My Secret Recipe for Successful New Year’s Resolutions
It’s so much fun to make New Year’s resolutions because it fills us with hope and a fresh sense of new beginnings. We just know that this will be the year that we finally reach our goals and do what we intend!
We enter the new year filled with fresh hope and optimism, and a belief that somehow this year will be different. But then something happens. Somehow January quickly fades into being just like all of the other months in the previous year. Our resolutions are soon forgotten, and we continue on with the same status quo experience, wondering why we continue to fail at this.
Is it that New Year’s resolutions don’t work? Or is it that we don’t know the best way to go about being successful in our intentions?
New Year’s resolutions can work just fine, but only if we add all the right ingredients. It’s like baking a cake. If you try to bake a cake with only one ingredient, your cake will fail. But if you add the right mix of ingredients, and do things in the right order, your cake will be a smashing success.
Simply making a New Year’s resolution and then assuming things will turn out the way you want, is like baking a cake using only flour with no cooking. It won’t be a cake. Does this mean you’re a failure at baking cakes? No, it just means that you left a few things out.
So let’s talk about the other ingredients that you should add to your New Year’s Resolutions, and how to combine them, in order to be successful. Here’s the secret recipe!
1 – Release the Previous Year
Since we are using cooking analogies, think about this. If you try to pile your New Year’s resolutions on top of all of your previous year’s experiences, it’s like getting a bowl of old leftovers out of your refrigerator and adding fresh ingredients for a new dish right on top of them. Yuck! That’s not going to work out too well, is it?
Your behavior patterns from last year are probably pretty firmly entrenched. Just saying that you want to be different is not enough to transform those patterns. The patterns likely have a lot more energy than a one-time wish to change them at the end of every year.
So the first thing to do is to clear your mind and your consciousness of any references to those patterns, when you make your decisions about the coming year. You can do this by letting go in the following way:
- Spend some time contemplating your feelings about the past year. What are the things you didn’t like? What habits are you tired of? Do you feel guilty about anything that happened? Whatever happened last year that you perceive as negative, now is the time to let them go. Let the River of Time carry those things away from you. Watch them as they drift downstream into the past.
- As you watch those unwanted experiences drift away from you forever, turn inwards toward your heart. Recognize that you did the very best you could under the circumstances. It is okay to forgive yourself, and release it all. Those unhappy moments will never recur again.
- Next, you should contemplate everything you experienced that was positive. What are the great things that happened for you? What did you accomplish? What positive lessons did you learn? And what habits do you want to keep because they are good for you? You can even make a written list of these positive outcomes.
- Now once again, turn inwards toward your heart. Acknowledge yourself for these positive things and be happy!
Once you have completed the four things listed above, you are ready to let the entire year go. Take a deep, refreshing breath and say goodbye to the previous year. Release it all with your goodwill and blessings. Now you have a clean slate from which to begin the upcoming new year!
2 – Set Your New Intention
Write down 3 to 5 major things that you would like to accomplish or change in the upcoming year. (You can also make it fewer than this, if you want to.) They can be goals that you set, or habits and patterns that you want to change. This is important so you know what you are aiming for.
Next, review each of these individually. Close your eyes and picture yourself achieving each one. Create the scene in your imagination. How does it feel? What are the positive differences in your life as a result of accomplishing these things?
Wouldn’t it be great to have these positive things on your written list of accomplishments at the end of next year, if you decide to do this process again? Imagine how fulfilling that would be!
This step is important because it builds desire. Without desire, you will not be able to do what you set out to do. The killer of most New Year’s resolutions is underfunded desire. It’s important to keep yourself inspired!
3 – Divide the Year into Quarters
Don’t try to take on the whole year at once. Your attention will fizzle out because it’s too much to remember. Divide the year into four 3 month periods, starting with January through March.
Now look at your list of intentions. Write down one or more main things that you will accomplish toward each one during each of those four periods.
For example, lets say you have an intention to start exercising regularly. How do you measure that accomplishment at the end of the year? Maybe you decide that you will know you have done it when you are walking, doing yoga, or going to the gym three times each week, as a regular habit.
So what are you going to do from January to the end of March in this regard? Do you need to check with your doctor before you start? Do you need to join a gym or a class? Do you need to purchase some fitness clothes? Make a short list of the basics that you will need to do to get the ball rolling during the first 3 months of the year.
Next, look at April through June. Write down what you will need to do during these 3 months. If we continue with our fitness example, maybe these 3 months will be devoted to consistency. Then repeat this process for July through September, and October through December.
Now, once again, close your eyes and envision yourself at the end of next December having fulfilled this intention throughout the year. Think about how great you will feel!
4 – Keep Your Focus and Desire
Now that you know where you are going, it is important that you maintain the fuel and the focus to get there. The fuel is your ongoing desire to succeed, and your focus can be maintained by simply remembering what it is you set out to do. Here is how to do both:
Focus: You maintain focus by paying attention to where you are in the process. At the end of each month, start thinking about the next month ahead. You will have approximately four weeks during that next month to focus on the change you intended to make. Pay attention to what you are doing during those four weeks in regard to your resolution.
