The Most Important Secret to Setting New Year’s Resolutions

The thought of a new year is a self-help dream! Whether you want to sculpt your arms, burn fat, or finally figure out how to get mindful about your eating, the very idea of 2016 can seem like the answer to all your improvement fantasies.

The sad truth is, one-third of all New Year’s resolutions won’t last past February 1st.

That’s because most resolutions lack a vital secret ingredient. Ready to hear what that is?

It’s love.

Meaning, the best resolutions have a loving reason behind them. They’re about inviting more things that make you feel great.

To make a resolution with love, you have to resist temptation to try to fix all the things you hate about where you are right now. Because when you identify something as being “wrong,” you’re focusing on the problem. And what you focus on grows—like a pimple on your chin.

So, let your focus be on creating more things you love. Here are a couple of examples of resolutions that are based on hate or fear versus love, so that you can see and feel the difference for yourself:

HATE-BASED RESOLUTION: “Get my lazy butt moving more.”

LOVE-BASED RESOLUTION: “Do more things that help my body feel great.”


FEAR-BASED RESOLUTION: “I will get out of debt so I don’t get rejected for a mortgage.”

LOVE-BASED RESOLUTION: “I will take good care of my money so that I am financially healthy.”

  • Make it a positive, not a negative. This is similar to choosing what you want more of, but it’s really about the words you choose to describe your resolution: “No more sweets” makes you think about sugary treats. “Eat healthier snacks and desserts” gives you a lot of possibilities.
  • Go for “want” instead of “should.” Anything that feels like an obligation is going to get old fast. “I should eat more vegetables,” is going to trigger your inner rebel immediately, if not sooner. Instead, make resolutions around doing more things you truly want to do. “Find new ways to enjoy eating more vegetables,” is way more inspiring, even though the end goal is the same.
  • Name your why. Whatever you decide on for your new year’s goal, be very clear on why you want it. If you don’t really want to do it, you won’t. This is where you really want to make sure you’re not coming from a place of fear. “Lose 20 pounds so I don’t develop full-blown diabetes,” is an admirable goal, to be sure. But it’s not as motivating as “Eat better and move more so I can dance with my son at his wedding.”

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I hope 2016 is filled with more of the things you love!