January is the time when everyone celebrates new beginnings. The Japanese get a complete set of new clothes—good clothes. Then they unceremoniously toss out last year’s outfit. In the west, new calendars offer a month for every hope and 365 days for every dream.

What did you dream last night?

New Year’s Resolutions

I have always used this time of year to reset my own priorities. I have two goals that never go out of style—weight change and exercise. I always write them down. Then I have mini goals that are steps on the way to achieving magnificient lifetime goals. These get written down at the top of the list. After my list is complete, I read it over several times. I sigh with deep satisfaction knowing they will miraculously be accomplished by January 1, next year.

So you can imagine how surprised I was to find out the statistical, cold, hard facts about New Year’s Resolutions. By the end of the very first week, 25% of “Resolutioners” drop out—hapless, hopeless victims left behind to gasp on the highway of life. But there’s a positive here. That means that 75% are still focused on the prize. I was heartened to learn that 64% made it to the end of February. The 11% drop out rate was akin to declining inflation, lessening unemployment or slowing weight gain.

Two months down, the remaining “Resolutioners” had just ten months to go. By July 1st, 54% had lost faith with their dreams. Given up. Washed up. Doomed. But that means that 46% are still on track. If you think about it, that’s good news. A “Resolutioner’s” statistical odds of success is about one in two of making it to July 1st. So it’s a relatively safe gamble—If you write down your dreams and make it past July... I feel excited just thinking about the possibilities of success.

But now, I’d like to invite you to become a Lifetime Resolutioner. You have a pretty good chance. Why not begin? First, take the “Three-Minute Life Vision Exercise”


Leonard Lang is a career and lifework coach who writes a popular e-zine. Wanting to match his e-zine topics to suit the interests of his readers, he decided to conduct a survey at year’s end. What career and job search concerns did they want to read more about? The results? To his surprise, information on resume writing and job search skills were not at the top of the list. What was? “How to stay motivated” was first and “How to determine your ideal career” was second.

So how do you get motivated? And more to the point, how do you maintain your motivation past the first week and past July 1st? New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Complete the “Three-Minute Life Vision Exercise.”

  2. Choose one “Top Priority Goal” for this year and write it in the space below.
  3. a) Write out seven or more reasons why you want to accomplish your goal.

How will you or others benefit?

b) What would you or others lose if you don’t accomplish this goal?

  1. Frame your “Life Vision.” Then frame your “Top Priority Goal.” Put them both where you will see them often.

  2. Make a detailed plan (Who, What, When, Where, How?). Show it to someone.

  3. Study everything about your goal. Then set up your environment for success.
  4. Begin a healthy lifestyle program. Strong motivation needs a strong body.

a. A healthy lifestyle includes a daily schedule for flexibility and balance (yoga), aerobics, strength training, and twenty minutes of sunlight.

And, according to Dr. Oz, the popular television host, research shows that 7:00 a.m. is the ideal time.

b. Eat five, healthy 300-400 calorie mini meals a day.

c. After a relaxing, electronics-free hour, sleep eight hours a night in a very dark room.

d. Be your own coach and cheerleader—Practice “success” thinking.

  1. Every morning, set aside five minutes to just sit and visualize your “Top Priority Goal.” Brainstorm imaginative ways to make progress toward your goal.

  2. Find a “Success Partner.” Or, gather a group of four, assign a scribe, and set aside half an hour per person. Then, brainstorm imaginative and common sense ways to progress toward each person’s goal. Meet every month.

  3. Track and record your progress.

  4. Reward yourself. Ask others to plan mini surprises for small and big milestones.


Marie-Louise von Franz who worked with Carl Gustav Jung, spoke about the following dream of a dying woman: The woman told the nurse in the morning after breakfast, “Last night I had a strange dream. I dreamt that there was a candle on the windowsill. It was slowly burning down and it began to flicker. I panicked and thought, ‘My God, now the great darkness is coming, the great darkness is coming.’

And then, suddenly, there was a change, and the candle was outside the windowsill on the outer part of the window and was big and burning quietly again.”

Four hours after that she died.

  1. So, if you fall off your path because you feel frustrated, anxious, bored, sad, tired or lonely, and find yourself munching a bunch of buttered popcorn in front of the TV hour upon mindless hour, try to learn from your setback. Don’t rail against your weak-willed ways. Instead, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, take a match . . . light a candle . . . and remember the woman’s dream, and realize that that tomorrow . . . you can start all over again.

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