New Year State of Mind

As the vaccines help arm us against the virus, medications continue to be developed, and human behavior hopefully improves in socially responsible directions, we might expect casualties to continue to decline and life to be altered dramatically. An imperative of that hoped-for result will be to rebuild aspects of our lives, re-adjust to a changing economy, adapt to altered relationships, re-think what works in education, solve some of the social justice issues that garnered major and much-needed attention during the pandemic, and more.


When a Society, and Culture, almost crash, there is much personal and societal restorative work and adaptations to undertake. As Charles Darwin argued, the species that survive are those most responsive to change. In the spirit of that hopeful idea, I list here my simple Resolve Model for anyone who might wish to try personal resolve and commitments in helping alter aspects of their life in a New Era.


Some estimates are that perhaps 50% of adults make New Year’s Resolutions, and the media, of course, have fun with it. Research suggests that those who make them are more likely to change their behavior. So TRYING may be the big thing. Surprise! But the ending of one year and the beginning of another seems a reasonable point at which to take stock of one’s life, evaluate the good, the bad, and the ugly, and make some decisions about one’s life and one’s future. Business, government, politics, and sports do it, reviewing/assessing the year just ended, and projecting forward. Why not try it concerning one’s OWN LIFE, which is certainly more important to one than those entities?


So I note here this very simple Resolve Model (a checklist) to perhaps help construct resolutions or rescue failed resolutions—enjoy, and best wishes for a great 2023!



Frank Farley, Ph.D.


R= REALISTIC goals for 2023. Put a SPECIFIC plan in place (e.g., saving money and exactly how)


E= EVALUATE your progress. Stay on top of it as the year proceeds.


S= SHARE your plans and efforts with others. Social motivation.


O= OPTIMISM. Don’t start off pessimistically. It needs a can-do attitude. Failures will happen, but keep at it. As Zig Ziglar says, negative thinking =”stinkin’ thinkin’.”


L= LISTS. They help you stay organized and on top of it. Cull from your list repeatedly failed resolutions/learn from them.


V= VALUE what you’re doing. Give this some significant priority in your life.


E= EMBRACE change. It’s a survival skill in this fast-moving century. Dump the bad stuff in your life, expand the good stuff. Remember, Darwin said the key survival factor is responsiveness to change!



Frank Farley, Ph.D.

Frank Farley, Ph.D., is a Professor Emeritus of Psychological Studies in Education at Temple University, Philadelphia. He has previously taught at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, and University of California-Berkeley, and been a visiting scholar at Stanford University. Born and raised in Alberta, Canada, he received B.A, and M.A. degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Ph.D from the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, UK, following which he emigrated to the U.S. He has been President of 13 national and international scientific and professional societies in psychology and education, including the American Psychological Association, the world’s largest such society. His research focuses on extreme human behavior in all of its manifestations, including such topics as violence, heroism, risk-taking.

Dr. Farley can be reached at [email protected]

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