themselves. Make your life about something bigger than you.What you are is God’s gift to you.What you make of yourself is your gift to God. Will you encourage your children to volunteer and follow their passions?
  4. Legacy of Love: My mom gave me a legacy of love that I now share with my family and others.Share a legacy of love with family, children, grandchildren, friends and those you do not know and it will embrace generations to come.
  5. Legacy of ________________?You fill in the blank!

The paths you choose, the actions you take, the values and behavior you demonstrate during your lifetime determine your legacy. Wouldn’t it be a much more satisfying year to work on creating a legacy versus working harder to complete a resolution?

“Every one of us is going to leave a legacy. It just depends on what kind. So what kind of legacy do you want to leave? Knowing how you want to be remembered helps you decide how to live and work today.”

— Jon Gordon

I invite you to follow your heart’s passions and give of yourself through service in your community in 2017. Build a legacy rather than struggle with a resolution.

Patti Smith

Patti Smith, RN, lives in Fort Collins, self-employed Health Education Consultant helping school districts create programs to introduce students to healthcare professions. Member of Fort Collins Chamber, Flourish/WDC-FC networking groups and passionate member of the Zonta Club of Fort Collins. She can be reached at 970-988-8529.