When the New Year rolls around, we are inspired by the possibility of a clean slate, another chance to accomplish the goals we keep putting off and finally have the life we really want. With our hearts filled with hope, we make promises to ourselves and count on will power as the driving force to create a better life.  Although New Year’s Resolutions rarely survive the winter, we continue to be inspired by the clean slate that is offered at the turn of each year.

Inspiration is magical no matter where we find it, especially when we can convert it into positive change. Through the years, I have made some very useful adjustments to my ritual that preserve the inspiration of a fresh start and turn that into results.

Let’s start with the word “resolution.” It means a firm decision to do or not do something. However, until that something is actually done, a resolution is nothing more than a promise. In other words, the strength of your intention doesn’t really matter unless you get it done….so I stopped using the word “resolution” and started calling them New Year’s Possibilities.

Possibilities are not guarantees either, but they are open doors. The guarantee is the action, because once you have taken the action you promised, you have delivered on your word. Action is the part people overlook the most because it’s hard to know what steps to take and will power is rarely enough, so we keep the possibility in our head and hope for change.

The hoping never really got me anywhere, so I put myself into action by narrowing it down from a full year to just one day. If I give myself an entire year to get something done, there are 364 tomorrows and I will use every one of them.  If I look at each day as my fresh start, then I can choose one or two actions that will move me in the direction I want, and end my day knowing that I made progress. Each action I take moves me toward the possibilities I am trying to realize, and with each new day those possibilities can take new form. 

With that, the New Years’ Resolutions, that were keeping me focused on a future that never came true, became a much more productive and manageable process. My life is now a daily inspiration and growth process based on being present to the possibilities I want to pursue. I no longer need the turn of a year to make changes or improve my life. It happens every day.

Because the “one day at a time” approach has been around a long time, most people know that it’s easier said than done. Here’s the reality check –

the biggest obstacle to change is counting on will power.

The theory that we can muster enough strength to resist the tempting, toxic old habits and force ourselves into new behavior that doesn’t feel quite right has been proven wrong over and over again. If we’re facing reality, we know that the tempting toxic habits have a pretty deep hold.

If you have tried putting daily actions into practice and continue derailing yourself, then you probably have some issues behind the scenes that need to be addressed first. To resolve them once and for all, consider a year of personal growth work. Hire a professional who can identify the blocks and produce real, measurable change. Let the actions you choose this year clear out the static and strengthen your foundation so that next year you can go after your dreams and actually get there.