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New Year Resolutions; Why do New Year Resolutions rarely work?

The answer may be as simple as: we don’t expect them to!

Henry Ford is quoted as having said “whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are probably right.”

I feel another reason maybe that we start them at a time of year when it is particularly difficult to focus on anything new, we are in the darkest time of year, the chaos of Christmas and the couple of months beforehand are still very much alive, we can be tired, vulnerable and in hibernation mode.

Many of us can relate to year in and year out making the same resolutions and by the end of January they are all a distance memory and subconsciously we feel like we have failed AGAIN!  

That said, change is always possible, and having things to motivate us is really important.

We simply need to do it in the right way at the right time and for the right reasons.

How do we make changes this year so we can achieve the things we want to and feel the way we want to.

I personally begin to envision and focus on the year ahead at the start of February or at least after the Lunar New Year also known as Chinese New Year.  Imbolc/ St Brigid’s Day have always felt significant for me. For ancient Celts this marked the beginning of Spring although interesting it is believed that for them New Year began at Samhain (Halloween). When we reach Imbolc - Snow drops are starting to appear and nature is beginning to emerge after all the work that has been done beneath the surface over winter.

I like to focus on a vision for the year, by creating a vision board, this helps me to get clear on what my intentions are and on how I want to feel. I also focus on few specific goals; this helps balance the yin & yang energies within me.

A lovely activity to do with children is to get them to choose their word for the year and create a vision board as family included pictures and words that are important to you all.

Here are some other tips

·        Set goals, instead of resolutions – then create a step by step plan to achieve your goal.

·        Include some intentions – My intention this year is to have more fun.

·        Make them fun, enjoyable and rewarding.

·        Remove the word “try”, sounds simple however it is powerful.  By saying “ I am going to be healthier” rather than “I am going to try to be healthier” you are making a commitment to yourself.

Try gives us permission not to succeed

Do or do not, there is no try “ – Yoda-Star Wars.

·        Focus on what you do want, rather than what you don’t want.

·        Do it because you “want” to, not because you “have” to.

·        Get support from people who will encourage and motivate you.

·        Spend time focussing on the feeling- How will you feel when you achieve your goal?

Use as much description as possible, and focus on the positive feelings.

·        Think about getting the support of a life coach.

·        Read some personal development books around goal setting and how to make it work for you.

·        Make your goals specific and achievable/believable, they can always evolve and change as you do.

·        Set yourself up for success so be realistic.

·        Connect with your why.

·        Remember feelings are our best motivator.

Here are some examples that might be helpful.

“When I walk 3 times I week, I will feel proud of myself for prioritising the time to support my health I will feel fitter and more mobile.  My physical and mental health will improve.”

“When I prioritise the quality of my sleep it will make a difference to my energy levels and my emotional wellbeing.”

“When I reduce my screen time, I will have more time to read the books that I want to read and communicate with the people around me. “


You may also wish to focus on "less doing and more being". 

Resting is one the greatest gifts we can give ourselves so maybe this year instead of focussing on what more you can do, see if you can aim to do less, to slow down, to increase quality time with the people you love(including you).

In the month's ahead I will be sharing some offerings through both Changing Cycles and Try The Alternative that may just be what you need, however first it's a gentle feel into 2024 and what it might offer.

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