Culture TED Talks

12 talks to inspire New Year’s resolutions

Happy New Year! Last month, we asked people in the TED office which talk of 2012 inspired them to make a New Year’s resolution. And the answer was overwhelming — Amy Cuddy’s talk, “Your body language shapes who you are,” will make a lot of us walk a different walk in 2013. The point of the talk: that the way we hold ourselves doesn’t just affect how others perceive us, it actually affects how we feel about ourselves. Adopting a power pose — arms up and out, body expansive — can instantly make a person feel more confident and less stressed.

“Her talk made me resolve to stop slouching this year. After watching it, I became hyper-aware of all the ways that I make myself look smaller,” says TED’s Customer Service Specialist Becky Chung. “Another resolution of mine is to do the Wonder Woman pose during breaks.”

Writer Kate Torgovnick echoes, “In 2013, I’m not going to let myself get stressed out. When I feel that rush of stress, I’m going to sit back, put my hands behind my head and stretch out my legs.”

Here, more talks that helped TED staffers form New Year’s resolutions.


“I knew that I lived in an appallingly food-wasting household, but it wasn’t until I watched Tristram Stuart’s talk ‘The global food waste scandal’ that I understood the scale of the problem. In the hopes of changing my tiny part of the equation, I’m rethinking how I shop for and prepare my food. Sticking to it has been tough — and getting others on board has been even tougher — because the mindset of thoughtless food waste is so pervasive. But this year, little by little, I plan to face what’s on my plate.” Morton Bast, editorial assistant


“Susan Cain’s talk ‘The power of introverts’ reminded me of the importance of setting aside quiet time for creativity and being our best selves. It can be hard to remember that in New York City — especially for someone who grew up here! So this year, I’m hoping to find a balance between spending time with the wonderful people in my life who make me happy and push me to grow, and time doing things that keep me centered — like physical activity, writing, reading, art and being outside.” Cloe Shasha, Projects Coordinator

“Daphne Bavelier’s ‘Your brain on video games’ made me think … I really should play more video games.” David Webber, TEDxTalks Manager

“Hannah Brencher’s talk ‘Love letters to strangers’ was so beautiful and inspiring that I’m committing to more random acts of kindness — to strangers and to people I know. And to revisiting paper and pen.” Shanna Carpenter, Community Engagement Manager

“My favorite quote is, ‘That’s the kind of thinking that can drive a person to start drinking gin at 9 in the morning. I don’t want to go there. I want to keep doing the work that I love.’ Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk ‘Your elusive creative genius’ continually inspires me to do something bigger and better.” Jordan Reeves, TED-Ed Program Facilitator

Ernesto Sirolli’s talk has me thinking about better listening and humility.” Laurie House, Film + Video Editor

“I liked Daphne Koller’s talk on MOOCs, “What we’re learning from online education.’ I try not to make New Year’s resolutions, but I will definitely sign up for a course or two using Coursera or MITx this year.” Jennifer Gilhooley, Partnership Development

“Brene Brown’s talk ‘Listening to vulnerability’ has inspired me to keep an open heart in 2013. Definitely an inspiring resolution!” Susan Zimmerman, Executive Assistant to the Curator

Jon Ronson’s talk inspired me both not to be a psychopath and to be a better storyteller.” Ben Lillie, Writer/Editor

“I’m still wrestling with Sylvia Earle’s talk from a few years ago. She doesn’t eat fish, because she saw firsthand what industrial fishing does to our oceans. I eat meat, and I understand why I do that — because meat is a renewable resource in a way that fish is not. We know how meat grows; we aren’t constantly driving species of chicken and cow to the brink of extinction by eating them. But I also really love fish — so I’m struggling.” Emily McManus, TED.com Editor

“One of the more recent talks — Ronny Edry’s talk ‘Israel and Iran: A love story?‘ was so touching for me. My mom is Persian and I grew up in Israel, so it really felt like parts of myself were coming together. My resolution is to reach out to those that I normally wouldn’t reach out to — those who I’m told are different from me, but in truth, are very similar.”  —Shirin Samimi-Moore, intern

Brené Brown at TED2012

Be vulnerable and keep an open heart — Brené Brown’s 2012 talk inspires one TED staffer. Photo: James Duncan Davidson