By Brian Mitchell, CEO & Managing Partner.

Another calendar year is in the rearview and the possibility of a fresh start is in front of us. It’s a new year and a new you! Or is it? Let’s face it, this transitional time – a day, a month, an annual period – is arbitrary as it relates to any “new day” or “ new you” reflection point. The time of year is irrelevant. What matters is you. What is different in you, right now, that would suggest a change should be made? What is different in you, right now, that would suggest a change could be made? How could you improve some personal or professional aspect of your life? Why is it important to you? What are you willing to give (or give up) to achieve this change? How can you ensure it sustains?

Yes, these are broad transferrable questions, both practical and introspective but necessary to understand. If you don’t have a burning desire to change, to improve, then it’s difficult to achieve anything meaningful and/or sustained. If it’s not truly “important” by your own definition, then the odds are against you.

You’re going to wake up one day and be 60. Are you going to launch your entrepreneurial startup then? If it’s important, get going on it now. If not now, when?

You’re going to wake up one day and be married for 20+ years. If it’s important to you, why not work more on that relationship now? If not now, when?

You want to learn to play guitar? Learn how to speak Chinese? Get your MBA? Get out of sales to become a teacher? Double your income? Whatever it is, if it’s important to you, it’s time to get going on it NOW. If not now, when?

And if your “new you” goals are less grand, they can ironically be more difficult to achieve. Subtle shifts are easy at first but most people fail to stick to “new year’s resolutions” like working out, not watching TV, volunteering once a month, work an hour more each to get ahead (or perhaps working an hour less each day to reduce stress). But even though we all know that sticking to small improvements leads to big, cumulative changes, most still fail to follow through. There is a direct correlation between our personal failure to follow through (on our own smart ideas) compared to the level of importance which we hold the results we say we desire.

If it’s truly important to you, you’ll start now. Start your plan, build an outline, perform due diligence, get going. How will you hold yourself accountable to drop an unproductive habit or develop a productive habit? How will you ensure you’re not building the same wish list this time next year? You have great ideas and big dreams, but you must take action or they’ll never self-actualize. Don’t put it off. Start your journey today. Document your objectives in big, bold, visible writing and read it to yourself every day when you wake up and before you go to bed. Ingest your goals so they become a part of you. Desire creates focus, focus stimulates action, action leads to results.

I realize this is a bit of a lecture but I received similar preaching at a couple of points in my life and career and it has made all the difference. Happy New Year…if not now, when?