I’ve heard it said that by the end of January, over 90% of individuals who make New Years resolutions don’t remember what they were. Why is this so?

People are often sincere, however, they are not yet in the right place for big changes in their lives. Many others want to continue same behaviors, such as eating the wrong things, and still reap the rewards of increased levels of energy and weight loss.

The most important question for you is… are you ready for a change? And, if the answer is “yes,” the second question is… how ready are you?

You have your own pace. I respect that in you. I hope you do too. Too many folks know they need to make a change and beat themselves up because they are not on the schedule they feel they “should” be on. You’re on the schedule you’re on.

The “New Year” provides symbolism for “clearing out the old” and “bringing in the new.” In that capacity alone, it is a golden opportunity for a fair review of your life. But, if there’s one thing I’d wish for you it would be that this year you take your learning to a new level. A year is too long to wait to complete a personal inventory. Several of you will have a few too many drinks on New Years Eve to really be serious about personal change.

And life truly is too short. Do you only clean your house once each year? I suggest you utilize the symbolism of the New Year to evaluate your life every 3-6 months.

Cleaning yourself out, making yourself new is a wonderful gift to give yourself and those around you. Don’t you think?


1. Are you ready to make a change?

2. On a scale of 1-10, ten being powerful desire, how ready are you? If you are at 7 or above you’re ready to begin on your goal. If you’re a 6 or below, ask yourself, “What needs to occur for my passion to rise above 7?”

3. Why are you considering making this change?

4. Do you feel an increased level of energy when thinking about this goal?

5. Have you considered what tools/resources you will need to accomplish this goal?

6. Can you see what your life looks like once you’ve accomplished your goal?

7. Are you ready to make your goal known to family, friends, God… for support and accountability?

8. Have you written your goal down in explicit detail?

9. Have you set a start-time and an end-date for the goal in mind?

10. Do you have a heartfelt commitment towards this goal?

11. Is this goal in alignment with the what’s in your best interest, and the best interest of those around you?

12. Are you willing to do “the work” it will take to accomplish this goal?

There you have it! A twelve-step guide for discerning personal transformation. Print it out and keep it handy throughout your new year and beyond. If the questions fed an already burning fire inside you towards that next change in your life, that’s fantastic. I look forward to hearing of your success.

If the questions assisted you in knowing that now is not quite the right time to move on a new goal, then I wish you patience, gentleness and self-acceptance in the new year.

Dave Turo-Shields

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  • Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW is an author, university faculty member, success coach and veteran psychotherapist whose passion is guiding others to their own success in life.

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