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How I Mastered My New Year's Resolution... And How You Can, Too

December 3, 2015


It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I became a New Year’s Resolutioner. The Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012 had a big impact on me—the victims, their families, the offender, his family, the reasoning, all of it—it broke my heart. I was reeling with what I could do, how I could help, what in the world needs to change, and how to be a catalyst for change. This is what spurred my first New Year's Resolution. I pored over the numerous variables which factored into this particular tragedy. I considered my possible impact—if any at all—over the course of several days during my best moments for thought (shoveling snow from the driveway, collecting firewood, showering, and the interim between sleep and wake). Ultimately, I reached the distilled concept that led to my quest for resolution:


Darkness can only be overcome with light. How do I fill myself with light?


I concluded that the best thing for me was to act on every good urge/inkling/prompting the first time I receive the notion (never questioning it and not waiting till the second, third, or fourth time). In essence, by seeking to fill myself with light, I was seeking to hone the communication within me (intuition) and beyond me (God). It was a necessary stepping stone in my personal journey and a year filled with fantastic experiences. I’ll get more into that another time.

I viewed my resolution with devotion and confidence until I read one of my favorite bloggers post a million ambitious things she was planning to accomplish in the upcoming year. Suddenly I looked at my one goal and felt like a major underachiever. Yet as the year progressed, I was still focused on my one thing, and I was pleased with my journey as I became better at it and my opportunities for it grew. She, on the other hand, wrote a post late in the year about how crazy she was to place so many grand things on the horizon. She didn’t achieve a single one of them. 


I learned then about self-mastery and success with a long-term resolution. 

Let me spell out how I was successful and the steps you can take to also have a masterful new year.

1. Choose ONE thing to focus on


Make it Meaningful

There are countless worthwhile endeavors petitioning for your focus. It can be super energizing in the moment to stack 'em up and spell 'em out. But when you're facing a moment of weakness, multiple endeavors will be ringing for your attention all at once. Life will continue to ebb and flow. It may even be a roller coaster. If you are trying to do too much at once, your goals will get scattered like papers on a windy day.

Choose ONE that means something to you and hold it close.


This quote often runs through my mind:

prepare in times of strength for times of weakness.


Set your resolution when you’re feeling motivated. Get connected to it! Get juicy with it! Commit to it when you’re feeling driven to change. This is how you prepare in times of strength for times of weakness; the initial drive will pass, but you will have commitment to rely on.


Choose Something From Within Your Own Reigns

Do not make it conditional upon someone else.


For example: 
My focus for 2016 is to get a boyfriend... As fantastic and hopeful as that might be, it's not entirely up to you. Pave a successful path by focusing on what you can do without having to depend on someone else.



2. Get emotional with it


Emotion Will Ultimately Drive Your Decisions

Nothing is more motivating than your feelings. What motivates you? Love? Fear? Fun? Abundance? Scarcity? 

Ask yourself how you want to feel.


Knowing how you want to feel is a huge success factor in determining a resolution, intention, or goal. It really gets to the underlying why. Ultimately, we do what we do because of how it makes us feel. (Big thanks to Danielle LaPorte for driving home this lesson. She was a guest speaker at my school, and her powerful lecture offered major clarity. It's also spelled out in her book.)


Tragedy made me feel a whole host of feelings, and after much deliberation, I made the decision to employ something in my life based on how I wanted to feel. Believing that collective peace begins individually, I knew I wanted to feel in communion with my highest self and my higher power. 


If you're struggling to come up with something, consider completing the Circle of Life activity below that I use with my clients (designed by my alma mater). 


Place a dot on the line based on your satisfaction with each category. Once completed, connect the dots.

Outer circle= Satisfaction

Inner circle= Dissatisfaction


What surprised you? What would you most like to improve upon? Do you feel drawn to something in particular? Is it overcoming an old habit? Or employing a new or underused skill? Let this be your guide if you're looking for direction.


You may want to consider what's on the back burner of your mind. Set aside some quiet time for clarity if you have a problem to tackle. Also take note of your daydreams; their content provides the context for how you want to feel.


Impeach 'Should'

Should is a terrible motivator and an excellent procrastinator. I should lose weight. I should drink more water. I should learn how to use Photoshop. It’s always nagging at you, hanging over your head, and won't get done any time soon. Let it go.


Remove should from the throne.

It does not deserve to be your crowning motivator.

Instead, choose something powerful.



3. spell it out

Grab a pen and paper, cuz here we go!


Turn 'I want ' into 'I will'

...And it will become I do


First, ask yourself what you want.


For example:

I want to be light in a dark world.

I want to lose weight.

I want to have a better relationship with my mother.


Then, ask yourself how you really want to feel.


For example:

I want to feel in communion with myself and God.

I want to feel happy with myself when I look in the mirror.

I want to feel an authentic connection with my mother.


Next, pinpoint the emotion driving how you want to feel.


For example:

I want to feel in communion with myself and God=> enlightenment, fulfillment, purpose=> LOVE

I want to feel happy with myself when I look in the mirror=> confidence, appreciation=> LOVE

I want to feel an authentic connection with my mother=> desire, hope=> LOVE


Last, determine the course of action you will take.


For example:

I will act on my promptings the first time I receive them.

I will walk for 30 minutes each weekday.


Commit to Commit

You'll find greater success, more opportunity, and greater clarity if you base your habit change on commission versus omission.


For example:

To omit: I will refrain from saying unkind things to my mother.

To commit: I will tell my mother something I like about her each time we talk.


To refrain or withhold is a step in the right direction, and in some moments it's as much you can do. However, to achieve what you really want you must act with commission. 


Over time, I will turns into I do.

If we get down to it, the real endeavor is to strike out the word will from 'I will', leaving us with I {do}. This reveals the new habit. It also circles back around to what you want. 


For example:

I want to be light in a dark world.

I want to feel in communion with myself and God.

I will act on my promptings the first time I receive them.

I act on my promptings the first time I receive them.


I want to lose weight.

I want to feel happy when I look at myself in the mirror.

I will walk for 30 minutes each weekday.

I walk for 30 minutes each weekday.


I want to have a better relationship with my mother.

I want to feel love toward my mother.

I will tell my mother something I like about her each time we talk.

I tell my mother something I like about her each time we talk.


Be Concise

Draft your 'I will' statement to be short, sweet, and to the point. 

You need a clear verb (call to action) and specifics about timing (deadlines).


When you're concise, it doesn't leave room for excuses or disclaimers. When constructed so plainly, it will be effortless to remember throughout the year. For this reason, I recommend dismissing the word and from your statement. There is power in being succinct.


One more thing...



I know you're expecting me to address this, because accountability is always coupled with achieving goals. Trust me, I'm all for enlisting a buddy, hiring a coach, meeting with support groups, and shouting it from the rooftops. Every person and every scenario is different. You may find success from being accountable to those afore-mentioned. You may prefer to cultivate it quietly. I will tell you this much: 


If after following my formula you discover that your motivating emotion is love and you're committed to following it, then your process of self-actualization will evolve, and you will feel less compelled to be accountable to others. You will become more capable of trusting yourself. Therefore, you may be all you need for accountability to your New Year's Resolution. 


Be honest with yourself. Choose the form of accountability that's best associated with your goal and personality. You have many options leading you toward a successful resolution. And I am here to cheer you on.




I'd love to hear from you! Please drop me a line or leave a comment about your New Year's Resolution.

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