01/05/2012 07:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Do You Really Believe in Change?

Do you really believe in change? Do you really think that you can transform your life?

These are important questions, especially at the beginning of a new year when most of us have, once again, made "New Year's resolutions." We are going to go to the gym regularly. We are going to eat less. We are going to meditate every day. We are going to get rid of our debts. All these good things have been toasted with a glass of champagne. If only 50 percent of all these new resolutions would materialize, our world would change beyond recognition. But the sad conclusion is that it is not very likely that we are going to transform our world. Most of us find it very hard to stick to our fresh commitments. Most of us let go again and fall back to the usual patterns.

Why is that?

Don't we believe that we can really change?

Changing habits is hard. And yet it is simple, too. Whatever we do begins with a thought. Whatever we give our attention to materializes. That is the problem and the solution at the same time. Based on our experiences, we are so used to seeing a certain reality that it becomes difficult to look at the same thing and see something different, something new -- a new possibility.

But we can begin with a new thought about our reality. We can focus our thinking and visualize a new outcome. Don't look at what you don't want anymore, just visualize something different. Focused attention several times a day for short instances can and will change lives. Think about your wildest dreams under the shower, in the bathroom, when you wake up and when you go to bed. Change doesn't require time, it does require attention.

And maybe that's where we go wrong so often. We use our will to change our patterns. So we now go to the gym every other day instead of once a week. Change becomes an agenda item. But our will cannot succeed if we don't redirect our mind as well. So these quiet "under the shower" moments of visualization are crucial to create lasting change.

There are many books about this. I recently read an old one again: Creating Money by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer. The book is not really about money, it is about changing your reality through changing your perspectives.

Stories of people who succeeded in radically changing their lives can also support your efforts. Here are two of my favorites:

Susan Boyle was just an ordinary woman from some lesser known town in England. Yet she dreamed of becoming a famous singer. And she did. You probably have seen this video before. Watch again if you want to transform your own life like she did hers.

Or see this video about Oscar Pistorius, the fastest man on no legs.

Happy New Year!

And, by the way, if you are interested in a fresh look at the role money plays in our lives, join Ode for a conversation with the CEO of ING Direct, Arkadi Kuhlmann, on February 1st in San Francisco and online. Click here for details about this event.

For more by Jurriaan Kamp, click here.

For more on success and motivation, click here.