For the New Year, Go Big or Go Home

By Lisa Sugarman

So here were are. The ball dropped right on cue and we got our hard reset. The one we all wait for, sometimes even pray for when the New Year comes. That magic moment when the switch gets flipped and everybody gets a do-over. A mulligan. A clean slate.

Ok, less than two weeks in and what are we supposed to do now?

Now I don’t want to harsh your mellow, especially when you’ve got such good intentions and you’re all amped up, but those quirky stats guys say the actual percentage of people who follow through with all their resolutions is shamefully low. So low that the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology says that out of the 45% of people who actually make resolutions, only 8% of those people are actually sticking with them. That’s pretty weak. But not to worry, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought and I’m pretty sure I’ve got the whole thing figured out.

We’re all capable of change. And we’re all certainly capable of great things. I think what’s happened is that most people either don’t know it or they’re too afraid to admit it. People tend to go about change the wrong way, worrying too much about overloading themselves with expectations and commitments, when that’s actually exactly what they should be doing.

From what I see, there’s a real trend nowadays of people keeping the bar low so they don’t have to work that hard to clear it. But what they’re missing is, the higher they raise the bar, the higher they’ll realize they want to go

That’s why I’m convinced that the key to sticking with all of our great intentions and resolutions, is simply realizing that we need to quit doing things so piecemeal. Enough of this gradually-putting-our-toe-in-the-water crap. We need to cannonball right into the deep end and then sink or swim.

We need to go big or go home.

It’s like the advice my ski buddy Vince used to give me right before we’d drop onto an icy headwall: Commit to the fall line. And, as always, Vin was right. Because the more you give in to the natural momentum and force that propels us all forward in life, the more that force will work with you to actually make the trip easier.

Are you still with me?

Look, we’re all designed with shoulders for a reason. That’s because we’re built to bear weight. The problem is, our culture has gotten too obsessed with lightening our own load by quick fixes, easy outs, and passing the buck, that we’ve forgotten that the only real way to accomplish anything anymore is to dig in and work for it. We’re meant to push the envelope. Remember, we’re at the top of the food chain for a reason. We evolved. And that’s because we had to. Life necessitated it. We had to persevere and work for it. We learned to gut it out, sweat it out, and figure it out to really accomplish anything. That’s the basis of human nature. We all want to accomplish things, especially when those things involve personal growth and triumph. Basic human nature has actually never changed, we’ve just gotten lazy and gotten used to quitting too soon.

If we really, truly want to cook these resolutions through, we need to turn the heat up. Way up. And that’s because people have given in to aiming too low. (Smarmy voice here) “Ohhhhhh, I’ll just focus on one resolution at a time. Don’t want to get too overwhelmed with change.” If that’s your attitude, then you’re coming at it from the wrong end of the field. To make big, capital improvements we sometimes need to rip things down to the studs and start from scratch.

So this time, resolve to go big. Or go home.

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at OR read her blog at

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