Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work and What to do Instead.

Are you the kind of person that makes New Year’s Resolutions for yourself and then by February you have already given up?   I use to do that!  In fact, I use to make several resolutions and would end up feeling horrible about myself because I couldn’t keep my word to myself.  It was a never ending cycle of self-sabotage.   Sometimes, I would even accomplish a short term goal, but upon completion I would not want to do the same goal again, because of the self torture I endured to reach said goal.  The result would be that I accomplished the goal, but did not accomplish making it into a life long habit.  Since then I have discovered 3 keys to achieving success with my goals and resolutions.

Key #1:     Make resolutions based on personal desires instead of shoulds.

How do you feel when someone forces you to do something?  I know for me that whenever someone forces, manipulates, or tries to guilt me into doing something, I want to do the opposite of what they want me to do.  In effect, this is exactly what we are doing when we make resolutions based on what we should be doing, instead of what we actually want to do.  Whenever our reason for doing something is external, we have to use guilt and force aka will power to make it happen.  We can only take that so long before our body rebels and we can’t push ourselves any longer.  The secret is to find the internal desire that will help us carry on, even when it gets difficult or monotonous.  If we do not have the internal desire we must discover it first.  I never make a goal about anything until I am clear about the internal reasons for doing so, and can feel the passion and desire burning within me.  And when that flame of desire is burning, there is no reason to wait for the New Year to make a resolution.  I can do it NOW!

Key #2:     Have a vision for where it is you are wanting to go.

Let’s look at the root word of resolution.  It is resolve.  When you make a resolution you are making a resolve to change something in your life that is no longer working for you.  In order to change what is no longer working, you must be able to see what you want to create instead.  This is the principle that Stephen Covey teaches so well.  It’s what he calls seeing the end from the beginning.  When you are visualizing what you want to create, it is more powerful to involve all the senses.  What does it feel like to accomplish this desire?  How does it look, taste, smell, effect myself, my family, the world?  Include everything you can.  And then write it down.  Hang a picture of it around your house.  Remind yourself about it often.  I even like to record my voice and listen to my visualization.  I also keep myself open to the possibility that there is something even better than what I can see.  When you keep this vision in front of you all the time, you can’t help but succeed.

Key #3:     Take inspired Action.

Now that you have the desire and have resolved to create a new pattern in your life, let it go.  By letting it go, I do not mean to stop thinking about it.  I simply mean do not force the change.  It will come in it’s time.  Chances are, you will need to go through a process of letting everything go that is creating resistance to this change.  This will take time.  You have planted a seed and need to nourish it in order for it to grow.  Whenever a thought, belief, or emotion comes up that is holding you back from the goal, let it go and remind yourself of what you know is coming.  This is called faith.  Do take inspired action.  If you have a positive thought to do something, do it.

Love and internal desire are the only true and long term motivations to achieve anything.  Love yourself enough to create lasting change and results in your life.  If you don’t do it, who will?