Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work

new-year-3667925_640.jpg

The silly season is over and for some, New Year’s resolutions were probably made. It’s a couple of weeks into 2019 and I wonder how many of you have already broken them. 

The problem with these resolutions is they are often goals made up through a thinking process rather than a feeling process.

I know this, because it’s exactly what I used to do. Every year I would take time out to slow down, reflect on my life and think about the direction I was headed. I would look back over the past year and think about what I learned, how I had grown and what still needed to be achieved. This seemed like a responsible and efficient process that would help me to plan my next moves. Surely I couldn’t fail if I put all this work into it.

Wrong!

This became a confronting exercise for me because it always seemed to show that I hadn’t done enough. The days and months had slipped away before I managed to help enough people or make the difference I wanted to make in the world. So I would plan for the following year with bigger and better goals to compensate for my perceived lack of results. 

I told myself I had to be busier and fit more into my already over-committed schedule to achieve the success I was looking for. The trouble was that although my intentions were honourable, the reality was there just weren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in. Not without becoming a stressed out basket case anyway.

I am older and wiser now. 

I soon realised that being busier was not the answer. I learned that in order to achieve more, what was actually needed was for me to slow down. It is impossible to make a difference when you are burned out. In all of my planning, I never allowed enough time to just sit and contemplate. 

It had always felt like I was slacking off if I did nothing.

However, without going inside to connect with my heart and seeing what was there, I was missing the vital link to my success. Not only was I not honouring myself as a human being and understanding my true needs, I was not allowing time to explore my options – see if I was truly on the right path. 

It is so important to look after yourself before you can look after others. How can you make a difference to someone else if you don’t have your own act together?

I discovered that the more I slowed down and really felt into what I should be doing next, the insights I received were so much more relevant and helpful. Instead of being in my head all the time, when I started to feel instead of think, my body started to show me what I’d chosen to ignore. If part of me didn’t feel right, I intuitively explored the meaning behind it, and these physical cues became vital to my understanding of when something wasn’t going to work for me. 

For the first time, I experienced how the mind, body and soul all work together, and between them knew much more than my ego did.

We are constantly surrounded by situations and people who are all there to distract us from our real purpose. They sometimes allow us to doubt our own abilities and it’s so easy to become caught up in that uncertainty. This can then lead to a belief that we are not capable. This is all just unnecessary noise, which overwhelms the silence within – the place where we discover the truth when we stop for long enough to listen.

Everybody knows in their own hearts what is truly best for them. The trouble with not trusting our own intuition is we often think our way out of doing the most empowering things for our growth, especially if it’s going to be hard. 

Sometimes it is necessary to do things that our logical mind doesn’t think are right, but it doesn’t have all the information. Only our heart knows what’s really going to work, and if growth has to be preceded by discomfort, then we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable because this is what will set us free.

We are all doing the best with what we have. Everything in life happens in divine timing so if you haven’t achieved everything on your list by the end of the year, don’t stress. It is probably because you are trying to do too much too soon - before you are ready. Perhaps you need to work on mindset first, let go of unconscious beliefs that have blocked you from making progress. The work you do on your personal growth is vital to the success of whatever it is you’re doing to make a living or to reach your ultimate personal goals. 

These days I look back over my year and am grateful for all the little things that happened because I can piece them together and understand how my journey is evolving. I see the big picture and I know I will only be given as much as I can handle as I navigate along my path. 

It’s all a process, but will happen faster if you can gain more self-awareness.

So if you don’t make it to the end of January without feeling inadequate, please don’t beat yourself up. Instead, give yourself a reassuring pat on the back that you are perfect just the way you are, and whether you realise it or not, you are already going through the motions of fulfilling the life purpose you chose before you were born. You set that intention and are always working towards it. The time frame and the method will just depend on your approach.

It is more satisfying to create your dream life through trust and acceptance rather than struggle and burnout. Don’t listen to other people – they all have their own agendas. The only person who’s going to get you to the finish line is you, so believe in yourself and your abilities. 

Always remember your heart knows what’s best for you and if you listen to it, then the personal freedom and fulfillment you crave can be yours.