Desire: There is no amount of focus in the world that will help you, if you lose your desire. Desire is like fuel in a car. You can have a beautiful car, but if you don’t have fuel, that car isn’t going anywhere. Likewise, you can have the best of intentions, but if you lose interest, it’s all over.
Think of desire like fanning the flames of a fire. If you build a fire in a fireplace, you have to make sure that you pay attention to fanning the flames and adding more wood, whenever the flames begin to subside. Otherwise, that fire is going to burn out and be very difficult to resurrect.
In the case of your resolution, the idea is to keep the fire of your intention burning brightly, by maintaining your desire and inspiration. This is best done by engaging your imagination. Whenever you feel your interest waning, find ways to re-envision your original intention, and how happy you’ll feel when you accomplish it.
5 – What to Do When You Fail
You will most certainly encounter setbacks in fulfilling your intention throughout the year. There will be times when you are just not doing what you set out to do. This does not mean that you should quit!
Instead, what you should do is start over again. The only reason that you may have these failures is because the old habits of thinking and behavior are so firmly entrenched. It’s important to understand this, so you don’t see failure as a sign that you should give up. There is a perfectly good reason for these failures, and you should incorporate that understanding into your thinking.
Just remember not to make false excuses for the failures. Making excuses might mitigate guilt, but it will also undermine your will. Instead, realize that the reason for intermittent failures is because it takes a certain amount of effort to overcome and transmute old habits. There will be times when you feel strong in doing this, and other times – not so much. Just persevere anyway, and remember the bigger picture. Eventually, your strength will win out, and your resolution will be realized.
6 – Enjoy the Fruits!
Embarking on New Year’s resolutions is not something that you do just in January. In that case, it would be January resolutions, wouldn’t it? A New Year’s resolution is about the entire year.
If we go back to our cake baking analogy, we could say that it takes an entire year to bake this cake. And if you pretend that your oven is a wood-burning stove, then you know that you have to keep that endeavor fed with desire, in order to keep your intention burning bright.
Once you put a cake together in the proper way and place it in the oven to bake, a delicious fragrance begins to waft through the air. You get to enjoy the anticipation of experiencing that wonderful dessert!
Likewise, the more you tend to your New Year’s resolution and begin to experience the little successes along the way, the more you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You will feel amazingly elevated by the anticipation of how great you will feel at the end of the year, when you can write this down as one of your awesome successes.
So keep going. Whenever you stumble, forgive yourself, let go, and start over again. Be persistent, and you will have an amazing and fulfilling new year!
What are your New Year’s resolutions for the coming year? Do you have any experiences of previous successes or failures that you’d like to share? Tell me your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!
10 comments on “My Secret Recipe for Successful New Year’s Resolutions”
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This is fantastic! Thank you–and so timely so I can get organized now and start thinking about what I want to manifest in the coming year. That’s what I really heard in what you’re saying here. Not letting my ambitions for cultivating goals fizzle out a month or two into the new year but working on a continuation of a process of actualization on a continuous basis. That works from a practical perspective.
I just love the way you’ve structured this–both in the way you’ve presented the information and the practical “hands-on” action format. When I was working in the insurance field, Bobby, a wonderful man who trained me, used to say “people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”. I never forgot that and it’s carried me through on many levels, both in my business and personal life. I’m fully cognizant of the results of not planning and I will look forward to releasing what didn’t work or come to fruition this past year as I focus on achieving desirable results going forward.
Thank you so much for this today! A true holiday gift. I’ve already downloaded it–it looks simple, appealing to the eye, and “user friendly”! You always manage to create visuals that are beautiful and enhance your message perfectly. By the way, I love those four lovely pictures (paintings?) of the Four Seasons.
Sending my Love, Gratitude and Deepest Heartfelt Wishes for a New Year filled with Abundance–in everything!
Leigh, I’m so happy you enjoyed this. Yes, I’ve heard that saying that you learned from the man who trained you. It’s so simple and so true!
I’m thrilled that you want to try out my “recipe”. 🙂 I hope you have a beautiful new year, filled with abundance and love. May all your dreams come true!
I don’t know how to thank you for the incredible vision and insight you constantly share with boundless compassion to help us evolve on this planet. Your understanding of the human condition and our struggles to birth into our true humanity never ceases to astound me. I feel as if I’m just beginning to tap into possibilities that I never really believed I was capable of creating or experiencing–thanks to you and Telstar. What a gift you are in my life!
For all the work you do, but truly for who you are, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I am intent on making all my dreams come true this year. It’s time. I’m going to bake a wondrous cake! Thanks for the recipe!
