01/05/2012 12:38 pm ET Updated Mar 06, 2012

New Year's Coaching: Resolve Is the Root of Resolution

There are plenty of articles right now about New Year's resolutions and some are written by me or quote me as a source. But, since you're taking the time to read this, I want to give you something more substantial, something that will help you more at this time of year than reading about how to finally keep a New Year's resolution.

If you've read my materials before, you might have heard me say that you can't buy a plane ticket to any location without first saying where you want to leave from. In other words, you need to start with an assessment of where you are before spending time on where you want to be. In the context of this article let's just deal with this: You have to wrap up the loose ends before you make commitments for next year.

Loose ends are those things left undone that pop up from time to time to remind you that you're not keeping your word, or that you've been procratstinating, or that you've been full of it in some regard. There's nothing really "wrong" here, unless your list is VERY long or people in your life have stopped believing you'll do anything you say you'll do; some amount of loose ends are expected in life, so give yourself a break.

We know that when the New Year comes around and people commit to one or more resolutions, that about 90 percent of them will go unresolved and most get lost within the first or second month of the year. That's because we've tried to get there without "being here."

So, instead of making a list of things you'll do next year, make a list of things that are still undone from this year or things that keep coming up that you'll get to "maybe someday." You can use one of my "action list" sheets (email me if you'd like a copy of one or make your own by making a 4-column list with Action, By Who, By When, Moved to Calendar) and actually making appointments with yourself to complete these items.

By taking the time to look around, finish up what's left undone and cleaning up your integrity, you are actually setting the stage for a future that includes more integrity, more accomplishment and more satisfaction. Then later on, if you do make a New Year's resolution, you'll be one of those small percent of people that follow through on what they say.

I'm on the side of those who get over the collective need to accept each others BS by making promises we don't REALLY intend to keep, of those who won't waste time fooling themselves, who have actual courage to take action and keep promises whether or not they feel like it or can make a good enough excuse to break their words.

It's your choice: a really NEW outlook for 2012 or a year with resolutions, but no resolve.

For more by James M. Lynch, click here.

For more on New Years 2012, click here.