Start Your New Year Today | Jennifer Magley

Let’s try something. Read this silently:

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1...Happy New Year!”

Did you just hear a group of people counting down and cheering in your mind? Chances are, that same group of people sing “Happy Birthday” in your head when you recall the lyrics to the song. Perhaps in your mind, if you are not a singer, you do not even hear your own voice when thinking of a song?

Behold, this example is a taste of metacognition also commonly referred to as meta-knowledge. Metacognition happens when we are thinking about thinking or knowing about knowing. It is the concept of having awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes. 


As you thought about your thoughts, in counting down the New Year, did other thoughts come to mind? For about 40% of Americans, New Year’s is a time for reflection resulting in a resolution to change. Of those making resolutions the top ranking desires include: exercise, weight loss, and overall improvements in health

If the thought in our head is saying "make more money" or "move your ass" then let’s think about that thought. Before committing to this resolution let’s explore what else we may be committed to, let’s get meta.

Consider this action plan before aiming for the moon this New Year’s Eve:

Step 1-Gut Check

What is your greatest need? 

If your greatest need was met today would that take away the resolution?

Is it possible this area of weakness is a symptom of a greater issue?

For example, "I don’t workout because I don’t have time for myself." I can’t afford to take time for me can really mean = I am not worth investing in. In other words, I do not know my worth and this is personified in my lack of self care and unwillingness to place value on myself. 

Sometimes how you do every thing keeps you from doing one specific thing well. Take a step back and a deep breath, what do you want?

Deciding on one thing to focus on is the first step in resolving to change.

Step 2-Take Inventory

What has kept you from executing on your resolution before? 

How can you stop self-sabotaging?

Get ugly and list your bad habits. Write out every single reason why you have not been pursuing your forthcoming resolution. We need to be familiar with resistance, able to call it out by name before it rises up with a vengeance. 

When your list is done, on the other side write how you will overcome each habit proactively and retroactively.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” -Rephrased by Walt Kelly.

Step 3-Test Your Resolve

Sadly the last scientific experiment you may have done is standing (albeit on cardboard) in your mother’s basement in science fair eternity. Brush off those empirical skills and draft a hypothesis:

When I schedule my workouts in advance I complete them.

Now test this for a week. Is it true?

Deduct what is your real truth.

Then refine your method.

The more you begin to question your script, the story you tell yourself, the closer you will get to breaking through. Creating a new habit is challenging and replacing an old one takes resolve. A New Year's resolution is not a chance for the new you, it reveals the real you.

Jennifer Magley is a former professional athlete, speaker, author, and high performance coach. Article originally appeared on More information can be found at and videos on YouTube.