Jason Diani, Chairman of the Board - Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce

Happy New Year!  I have always loved the feeling of a new year and the opportunity to start anew.  As 2010 comes to an end and we look back at the year that was, it’s time to start thinking about what’s in store for 2011.  While the economic outlook for 2011 is not perfect, financial experts have started to bump up their predictions for growth in 2011 as consumer spending is on the rise, and deals have been made regarding taxes and unemployment.

As individuals we may not be able to control the big picture of the economy, but we do make an effort to make our lives better in the New Year by making big plans and New Year’s Resolutions.  Like most, I am not very good about making and/or keeping resolutions, but I do take the time to review my personal and professional goals and make necessary adjustments.

The celebration of the New Year is one of the oldest holidays and was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago.  The New Year has not always begun on January 1st, and it doesn’t begin on that date everywhere today.  It begins on that date only for cultures that use the 365-day solar calendar that Julius Caesar developed in 46 B.C.

It is said that the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C.  Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.  With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future.  Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.

In modern times, the most popular New Year’s Resolutions pertain to good health and prosperity.  USA.gov listed the following as the most popular resolutions: drink less, get a better education and/or job, get fit, lose weight, manage debt, manage stress, quit smoking, save money, take a trip, and last…but not least…volunteer to help others.

Though many people make resolutions with enthusiasm it appears that most resolutions fail shortly after they have been made.  Some polls have stated that about 67% of adults make three or more resolutions.

The expert’s advice to keeping your New Year’s Resolutions are:

  • Choose a specific and realistic goal
  • Pick just one resolution
  • Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve
  • Start with small steps
  • Avoid repeating past failures
  • Remember that change is a process
  • Don’t let small stumbles bring you down
  • Get support from your family and friends
  • Renew your motivation
  • Keep working on your goals

We wish every one a prosperous New Year and please remember that whatever the goals are for your business in 2011 the wonderful staff at the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor and Convention Bureau are ready and able to assist you.  Please feel free to contact the Chamber for information on their services.