As the infinite and unwaveringly persistent wheel of time keeps rolling along, we find ourselves facing another New Year.  With each year that passes, many of us pause to take note of our lives.  For most of us, we will celebrate our blessings and find gratitude for what the year has delivered to us.  With this, we may delight in our personal accomplishments and successes.  In doing so, you may be contemplating what’s next to tackle or add to your life.

For others, the year end reflection may bring more weightiness as we find sadness or pain with the state of our lives.  Perhaps it’s the condition of a relationship, the extra pounds added, or a perpetual state of procrastination that leads to spinning circles.  It could be a home in disarray, a child managed poorly or an emotional state that thwarts your happiness and ease. 

Regardless of where you find yourself, bathing in your success and wondering what’s next…or struggling with perceived failures or challenges, the New Year affords us an opportunity to pause and reflect.  In this period of reflection, we get to consider what changes, if any, we want to make to our lives.

Is it Time to Get Serious?

Serious.  It’s an interesting word. 

Many might stir up old memories of a stern parent or teacher, firmly telling you to ‘get serious’ about your work.  The word, for most of us, has a negative connotation.  It suggests a surrender of all joy and happiness to buckle down and change our attitude.  Yet, it’s important to reconsider this word as we launch the conversation about getting serious.

Serious defined;  “demanding careful application or consideration.”  Digging deeper, we find that the essential quality is that of earnestness and sincerity.  Nothing negative implied. 

Is it Time to Get Serious About a New Year’s Resolution?

As you pause this year and consider what changes you want in your life, let’s make sure we are not in the business of fooling ourselves just to feel better with a glass of Champaign in our hand.  We find that roughly five percent of those setting a New Year’s resolution are able to succeed.  These ‘five-percenters’ are a rare breed.  And there are a number of reasons why, but of utmost importance is sincerity and earnestness about a resolution.  This one variable predicts many shifts in perspective and in daily actions.  

How can you determine if you are serious about a resolution?

 It’s quite simple.  Imagine I walked into your life right now, and you stated a New Year’s resolution, such as losing weight.  I would ask you to dig deeply, and keep probing for answers to these questions: 

  • “Why? Why do you want this?  What experiences will this resolution, if successful, bring to your life, or the lives of others?
  • “What if you don’t tackle this? What if you fail and never get there?  What price will you pay for failure or ignoring this resolution?  What pain will others feel if you lack sincerity?
  • “What actions are you willing to take right now, at this moment, to demonstrate your earnest desire to change?”   Not tomorrow…today.  What will you do right now, to show yourself that you are serious about this?
  • “What are you willing to ‘put on the line’ to leverage yourself into change? Will you make a public declaration, and show your progress to others?  Will you promise to donate your desert money to your favorite charity?   Each day you fail to follow through with action, will you send a five-dollar check to the most despicable organization on the planet? 
  • “Will you have me a plan before bedtime? Not some sloppy, made up at the moment verbal plan?  But a written, detailed plan of daily action points that you will take next year.”

Become a Five Percenter!

If you are willing to tackle these five questions and give emotional, sincere answers (including the written plan before bedtime), then, you are serious.  And, you will very, very likely become a Five Percenter by 2020. 

Do not allow overwhelm a place in your process.  Stick to one resolution only.  That’s the key. Let the positive emotions and feelings of success become deeply ingrained as the year continues.  Then, after months of success, you could perhaps consider adding another resolution.  For now, remember that almost every five-percenter got there by keeping an eye on the target.  As the old saying goes, “You can only chase one rabbit at a time!”  Happy New Year’s to all.