5 Reasons New Year's Resolutions Don't Work (and what to do instead!)

New Year’s Resolutions run rampant this time of year. We get all jazzed up about making changes we haven’t succeeded in making in the past.

Do we have good intentions? Yes, I believe our hearts are in the right place but what makes you think this year will be the year you’ll lose the weight, repair that damaged relationship or make the kind of money you want?

Let’s be clear. I’m definitely not saying you can’t do the things you want. I’m a personal development coach, for goodness sake. Of course you can. I have proven strategies for creating change—for getting the results you want— coming out of my nose and ears.

But if all we needed were strategies we’d have achieved our goals, our resolutions, last year like we’d planned.

Strategies are a dime a dozen. They’re everywhere and most of them are really effective. Visit your local library and you’ll be up to your eyeballs in books on strategies for goal setting and achieving.

So why don’t you have the results you want?

Achieving what you want it NOT about the strategies, it’s about how you think and feel (which comes before you act … which is why you didn’t take action. Or if you did take action, why it wasn’t effective).

That’s the rub.

The answer to your situational challenges—typically—does not lie in making New Year’s Resolutions.

Why? Because they never worked for you in the past.

Why? They are usually very charged ideas with the remembrance of what went wrong, not what went right. Resolutions can be harsh reminders of all the stuff we didn’t do. And that … feels terrible. The sting of the thought alone is enough to cause major internal damage.

New Year’s Resolutions in and of themselves are not the problem. We … (and our emotionalized memories) are the problem. We attach emotionalized ideas to words and concepts.

If making resolutions works for you … keep on keeping on! This post is not for you. This post is for the ones who make resolutions, never keep them and want to finally make a change.

Here are a few of the typical challenges I see with New Year’s Resolutions:

1) You don’t really mean it. You had a few too many drinks when you stated your goals last night and it was important to you that others saw you as dedicated and ambitious so you said what you needed to to look good.

2) You’re totally freaked out and have no idea how you would ever even begin to move forward on the things you want. You are in chaos— internally, so you feel stuck—externally. You have no idea what your next best move is. Thus, you don’t move at all. Fear is paralyzing.

3) While your publicly stated goals sounded awesome when you said them, you know …. deep down … you lack the self confidence to take action and you (if we’re being honest) don’t believe in your ability to accomplish your dreams and goals. While you look confident on the outside, you never honestly take any action because you don’t believe in yourself.

4) The goals you stated aren’t really what you want. You said them because they sounded good and you like to appear impressive to others. You’ve been taught that your worth—as a human being– is based on your actions. You’ve been praised for what you’ve done your whole life. You want to be loved and admired, just like everyone does, so you pledge to take lots of action. You’ve got at least 6 months before the people who heard your plan come around again and ask, “How’s it going with “x”?

5) You felt pressured to say something … anything. So you restated what you heard this really motivational person say the other day. It felt really good to ride on the coattails of their dreams for the moment.

So, if you don’t make resolutions …. what DO you do?

You know you want your life—your health, wealth and happiness—to get better. You want to feel less anxious, stop getting angry at the smallest things, reduce your discomfort at the thoughts of being less than and deeply desire to be less stressed about trying to “make it all happen”.

1) Stop looking around, in the outside world, and look in.

Without a shred of evidence that you are actually going to achieve what you say you want (when you finally figure what “that” is) … make a decision.

Yes, I said … Make. A. Decision.

Use these words if you’d like, “I will do (insert decision here) in 2016.”

But do not just say the words like you did last year, decide that you’re going to line up with the thoughts emotionally, too.

Hint: If just stating the new decision mentally makes you FEEL anxious, that’s your very overt clue you have a deep believe in an opposite statement. In order to FEEL anything, we must have a belief about the topic we’re thinking about. When you state something you want … then feel doubtful, scared or anxious, it’s because you have a belief that says you can’t or won’t or aren’t worthy. Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel the way you do. You’d feel good and “harmonious” with the statement. Desire should feel good, not bad. If your desires feel bad when you think about them you are not in alignment with them and you’re slowing down the manifestation.

Now, do not tell anyone!

Do not broadcast your decision to your friends, family or even strangers. Keep it to yourself.

Why? Because decisions are NOT about what you say, they’re about what you do. Line up with that decision internally first by feeling good about it, then externally with inspired action … when the time is right.

Whether you like it or not, others have heard you say that you’re going to do something in the past which you haven’t done. And … they are all too happy to remind you of your failures.

So, don’t tell them. You don’t need their praise or their approval. They are not the ones motivating you anyway. When you are lined up emotionally with a desire you have, motivation and inspiration are natural byproducts. They don’t come from outside, they are mechanisms unleashed from inside.

Chances are good that the people you tell about your decision who also remember you tend to not do what you say, will naturally pull you down. Misery does love company.

They’d tell you to “be realistic” which just means “focus on the past”. Focusing on the past never, EVER helped anyone create the future.

2) Once you’ve made the decision, do not expect ANYTHING to change (right away). The trick to “manifesting” something new— a new body, a new friend, a new job, a new house— is to alter your internal environment (your internal “climate”) and then expect nothing to change.

Say what?!?!

Yup. Expect nothing to change at first.

I’m such a rogue personal development coach aren’t I?! 

The external reality can only change when you are secure in the truth that you have changed. If you are secure in your truth—that you will be successful at this thing you say you want without reality needing to change first—then you don’t NEED the proof of it to make you feel good. You feel good first, in the knowledge that it is happening even if you can’t yet see it.

Then … as if my magic … reality changes. Poof!

This is the way reality gets created, folks, whether we like it or not: inside-out.

3) Settle in to your new, more calm internal climate. You do not NEED situations or circumstances to change in order to KNOW they will—at some point in time.

When? I have no idea. I’m being totally honest with you here. I can’t tell you when things will change. No one can. Not even you. This is the precise fact that causes so much anxiety for us as humans—not knowing the future.

Allow reality to change after you have changed. You always get what you need … when you need it … and not a moment before.

I know this is frustrating and unsettling. But when you realize that if you knew the ending of your story and all the chapters from here on out … you’d be bored. You like being a creative person, making a life for yourself.

You don’t want to eat all the pizza you’re ever going to eat today. You’d be too full and probably sick. You also don’t want to know all the things that are in the pipe line for your life today. You’d be too overwhelmed.

This is why you don’t have what you think you need in this moment … because you don’t need it. If you did, you’d have it.

This is physics, practical and very logical.

4) Once you’ve established your new, more stable internal climate, start intentionally looking for the miracles.

If you’re looking for miracles and lined up with them mentally and emotionally, you’ll feel excited as opposed to scared. Looking for dragons is scary; looking for miracles is exciting. Expect miracles on a daily basis the same way you expect the sun to rise up in the morning: obvious. Look out onto the landscape of your life and SEEK the “miracles”.

If the word miracles feels too heavy, just use the words “really cool stuff”. The simple act of looking for really cool stuff to happen outfits you with the precise kind of vision you need to see it.

5) Believe it. (Don’t laugh. This is the secret ingredient.) Did you know that belief is the basis of your reality? It’s true. What you believe to be true for YOU is what you experience in life.

This is why all 7 billion of us are all having such unique and specialized experiences. We create our experiences based on what we believe to be true for us.

Oh sure, you and your neighbor might both be divorced women in your 50’s or corporate climber’s in your 20’s, but the details and how you perceive your lives are 100% yours. No one can see the world like you do—NO ONE.

Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions this year, just make a decision. Start simple.

Start making changes to your internal reality BEFORE you start rearranging your external one. It’s so much easier when you do it this way.

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