As we enter 2011, many people use the first day of the year as a springboard for change. Resolutions are made to begin or end something in our lives, as though performing this feat at the turn of the New Year will guarantee a successful outcome. One might surmise that getting your “personal house” in order would certainly lead to elusive happiness, right? Is this change really necessary or is the answer we are seeking resting right under our noses?
Searching for the Obvious
Seneca, a Roman philosopher and advisor to Emperor Nero, believed that a person could live a happy life without fulfilling any of his desires, as long as he was a virtuous person. Since happiness is a moving target, it means different things to different people. Ask a person to define “happiness.” The answers will range from material items, such as a new house, powerful career or massive wealth to personal changes, such as weight loss, smoking cessation or earning or saving more money. It is interesting to note that the latter usually falls into typical resolutions made for the New Year. Take a look at these unusual resolutions made for 2011 here. Why do so many people set resolutions? It is thought that the New Year signals an awakening or rebirth that some may equate to a “starting point” for whatever opportunity that exists within their life. The first month of the calendar year has long been symbolic for new beginnings, a logical and comfortable place for most people to begin their transformation. If making a resolution will give a person a higher degree of success, why wouldn’t more people do it?
Seneca was also quoted to say, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” In 1998, “Closing Time,” a song by Semisonic used this very quote to describe regeneration or renewal. We decide that the New Year will be our “cure-all” and begin to set our resolutions. It’s all good, right? Statistics show that 40-45% of all American adults set resolutions each year. Usually, by the six month mark, more than half are destined to fail. Oddly, those who make resolutions are still 10 times more likely to enact positive change than those who do not. Some may say that success may be realized at any point during the year as long as these cautions are observed:
- Clearly define your goal.
- Assign a logical timeframe.
- Make it measurable and celebrate steps along the way.
- Write it down and look at it often.
- Make modifications to your timeframe if necessary.
- Burn it into your brain and see it as it’s already done.
- Enlist the support of others.
C. H. Parkhurst said, “Purpose is what gives life meaning.” I believe that “Hope gives life purpose!” While growing up, I remember using these items above to set and achieve my goals. I still use them today. Although not listed, hope is a necessary catalyst in achieving any goal or “resolution.” The desire and fire associated with hope can make the difference in winning and losing. You can be diligent and put a great plan together, only to have it fail in the end. Thus, the first five items on the list may not be as important as the last two.
The great thing about hope is that we usually get many chances to achieve our goals and realize our dreams. The carousel always seems to come around again. Will you be ready when it does?
With that, friends, I’ll leave you with this;
You’ve got to SEE positive to BE positive!
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