On Jan. 1, 1863 Mark Twain wrote: "Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."
Here you are, 149 years later -- does the same thing happen to your resolutions? For the answer, think about what happened as a result of the intentions you set 12 months ago. Every year you get a brand new year to play with, a clean slate and a great big opportunity to make change. But too often the resolutions don't make it past the first month -- or the first donut!
But now it's that time again, and you want to start the new year right and make true progress -- and this time you mean it! Nothing could be more natural. A recent study made by career analyst Dan Pink revealed a startling discovery about what motivates us: We are strongly motivated when we are developing a sense of mastery in our lives, a feeling that we are growing as a human being. And at the beginning of the year the natural energy to do so is at its peak.
Is this the year you stick to your resolutions?
In the current bestseller The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin cites William Butler Yeats who said, "Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing." So, it's worth considering what it's going to take this year to move your new year's resolutions on to results.
A good way to start is by considering the cost of not sticking to your resolutions:
- Disappointment and loss of confidence in yourself
- Stress and a sense of being overwhelmed by all there is to do
- Being bogged down by tasks that are meaningless
- Not getting the results you want and need in your life
- Lack of happiness and a sense of well being
Over the next few days the purpose of my articles is to give you everything you need to make 2012 your personal best year yet. I'll be talking about:
- Finding out whether you're ready for a great year (this article)
- Identifying your key lessons
- Answering the 10 questions that make up your one-page 2012 plan
- Discovering the biggest obstacle to your personal success
- Setting your top 10 goals, and
- How to make sure you stick with your plan throughout the year
Are you ready for your best year yet?
Here's a quiz designed to help you answer this question. As you read each statement, write down a rating to indicate how true the statement is for you. Use a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the truest for you.
- I am committed to making positive changes in my life.
- Planning a year ahead and setting goals for myself makes sense to me -- I'm ready to give it a try.
- I can count on myself to do what I need to do this time.
- I know a great deal about what I need to do to change my life.
- It matters to me that I live up to my personal beliefs and values.
- I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make this process work for me.
- There are people in my life who would benefit if I took the time to plan the next year of my life.
- Even though I'm afraid to confront some of my problems, I'm ready to do it.
- I'm now ready to use my ability and my intelligence more wisely and courageously.
- This time I can trust myself to follow through -- no matter what.
Now add up your scores to determine your total score and check below to determine your readiness.
90-100: Congratulations. It's possible that life will never again be the same for you.
70-89: Although you may need to push yourself from time to time, you could well be on your way to your best year yet.
51-69: Hard to tell what's going to happen. You're not quite sure whether you're really ready to get into the driver's seat of your life.
If your score is below 50, you've just told yourself that you're not ready to make the most of 2012 nor the information I'll be providing about how to make your plan. Either improve your approach or wait until you're feeling more confident. However, if you scored a 10 on the last statement, you have the best chance of all.
I'll be writing in the next few days about your next step: identifying your lessons and guidelines for the next year. The titles for all of the articles in this series will begin with the words "2012: Your Best Year Yet."
Please leave a comment or question here. Let us know how you're doing. By doing so you'll inspire the rest of us. Or you can email me at email@example.com.
If you want to get started right away, there are a number of ways you can do so:
2. Get the Best Year Yet Online software package, cloud software for making and tracking your plan.
3. Find a Best Year Yet Coach or tell your own coach about this process.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more