A year from now you may wish you had started today.—Karen Lamb

This quote turned up on my Facebook page. A google search for Karen Lamb mostly turned up this quote, so I don’t know a lot about her, but as far as I can tell she wrote a self-published book called I Felt My Wings, about her spiritual awakening—a possibly wonderful book that does not interest me in the least. If you’ve read it, you can tell me about it.

But leaving Lamb’s path and considering only our own, this quote is a clear pointer towards the road to regret.

If you really want to do something, then you will want to do it as much on January 1, 2014 as you do today. And if you let another year slip by without doing it, what will you arrive at but regret?

People who write to Dear Abby fretting about something like going back to school often say something like, “It will take five years and I will be [insert age here] by the time I’m done.” To which Abby used to respond, “How old will you be in five years if you don’t do it?”

It’s going to be next year whether you do what you want to or not. 

Both taking action and not taking action risk regret, so no snappy slogan can guarantee you won’t look back and say, “I wish I’d done differently.” Deciding whether action or inaction is the right course can be difficult.

But you know when you know what you need to do. And then it’s time to apply one of my other favorite quotes, this one from oh-so-pithy Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

(Or, as Dear Abby also says:

Just for today…)

Start now and you will be that much closer to your goal by January 1, 2014. Don’t start now and you might just be a year closer to regret.

Happy New Year, friends. Let’s get this party started.

Regret road sign photograph is available from Shutterstock.