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Why New Year's Resolutions Fail

It’s the first week of January. How many of you have made resolutions for the new year?

Four people holding up sparklers for New Year 2022.

I’ll be honest, I used to think that people making “New Year’s resolutions” was a joke, kind of like “Santa Claus brings gifts on Christmas” was a joke (wink, wink). I was in college before I realized that some kids actually believed in Santa. I was even older when I realized that some people take their New Year’s resolutions very seriously.

You learn something new every day.

Clearly not everyone follows through with their resolutions, though, because many people drop them rather quickly. Especially the ones about dieting and exercise. Those seem to go out the window pretty fast. Over at Our Mindful Life this article talks a little about how easily we drop New Year’s resolutions and how to create simpler ones we can actually stick with.

Not that I blame anyone. I haven’t been terribly consistent with any exercise routine in the past two years. I resolve pretty much every month to start getting back in shape and then my body has other ideas.

That’s another story, though.

The fact is that resolutions can be really hard to keep. The reason is that they usually focus on some sort of change we would like to make but aren’t necessarily ready to make. Our conscious mind may want to exercise more, eat healthier, reach a goal, or switch jobs but our bodies, beliefs, habits, and systems might not be ready to support that change. No matter how much you may want to eat healthier, you won’t be able to maintain that goal if you don’t have the information, skills, and beliefs in line to support that lifestyle shift.

What most people don’t understand is that creating change isn’t just about deciding to do it with our minds. Yes, popular culture likes to talk about how we can do anything if we only put our minds to it. We can change the world if we just choose to! We can create our own reality with the power of our thoughts!

This is mostly a myth with a little bit of truth to it.

The reason why I call this “mind over matter” idea a myth is because those people who suddenly make a decision to do something and just make it happen are people whose energy is already aligned to create that change. The mental choice to change was actually one of the last steps of the process for them. So even though it looked like it was easy, it wasn’t that simple.

All change starts in the energy world. It starts with shifts in our mental, emotional, and spiritual energy. Once the energy is aligned on multiple levels, then we can create change in the physical world.

stones lined up to create a pathway through water.

So yes, your mind can create change in the physical world, but it doesn't so alone. You can’t just think your way into change without also feeling, believing, and physically forming it into being as well. There is work to be done on all levels of your energy and physical body to create something new. All those steps have to line up to create the path toward the change you want.

The "mind over matter" myth can be really damaging for people who are told they their thoughts are the only reason something didn’t work out. That it’s their minds that are weak and that’s why they failed. That if they just THINK harder or better that it will happen for them.

This leaves a lot of people feeling defeated and lousy about themselves because they can’t create the change they want. The reality is that for many of us, the mental decision to change is just the first or second step of the process and there is more work to be done before that change actually happens.

We do the work to align our energy as we heal old emotional wounds, examine our underlying beliefs, open ourselves up to understanding the world differently, shift bad habits, and clear out our physical spaces. It’s all connected. Without those overlapping and complex energy systems supporting your change, it’s unlikely you will succeed in the long run.

Am I really telling you that it’s hard to eat healthier because of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical energy holding you back?


I am saying that ANY change is hard if you haven’t done the work to align all your energy to support the transformation you want to see.

Louise Hay writes, “Many of you start New Year’s resolutions on the first of the year, but because you don’t make internal changes, the resolutions fall away very quickly.” Although she was often overly focused on mental changes (which she believed drove everything else), she did understand that it’s the internal work that makes the external work possible.

So, stop beating yourself up about resolutions you can’t keep. When you drop a resolution, start using that as information to guide the work that you need to do. Did you give up on eating healthier after 10 days? Ok, figure out why. What is the underlying energy that was fighting that change? What needs to heal or shift so that you can get back to eating healthier?

Have you been trying to get back in shape, change your job, find a better relationship, or break out of old habits? If these things are hard, it isn’t because you are a failure, it’s because there is something inside that needs to be healed and supported. Until you do the work to align the different parts of your energy body, you will never make that change stick in the physical world.

Here’s my suggestion for a New Year’s resolution for this year:

I resolve to heal and become more of myself every day.

When you commit to healing, you are doing the work to transform yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You make it a goal to figure out who you really are and what you really want. You make your focus the consistent acquisition of good habits and better beliefs about yourself.

Scrabble tiles spelling out the words "shift happens."

By committing to consistent change, everything else falls into line. The energy keeping you from taking care of yourself or finding a better job or connecting with people who really get you will disappear and then you’ll be in alignment with the energy helping you create your best life.

Not that we can’t have goals. They can be helpful to define what we want and where we are going. But goals can be crappy resolutions if our energy isn’t ready to make them happen. If you start with the resolution to work on your energy and healing yourself on all levels of your being, then you can let the goals naturally arise when you are ready to tackle them.

If you haven’t made a New Year’s resolution this year, then you can adopt this one. Or change yours. Or just add it to whatever you have. It doesn’t matter. Just know that if you make a resolution and then drop it, then that doesn’t mean you're a failure. It means you have work to do. Get on board and start healing all those things that support your mental decisions to change.

Here is that suggested resolution again: I resolve to heal and become more of myself every day.

Doing the healing work to support this resolution looks different for each of us. Start with the blog post There Are Many Ways to Do the Work to explore some of the ways to start doing your own energy work.

I also think that going through your stuff is a great way to think about who you are and who you want to be. Read Your Stuff, Your Energy for some ideas of how to use the things in your life to create change. You can also download the free PDF at the end of that post to help you get started.

Another great place to begin your work is in my post Let Go of Who You Are. It reflects on the beliefs you carry in your subconscious that keep you from creating your best life. You can’t fight these subconscious programs, but you can change them.

There are plenty of other resources on my blog. Browse around and see if something is calling to you and begin there.

For many of us, changing our energy also involves getting professional help to identify our areas of need and receive support as we heal and grow. For me this looks like seeing others for energy and coaching sessions. For others it might be working with a therapist or a counselor. Your needs will guide the kind of support you require.

My work at Harmonious Renewal is all about supporting people energetically, emotionally, and mentally to identify what is keeping them stuck and giving them the tools they need to transform their own lives. I never call myself an energy healer. I believe that all healing is self-healing and is the result of you becoming more in tune with who you really are and what you really want in life. I have experience and expertise that can support you in your journey, but you are the one who does the work to create the life you want.

If you’d like to learn more about what I do, you can browse my website above, connect with me on Facebook, follow me on Pinterest, or simply send me a message to ask me anything you want. I love to hear from people and, even if I don’t have exactly what you need, I will help you find the resources to support you in your self-healing journey.

Connect with me to see how I can support you on your healing journey!

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