Why New Year’s Resolutions fail…and a better way to make a change.

Note: This is a guest post that Kel wrote for Nancy Sathre-Vogel’s blog, Family on Bikes. We wanted to make sure our WMC family saw it too. 

How’s your life been working for you this past year?

Did you achieve what you promised yourself at the beginning of the year?

If you’re like me and thousands of others you most likely made a promise to accomplish one of the Big Three resolutions: losing weight, paying off debt, or getting organized.

Chances are that resolution didn’t last past the middle of January.

The Problem with Resolutions

Most articles tell us that New Year’s resolutions fail because of unrealistic expectations or a lack of breaking down what we want into smaller, achievable goals. I think the over 90% failure rate by mid January is caused by two much deeper problems.

  • The first problem with making resolutions is that most of them focus on the negative, or what we no longer want. For most of the women I’ve interviewed (including myself), our frenetic, over-stimulated lives leave us feeling depleted. We already feel deprived and can hardly stand the thought of taking anything else away.
  • Many of the things we want to change in our lives are symptoms of a bigger issue.  Because we are run so ragged and feel so depleted, we try to sweeten our lives by eating sugar, hold on to things we no longer need because the media tells us we will never have enough, and buy things to help us feel more in control of our lives, all in an effort to soothe our exhausted, frustrated spirits.

Lynne Twist quote[pinit]

A Better Way to Change

At a particularly low point in life I realized that all the “symptoms” I didn’t like in my life were a result of a much bigger problem.  My whole life–every single second of it–was doing for others. I realized that I would never be able to make permanent change without first changing what I was focusing on.

And I did just that. I decided to focus on doing something I loved to do for at least one hour a day. That subtle shift in focus changed everything, including my weight, clutter and finances.

Why not make 2013 different? Start this New Year by first understanding what is really and truly important to you. 

What you focus on expands.

Start the year by taking some time to focus on your values.  Take 5 minutes and write down what is most important to you.  Prioritize them and narrow them down.  What makes you, you?  Are the things you value most being expressed in your daily life?  If not, make that your change.

We are all compassionate, creative people who are so willing to donate our time, money, and efforts to making the lives of others better.  Let’s make 2013 different by focusing on adding more of what we value most to our lives.  At the very least, focus on giving to yourself as much as to others this coming year. It’s a much better path to change.

We need to stop trying to “become” something other than who we really are. 

Instead focus on being fully, deeply, and purposefully yourself.


PS: We’ll be focusing on Values–determining our own values, how to live them, and how to protect and prioritize them–during January at our first 30 Day Focus workshop. We hope you’ll join us there too!

Kel Wilson

I am a wildlife biologist turned wife and mother, and more recently artist and blogger. It’s my mission to spread this idea to as many women as possible: Stop punishing and depriving yourself! You are so important, unique, and special! Start loving yourself enough to make the changes you need to find your happy place. Start doing this by adding something you love to your everyday life. I promise you, it will rock your world!

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