A study by people who study such things states that only 34 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions. A Forbes article said only 8 percent of people who make resolutions successfully keep them. Eight percent of 34 percent is 2.72 percent so, obviously, the real question is how does a .72 percent of a person keep a resolution?
Plus, if experience tells us that 50 percent of all statistics are wrong 100 percent of the time – well, there you go. You probably aren’t making New Year’s resolutions and, if you do, you probably won’t keep them.
Truthfully, a lot of New Year’s resolutions—get organized, start exercising, lose weight, spend more time with family, make a budget—are repackaged guilt left over from the previous year. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
Maybe January 1st isn’t the best time for making resolutions. We’re still languishing in the holiday stupor, overloaded with carbs and sugar, sprawled on the sofa stunned by the damage on the credit card.
There are better days for making resolutions—say, the first day of school, your birthday, or two weeks before your physical.
If you really, really want to do something, why wait for a particular day on the calendar to go for it?
So, what is it that you want? What do you really, really want?
I randomly asked that question of a few people more than a decade ago thinking I’d write a column along those lines and never did. So much for my resolution to stop procrastinating.
I still have the notes though and it’s interesting to review them all these years later.
I asked a teen-age cashier at the grocery store what she really, really wanted. “What I really, really want,” she said, still scanning my groceries, “is more time with my mom.” Then she looked directly at me, her eyes brimming with tears, and said, “She died last Friday.”
I asked a neighbor what he really, really wanted. He grimaced and said, “I just want neighbors to be kind to one another.”
My neighbor died this past summer. Even with deteriorating health and grave difficulty breathing, when I’d stop in to say hello, he’d point to a chair, reach out and take my hand and attempt to talk. His words grew garbled, but his heart was always clear. He was consistently kind, the very thing he wished for others.
I asked a young father what he really, really wanted. “I can tell you exactly what I want!” he shouted. “I want my little girl to get big enough so that I can take her to the slopes and teach her how to ski.”
She grew up all right and he taught her to ski. She’ll be graduating from college in a couple of years. They have a rock solid relationship.
What we all want is to harness the power of time, to slow it down, speed it up, recapture it or simply make it count. But the only time any of us can truly master is right now.
Go for it.