It’s mid-January and according to Business Insider, 80% of us are on halfway to failing our resolutions by February 1. If we knew how to fix it – and could – we would have done it already. Instead, most people are just beating up on themselves for not being good enough or strong enough to keep their promises to themselves.

I’d encourage you to think about your ancestors – or just take a look at the world. In the parts of the world where it’s cold and dark in January, everything is asleep. Animals are hibernating, seeds are too. And people aren’t much different. We drag a little more in January – not only because of the general sleepiness all around us, but also because we’ve just been through the frenzy of the holidays. Whether we enjoyed it or not, it’s exhausting.

January makes sense as a fresh start because it is a new year. It feels like the ideal time, but in truth, this is a rich time to be introspective. I see a lot of people who wonder what’s wrong with them because they have hit a low point. They have regrets and may be feeling sad. In truth, they’re right on track. The holidays can bring up a lot of feelings and it’s rich fertilizer for January ruminations. We have a choice with regrets – we can use them to beat up on ourselves or to grow. Regrets help us know what we’d like to change in our lives.

When I work with clients, one of my first questions is “What do you want?”

I have not had one client able to articulate an answer in a detailed way. Most don’t believe that what they truly want is achievable but without a belief in the achieve-ability and a plan to get there, that life they want sits untapped.

Beyond that, we put our desires into punishments and then expect willpower to muscle us through. Not a great recipe for success. For example: “In 2018, I want to get a promotion at work. But to get there, I’m going to have to put in more hours. And I need to take that class I’ve been putting off. I’m also going to need to step up and travel more even though I hate it.” Who looks forward to that?

What if this person looked at the end goal? WHY does s/he want a promotion? It may be that they want more income, more prestige, a better office, a different position more suited to their skillset. When we look at it from that perspective, it changes the whole landscape. Their goal and plan is drastically different. And probably a lot more enticing.

Winter is an ideal time to reflect, explore, define and refine your desires for the next year. Then begin to put the steps to get there into positive, achievable goals that you’ll look forward to working with. And don’t forget to create steps to get there and put it on your calendar.