Regular blog on the concepts of focus and self mastery, published every Tuesday.
Visit my website for more info!

Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work – Spiritually Speaking

A New Year’s resolution is based on what you know you need to do. What it’s not based on is what you actually want to do and therein lies the problem.

It’s really hard to make yourself do things you don’t want to do. Some of you fight this battle every day as you get up and go to work. You really don’t want to go and making yourself do that everyday is really hard – but you manage to do it.

The thing with the New Year’s resolution is it’s not paying the bills. You can kind of rationalize the job because it pays the rent and buys the food. But it’s really hard to rationalize the diet or the gym membership the same way so it gets dropped within a week or two.

What’s the truth behind the things you know you should do? When you’re truly ready to do them you will do them voluntarily and you won’t need a New Year’s Resolution to make them happen. They will happen naturally when you stop trying to make yourself conform and fit in the box.

What if you made New Year’s Resolutions based on what you wanted to do instead?

What if instead of trying to make yourself conform to ridiculous societal standards and expectations, your New Year’s Resolution was to simply allow yourself to do what you wanted to do? What would your New Year’s Resolution be then?

When you free your mind up like that it immediately goes to sitting on a beach somewhere drinking margaritas 24 hours a day. You quickly realize that your bank account won’t let you leave your backyard and so the struggle ensues. But what’s actually happening here?

The reason why your mind wants to go do nothing is because your mind is tired of fighting the fight. Your mind is tired of struggling with the idea of what it should do, so when its offered freedom, it chooses to do nothing as a form of rebellion. Doing nothing is the opposite of the idea that you should work.

But what if you wanted to work because you were doing something you enjoyed? That would be better right? Well, your job is to figure out what that thing is and begin working toward it.

The change you want to make is to go from struggling with what you should do to actually doing what you want to do. The beach idea is just a pain response. It’s a form of rebellion and non-conformity. It’s showing you that you don’t want to do what you’re doing right now and that’s okay. But what do you really want to be doing? That’s the thing you need to go find.

Here’s the trick – get okay with the in-between. You don’t have to stay where you are forever. You also don’t need to quit your job in the next 5 minutes and run away to a deserted island. The balance is in getting okay with the process of working toward what you do want. Free yourself up to start slowly making the changes in your life that will allow you to feel better.

That doesn’t mean you find a way to take out a loan so you can move to the beach faster. It means you get okay with where you are and stop trying to make things happen faster. Let go of the impatience because the impatience makes you argue with your reality.

The demand to make things change right now comes from the awareness of pain in your current reality. You’re trying to escape the pain. I get it. It’s hard to make yourself stay in your reality when all you see around you is pain. Here’s the thing – it’s not all bad. You focus on the bad and that’s what makes it seem worse than it is.

To get okay with the in-between, to get okay with the slow crawl toward what you do want, you have to learn to be okay anyway. You have to be okay in the uncomfortability. You have to be okay in the mess. You have to learn to pile the problems in the corner and just sort of leave them there.

What can you do to make the present more comfortable? Can you find a better job for a while? Maybe. Can you find things about your current job that aren’t that bad and focus on those? Maybe.

But what about that weight loss program? Until you truly want it you won’t do it. Until you’re truly ready to allow change in your life whether it’s career related, life-style related, or body image related – you won’t allow the change. You won’t do what it takes to get there.


Because of the argument with it. You’re mad at it. You look in the mirror and you’re mad at yourself for gaining the weight or being out of shape. You read the articles that tell you you’ll die young if you don’t lose the weight as a means of trying to scare yourself into doing it, but even that doesn’t work. You can’t fear monger yourself into it. You can’t make yourself do it. So instead you just get mad at it.

What if the way to move toward a desire to do it was to stop arguing with it? What if the way out was simple acceptance of things as they are?

That sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? If I accept it then that means I won’t change it. There is a common myth out there that we need to be mad at things to change them. It’s not true. You can’t change it if you’re mad at it and arguing with it. It won’t work.

When you can simply accept it a door opens that allows you to see what you truly want underneath the pain of what you’re supposed to do. When you accept it, you will do the thing naturally, almost unconsciously, because you won’t feel forced anymore. It’s the forcing part that causes the tug-of-war within you. It’s the forcing that makes you feel like crap, not the doing.

The force doesn’t have to be an external force. It doesn’t have to be an authority figure telling you what to do. You can force yourself into things because of the story you tell yourself around why you’re supposed to do those things. If you tell a story about how people will be upset with you if you don’t do something, then you’re forcing yourself into things via a story of internal guilt. The story isn’t true. Those people aren’t making you do anything. It’s just a story you tell yourself about their expectations of you.

Sometimes we treat New Year’s Resolutions exactly the same way. They become a story of internalized guilt that says we need to do these things because others will be mad or disappointed if we don’t. The story isn’t true.

Honestly you don’t even believe your own story because if you did you’d do the things a lot more willingly. If you really believed that everybody would be mad or disappointed, you’d move forward much quicker. So what’s the truth? You don’t actually care if they are upset. You’re just telling yourself you need to avoid the argument for whatever reason. You can’t even make yourself believe your own story long enough to do the thing.

Do you see the problem?

New Year’s Resolutions are based on conforming to expectations. They are based on the idea that we need to make ourselves do certain things because we know they are good for us. But it doesn’t work. It won’t work until you’re truly ready to do it.

That’s why there is always someone who is successful with it. It’s because they finally got okay with it and so when they committed to it, they were able to stick to it. It worked because they were ready for it to work. It’s not a magic trick. It’s not force. It’s not willpower. The argument was dropped and that’s what allowed for success.

Hint – everything works this way – not just New Year’s Resolutions.

You have to drop the argument with it.

Drop the “should”.

Drop the force.

Drop the expectations.

Drop the impatience.

Then figure out what you truly want under all the pain.

It’s there. Your work is to go find it.

And then when you’ve dropped the arguments and you’re ready, you’ll do the thing completely willingly and with ease.

Do yourself a favor and don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Just get okay with where you are and then figure out where you actually want to go and start working toward that.

You don’t need to conform to anything. You just need to put your power back in your body and start making your own choices.

What do you actually, truly, deeply want within yourself under all the pain?

Sit with that and let me know what you come up with!

Happy New Year!

Love to all.



You can help support my blog by clicking here to make a donation. Your support is greatly appreciated.