I’ve never really made any New Year’s resolutions before. I always thought it was kind of silly, mostly because I saw people making a big deal out of it and then not making it through the end of January. I figured it was more important to make a concerted effort to change things in one’s life, no matter the time of year.
For some reason, I started thinking about making New Year’s resolutions a couple of week’s ago. I’m not sure why, it just felt like something I wanted to do and I’ll tell you, I’ve got a few good ones ready to go.
I don’t know how you do it, Saratoga, I start thinking about doing something and then “BAM” here’s a recipe and an overview of all the ways it can fail for people and here’s what you need to do to really make it succeed. Oh, and here’s a worksheet too! 🙂 Wow! Well, okay. I’m going to do this!
I think what really appeals to me about this now is having a plan and structure for all the many things that I want to achieve during our next trip around the Sun. It feels like a great way to take a look at my life overall and start to plan out what I *really* want to experience in my life, instead of just looking at things one by one.
Well, thanks again. You’ve made me laugh and smile so many times today, I’ve lost count. (Love the images, as usual. They’re perfect! Hmmmm, that burnt cake looks kind of familiar … ) 🙂
Hi Avalon – Ha ha, that’s funny about the burnt cake looking familiar! 🙂 I know what you mean about New Year’s resolutions seeming silly because they never last. That’s why I decided to write this. I realized that we tend to look at New Year’s resolutions with “magical thinking.” Like just saying it to ourselves once or twice is enough to make it happen. No wonder it starts to sound silly!
I do think that the new year is a fantastic time to create goals and resolutions because there is such a great feeling of a fresh start. So it’s an excellent opportunity to take advantage of. We just have to remember to look at the whole year, not just the beginning of January.
Anyway, I’m glad you’re going to try this out. I think the real magic is breaking the year into 4 parts. Then you know exactly what to focus on and when, and you are not as likely to lose track. I would additionally suggest dividing each quarter into its individual months, and then deciding what you will work on each month. You don’t have to do this for the whole year right away. You can just start with January through March. What will you focus on completing by the end of each of those months?
The more that you break things down like this, the more likely you are to succeed. And it also works because you don’t have so much to process. You are just acting on things one step at a time. That means that you get to have a lot of small wins along the way.
Hope you enjoy trying this out! Lots of love to you 🙂
I am new to you, but that’s my fault.
You see, I am without a doubt a very big procrastinator. It has to do with many years of experience. I have not found the secrets of baking or if I do get the ingredients to get going, somehow I loose interest. Because of not having the right oven, the right pan size for the recipe. This goes the same for putting forward my resolutions and concentrating on the way to get there. It’s been a lost road to my destinations. Anyways, I think you know exactly where I’m trying to go with this. I haven’t always been this way, I lost the ambition, the drive I have let the fire die inside the furnace.
Thankfully, I found myself mesmerized when I stumbled across your wonderfulness, abundance of wisdom that really got through me to stop everything, take notice and begin again with action. I am willing to slow myself down, to listen, learn and take notes. I will turn myself around with the help of wise and helpful positive people as yourself.
Anyway, I just felt Right to let you know that I am on board and taking the journey that’s being taught by you.
Caterina, it’s so nice to meet you!
I totally understand what you are saying about letting the fire die inside. That is definitely one of the side effects of procrastination. It tends to wear away at ambition and drive, plus erode one’s self-confidence in going forward.
But how great that you want to turn that around and try again from a renewed place. 🙂
I’m sending you all my love and support to reach your goals, and experience the life of your dreams. Namaste
I worked with your ideas through this past year. I still have some tweaking to do regarding “focus” and process, but I had quite a great year in 2016 I manifested many of the goals I set out to. I think what I’d like to share here is that what I reaped most from this “Recipe” was staying clear about my intention and desire. I was very conscious of not letting my intention or desire wane. I began again to meditate in the morning(s) — most mornings 🙂 and more consistently — and clarified my intentions each day about what I wanted to achieve and then what I needed to do practically to achieve those things. For me it was a daily checking in with myself, if you know what I mean. This post helped me tremendously… and I’m excited to revisit this process in a deeper and more profound way through this year ahead. I realize that what I can manifest has no bounds and I’ve just begun to imagine what’s actually possible in my life, and hence what I can share with the world from that perspective.
Wishing you and Telstar all the blessings you infinitely shower upon us all!
All the best of everything possible to you and your family for this wondrous year ahead for 2017….. !!!
With love and thanks always,
Hi Leigh – Thank you so much for this. I’m thrilled to know that this “formula” worked so well for you last year. I hope you have an awesome 2017! Sending you love and blessings for all your dreams to come true 🙂
Thank you so much, I look forward to reading everything you send me. And this is great, I have been struggling with my health and due to medication I have grown sideways , really is no joke but I want to be myself again and I want to try this and hope that I can do it. My angels are always with me and I’m hopeing they will help me stay on track. Once again thank you for all you have helped me in. May God keep blessing you so you can keep giving us.