If they’re now broken shards lying along the highway shoulder several miles in the rear view mirror, fret not, you stand not alone. According to surveys, as many as 80 percent of people give up their vast and glorious seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time plans by the tail end of January; more alarming is as many as 90 percent are never brought to fruition. What might the foremost reasons for not accomplishing them be? About 40 percent of respondents say they didn’t have enough time (read that “not a high enough priority”) and about one-third say they weren’t even committed to doing them in first place. Basically, they set them to get someone off their back. Yep, nothing says “motivation to change” like a heaping, steaming pile of guilt.
Personally, I think the “New Year’s Resolution” is a manufactured event; akin to holidays we didn’t know existed until we went into the greeting card shop. We respond to public pressure, and since “everyone’s doing it,” we don’t want to pay the social price for not going along; hence we make promises we never intend to keep.
Nothing’s wrong with January 1; I mean why not, it’s as good date as any. But change drives its own train and you better get on board when it’s time or you’ll be left at the station. If your marriage is monotonous and unsatisfying on April 7, you might be single in seven months. Having trouble seeing your belt buckle without looking in the mirror? Why wait? After all, your belly’s not going to shrink by itself, is it? Or, if you get up most mornings with an “ain’t-life-a-drag hangover,” it might seem the perfect date for a decision is the one that’s staring you in the face on the calendar.
I don’t mean to be snarky but in the interest of trying to make a point, the perfect date for change is, well, today. If you re-read this tomorrow, that works also. Yet, per my previous comments, most of us like to feel we’re not alone in our quest; so ever the helper, by the power vested in me (which admittedly isn’t much), I proclaim February 15 as the first annual “This Time I Mean It Day.” (Please insert your own trumpets.) I am attempting to get as many people as possible to recommit to objectives delayed — and equally as important, to celebrate those things we have accomplished already, while supporting others as they reach upward also.
It might appear out of the norm to discuss resolutions when red roses, heart-adorned boxer shorts, and enough chocolate to give us a yearlong cocoa high surround us; but there’s method to my madness. The date was specifically chosen to coincide with the holiday most dedicated to commitment: Valentine’s Day.
When we care about someone and we value the relationship, we take those extra moments to engage in those additional activities that ease their burdens, lighten their load, and lift them up. If we care about ourselves, it seems we need no less. After all, if we don’t take care of us, who will take care of everyone we take care of? (I know; that sentence is horribly constructed but you get the point.)
So, onward self-improving soldiers, carpe diem! Make a commitment. Take a step. Share it with a friend. Don’t worry about joining late; we’ll still be marching on February 16th, June 17th, or any day thereafter. The road never ends.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and the CDO of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, a website for people and organizations who are frustrated with making promises and are ready to make a change. He is also the founder of “This Time I Mean It Day,” a playful holiday celebrating our personal successes, every February 15. Join the celebration and download a free goal planner at the website or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/thistimeImeanit or on twitter @thistimeimeanit