As we all move forward into the New Year, we may have set our resolutions and be on our way. However, I notice that many of my clients struggle with making their intentions materialize into reality. Over New Year’s, I was struck by profound teaching, and one of the questions asked was quite simple: What aspirations will you bring into reality this year? What intentions will materialize in your life?

What’s So Special About This Question?

This question bridges the gap between what we aspire and the day-to-day reality of our lives. It’s the question that forces our brain to transition from the world of ideas and vague thoughts into real life. Many of us who seek personal growth or development will set intentions that may be quite ephemeral, vague or perhaps what we call ‘wishy-washy.’ Some examples might be an intention to take better care of ourselves, be happier or even keep our cool more often with the kids. Such aspirations are wonderful, but often lacking in one key component: accountability to action.

How will you know if you got there today? How will we measure your progress? How will there be some sense of urgency created today, for you to take action on your intention?

We benefit from questions that drive our awareness from thought into simple actions that will bring to life our thought intentions. You notice that holding this question in mind compels the mind to move from vague to specific. It also compels a shift from thought to action. Both are of great value, and worthy of keeping in mind.

Yet, there are many good questions, and in fact many great questions. But why a question?

Why Questions are Critical to Creating What You Want This Year.

Great questions, like the one above, should make your brain work. It should force the brain to use its neuroplastic potential to open new pathways, so you begin to act and feel differently.

Imagine: a great question to your own mind is like asking Google a great question. Your brain, like Google, will search every crevice for an answer. And, like Google again, a poorly constructed question will get you a poor answer. The better the question, the better the answer. This is just common sense. Right?

But here’s the rub: Most of us ask lousy questions to ourselves each and every day. We repeat the same negative, critical or judgmental thoughts and behaviors. We don’t do so because they are fulfilling or because they make us happy. Instead, we do it because we are familiar with those patterns. We call it a habit. For better or worse, we are creatures of habit and we keep doing the same things over and over, whether it works or not (at least that is true for many of us).

So, what’s the pathway out: You can quite profoundly jump-start a change in life by adopting a simple mind-altering strategy, and it is…

Ask the Better Question to Have a Better Year!

Certainly, there are many ways to embark upon a better year. Goals, journals, study groups, mentors and the like are all of the benefits. However, if you queried me on the simplest way to find a path to a better year, I would put a good question at the top of the list. As emphasized, it should make your brain work in a new way. It should compel one to action. And it should almost force you into something new today. Not tomorrow, but today.

So, I invite you to consider this question as fundamental to starting your new year off in the direction of your choosing: What aspirations will you bring into reality this year?

See yourself taking the action required to make that intention come to life. See the results of that aspiration, and the impact on you and others. Recognize what steps you can begin to write down today, that start to bring this to life for you.

And finally, consider this: if there is no action on your intention in the week ahead, abandon the idea of this as an aspiration or serious intention. Instead, you just have a dream. That’s all.

And dreams are left up to the universe to make happen. They are not up to you. Perhaps you like those odds for your life, but I would prefer to participate in increasing those odds. I hope you do too, as likely this year will be much more fulfilling if you ask this question and ponder carefully where it takes you.