Welcome to a bright new year, filled with the promise that we will repeat pretty much every mistake we made in 2012 and 2011 and 2010 and…..you get the idea.

As I spoke with friends and colleagues during the fiscal cliff crisis in December, the common refrain from pretty much everyone was, “They’ve known about this for years, so why do they always wait until there’s a crisis before they do anything about it?” And I thought the message would be equally clear if all my interlocutors substituted “we” for “they.”

Let’s face it. People who make new year’s resolutions are usually vowing to address some problem they ignored in the year just ended. Losing weight, getting a new job, learning to ski and pretty much everything else we promise is essentially a to-do-list item that we failed to cross off the first time. Or the second.

So, instead of resolving to change, let’s resolve the issues that hang over us each year. The toxic employee? Gone. The slow-paying customer? Gone. Outdated inventory? Gone. These steps require relatively little effort, but the payoff will grow as the year unfolds.

Mark Twain is widely credited with saying one should eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen for the rest of the day. What if we could tackle something unpleasant, right here and now, to make our entire year better? Would we do it, or would we avoid the decisions until it was time to put together our resolutions for 2014.

None of us can change the fact that, 365 days from now, the calendar is going to make another turn and, if we are lucky enough to see it, we will have used up one more year of our lives.  The thing we can change is the problems we carry with us over that time.

Politicians aren’t the only people who kick the can down the road.