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Why Your Resolutions Won’t Work & How to Create Real, Lasting Change

Posted by on January 2, 2016 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Thrive with 6 Comments

new year's resolutions

By Angela Holton |

“I can affect change by transforming the only thing that I ever had control over in the first place and that is myself.” ~Deepak Chopra

As the New Year quickly approaches, many of us spend time in review and reflection of the past year’s events and initiate strategic planning for the upcoming year.

We create and contemplate lists of resolutions, often featuring some of the same goals from the previous year. But we convince ourselves that this is going to be the year for change and transformation.

So, on January 1st, we arise, excited and committed to our new or repeated goals of exercising regularly, eating healthy, waking up earlier, taking a new class, searching for a new job and career, saving money, releasing bad habits, and the list goes on and on.

Yet, by Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the thrill and fervor have dwindled, and by mid-year our resolutions have fallen by the wayside—and our lives look exactly as they did the previous year.

For several years, I was painfully stuck in my own life. I desperately sought change, but did not know how to transition myself out of a city that had been home for eighteen years.

Although I decided each year that this would be my last year living in New York and that I would find my purpose and calling, each year I found myself renewing my lease and still selling real estate.

I became increasingly dissatisfied with my life, constantly yearning for the things and people I thought would make me happy.

But, nearly four years ago, I made the most important decision of my life: to authentically grow and change myself and my life from the inside out.

Once I began the internal work to create peace and change within myself, through a self-taught meditation and gratitude practice, the external landscape of my life began to slowly change.

I am now happily living on a paradise island and doing work that fulfills my heart, my life, and my purpose.

Why Resolutions Don’t Work and Intentions Do

Wouldn’t it be great if writing our resolutions also gave us the power, discipline, and determination to achieve our goals? Well, unfortunately it doesn’t. Our commitment to our resolutions can fade as quickly as the ink fades from the paper.

Resolutions do not work for us because more often than not, they include making changes to behavior and objects that exist outside of us. Until we change what’s on the inside, we cannot change what’s on the outside.

Eventually, we will go back to making the same choices, whether consciously or unconsciously. As the late, sage spiritual teacher, Dr. Wayne Dyer often quoted, “When you squeeze an orange you get orange juice because that’s what’s inside of you.”

If there’s anger, fear, low self-worth, jealousy, resentment, or other negative beliefs inside of us, even if we attempt to change the skin to our fruit, shine and polish it, or plant and grow it in a different location, what comes out of will still be what’s on the inside.

A resolution will never create a lasting transformation if we don’t change the root and inside of our fruit (our heart).

Even the word itself, “resolution,” implies “a firm decision to do or not do something, to be absolutely resolute.” This allows no fluidity or flexibility.

When we lovingly embrace and accept ourselves, focus our attention on what we want instead of what we don’t want, and set fluid intentions for the New Year, we are more likely to naturally flow toward choices that are aligned with our goals and achieve our desired results.

8 Steps To Create Real and Lasting Change

1. Love and accept yourself.

Change doesn’t come by berating, judging, and criticizing ourselves; it comes from lovingly accepting the things we cannot change and growing each day to change the things we can.

This does not mean we cannot improve. It means that we are lovable where we are. Wherever we’re starting from is the perfect starting place. Practicing self-love is paramount to creating transformational shifts in our lives.

Be kind, patient, gentle, and compassionate with yourself. Treat yourself as you would a two-year old child.

I used and continue to repeat this powerful affirmation daily:

 “I deeply and completely love and approve of myself. I accept the things I cannot change and grow to change the things I can.”

Whenever I feel fear, doubt, insecurity, or anxiety, I repeat this over and over silently in my mind and it engenders the most calming effect over me.

 2. Practice self-awareness.

If we are not aware of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs, likes, dislikes, or fears, then we are missing the starting place for change.

Consider spending time in quiet meditation and reflection, asking yourself, “What are my deepest fears and insecurities? Who am I still angry with and whom do I need to forgive? Whose approval am I seeking? Who will I disappoint if I change or succeed? What do I see and feel when I look in the mirror? And where did I learn it?”

Being fully aware of who we are and what we believe will help us end self-sabotage, make clearer choices, and create change in the present and future. Put on some calming music, light some candles, and bring a journal to your meditation. Write honestly and fluidly. Don’t think too much. Allow the pen to be the speaker of your subconscious.

3. Change old, negative beliefs into new, empowering beliefs.

Many of us hold unconscious, negative beliefs that we learned as children from our parents, grandparents, teachers, leaders, cultural and religious institutions, or the media.

Our actions stem from our beliefs. If our current belief is “I am too old and boring to find happiness,” then our brain will guide us, whether consciously or unconsciously, to find evidence that supports this belief, and our choices will reinforce it.

We can change this belief by first creating an affirmation that reflects the new belief we want to adopt, such as “I am youthful, healthy, and full of energy and vitality, and my life is filled with joy and pleasure.”

Then we can search for evidence in our lives to support this different, positive belief, such as “I went for a run this morning,” “I had fun at a party last week,” “I enjoy going to the movies and museums.”

Additionally, we can make a conscious choice to search for activities and experiences that align with our new belief, such as electing to spend time with friends that inspire and uplift us, taking up a new class or hobby, joining a club or organization, or volunteering with children.

Through our focused attention, and with time and practice, our new belief becomes embedded into our subconscious minds, and we begin to search for people, opportunities, and experiences that match it.


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6 Reader Comments

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  1.' Dorel Albutiu says:

    Indeed is one thing knowing intellectually that set of resolutions and having it on paper, and completely another thing being what we know intellectually. Once fully aware we will get what was that we wanted in the first place.

  2.' Melissa Graham says:

    My resolution was to start eating healthier and I am going to stick to it no matter what. I actually just recently started using this recipe book that I found on the internet,its all about eating healthy for cheap and still being able to make food that tastes good. Some of the recipes are actually really freaking good and they are still healthy plus I have lost a few pounds :). I would recommend if you are trying to eat healthy or want to start that you read this

  3.' Joshuahn Jackstonburg says:

    I know many people whose resolutions worked.

  4.' Stephen Akers says:

    Forming a good habit.

  5.' Judy Ramos says:

    To just be Me

  6.' Lynn Bracken says:

    I have new resolutions this year. School,myself being happy with me. Happy eith others.??

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