New Year’s Resolutions – Why They Don’t Work

I’ve read many articles over the last several weeks about New Year’s Resolutions.  Most of them talk about how you fail year after year because you aren’t setting goals.  The reality is that most of the New Year’s Resolutions ARE goals.  These resolutions aren’t much different than the goals you set throughout the year, and struggle to keep, and often fail (although there is much to be learned through failure).  I’d like to share some thoughts with you about how you might achieve better results  in 2011.

Your New Year’s Resolutions express sincere and genuine intentions.  They are based upon your dreams, wishes and hopes for your future and the future of your families.  Often they are developed because of your desire to eliminate or reduce problematic behavior; behavior you may often view as a sign of weakness and wrap in a sense of shame.  You assume that by eliminating this behavior, you will accomplish your goals.  And, when you don’t meet the goals, you may  look outside of yourself quite frequently at how others may have curbed the change in some way, obstacles that got in the way, or beat yourself up because you didn’t have the will-power or self-control to make it happen.

When viewed in this context, you can see why your resolutions rarely lead to significant change despite your clear and focused intentions. 

What you aren’t taking into consideration are those deep-seated beliefs you hold that may be getting in the way.  You need to look internally at the commitments you have made to yourself over the course of your life that stop you cold when working to facilitate change.  They create an enormous force field that resists change in many aspects of your life.  You developed them as a way to protect yourself, and the behavior you are trying to change is an effective and often brilliant way to do that.   

We are complex beings.  When you recognize you have multiple and competing goals/intentions, you increase the possibility of making significant changes because you finally understand what makes change so very difficult. 

It is fairly easy to recognize the behaviors you may have embarked on as protective measures.  It is far more difficult to determine why you developed them.  Here is the question.  What do you believe about yourself or situations that occur that you hold as truth.  And is that truth valid?

Are you confused yet?  Let me give you an example.  I have made a New Year’s Resolution to commit to right eating, physical vitality, and resulting better health.  There are way too many behaviors I identified that stops me from fulfilling that goal to list here, but if you are interested let me know and we can talk about them.  The interesting part of this exercise is that when I looked at the reasons underlying the behaviors, I squirmed in my seat quite a bit.  This process made me very uncomfortable.   Some of the reasons:  I made a commitment a long time ago that 1) I would never look disheveled or less than professional when I am out in public.  2) Exercising interferes with my work time.  3) Exercising interferes with my relaxation time.  4) Not enough time in the day to do everything I have committed to doing.  5) I would rather read, learn and gain knowledge. 6) Etc.   

What I learned by looking deep within me:  My truth is that I believe “If I don’t work hard, I am nothing.  Exercise and physical health is not going to “get me anywhere”. “   That blew me out of the water!  Of course that is not truth – but it gets in my way EVERY time. 

Here is the good news – by being aware of my assumptive truth now, I am better able to take the steps to do what I need to do to keep my commitment to myself to eat right, exercise and increase my physical vitality.  The TRUTH is – without keeping this commitment, I am unable to “get where I want to go” because I will not be healthy enough to do so.  And, it’s my intention to be around a very long time!

Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.

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