How To: Set New Year Resolutions and Manifestations

Creating resolutions that last and produce positive changes in your life can be easy if you are in the right frame of mind, and apply some simple principles. Read on for some mindful tips by Life Coach and TED talk speaker Sonia Samtani
1 Feb 2023
Words by: Sonia Samtani

New Year’s Resolutions: The “to-do’s” and “not to-do’s”

The most recent statistics show that 80% of New Year’s resolutions collapse by February. If this is happening to so many of us, perhaps it would be good to understand why. Typically, when the New Year is approaching, people get geared up to create shifts and start a new routine. They may have great intentions, however they’ve possibly not thought through how to integrate the new routine into their lives, or how it could impact other areas of their lives. As a result, they don’t fully implement what they’ve set out to do (E.g. meditate more, read more, exercise more, eat less), and after realising that they missed it a few times, they lose their drive, and eventually return to the same old patterns as before. Doing anything new will naturally take more energy, more awareness, and determination to keep it going. Even if we do have the will, there are other reasons why our resolutions don’t manifest into reality.

Person in Blue Denim Jeans Lying on Brown Wooden Table
Photography by Cottonbro Studio

Most common reasons why your resolutions may fail:

  1. You don’t actually want to do it, or care that much for the result!
    Perhaps your goal is what you think you should do, or what someone else wants for you, but it’s not what you actually want. Often, we want to do things because of societal pressure, or because it’s supposed to be good for us, and that makes us feel obliged rather than motivated or empowered. When we speak about our resolutions from this place, our dialogue can have a harsh undertone e.g. “I better wake up at 5pm and exercise!”. When you speak like that, even to yourself, it can feel like you are being pressured, judged, and ultimately set-up to fail.

  2. You want it, but don’t really believe it can happen.
    Your inner-beliefs are in conflict with your desires, and blocking you from moving in that direction. For example, you may be aligned with waking up early and exercising, but you believe that it’s difficult, or you identify yourself as a ‘night person’, or believe that you are not capable of making changes quickly. Your rational mind may think there’s no reason why you can’t do it, yet there’s a deeper part of you that’s resisting and obstructing your progress. Sometimes the resistance can come from deep rooted self-deprecating beliefs of not deserving to get the rewards that this goal will bring, e.g. “I don’t deserve to be noticed or have more money.”

  3. Your resolutions are not fully under your control.
    Resolutions that depend on a shift in the outer environment will keep you in a powerless position where you don’t feel in control. If you bank upon the economy changing, the climate changing, or other people changing, then your success is not in your own hands, and that strategy usually does not yield desired results. For example, if your goal is to have more harmony by communicating more lovingly with your partner, but with the condition that it’s only if they are also loving to you, it will not work. Simply put, if your condition is that the outside needs to change first, then you will keep waiting for it (and most likely it will be a long wait!).

  4. You haven’t thought about how this will impact other areas of your life.
    If you want to wake up earlier, you probably also need to sleep earlier, eat earlier, complete your work earlier, and so on. It doesn’t work to just focus on one part without looking backwards and forwards on what you need to get done beforehand, and how it will impact the next thing you do. You may just end up in the same place as before if you haven’t fitted your resolution in your life by adjusting other things around it to make it work.

Person walking in the desert dunes
Photograph by Pawel Nolbert

Now that we know what prevents our resolutions from working, let’s take a look at how we can play to win! To implement changes that last, we need to approach the whole idea of goals and resolutions differently. Let’s first start with your mindset: Instead of looking at what we need to ‘fix’ in our lives, look at ways to enhance and grow. Instead of using judgment, use wisdom and discernment. Instead of saying your resolutions to yourself as an order, say it with love and compassion. Instead of expecting that you will never fail at it, be flexible and know you can still persist and keep going even when you fall down.

Once you shift your mindset, you can use simple tools to help you move in the direction of your desired outcome.

How to create lasting changes in your life in order of what comes first:

Make sure the changes you want to make are 100% under your control, and about you!
Setting goals that are dependent on others are pretty much guaranteed to disappoint. What you can control fully are your interpretations, your decisions, your choices, and your actions. The more your goal is only about you, the more likely you are to achieve it.

Be aligned with your goal.
Check that your goal is true to your values and your bigger vision of life. Move away from external validation and towards inner-referencing. If you didn’t need to make anyone else happy, you were feeling calm, and you valued yourself, would you still have this goal? If the answer is ‘yes’ to this simple checklist, you’re probably aligned to it and it will serve you in the long-run.

Have a clear vision of achieving your goal.
The clearer you are about the change you want to make, the more likely you are to achieve it. A clear goal is simple and measurable, which means you will know when you have achieved it. For example, saying you want to “read more” is not as clear as saying ‘I will read every Wednesday from 5-6pm on my favourite armchair by the window.’ You can literally see that. Make your intention so clear that it paints a vivid picture in your mind. Your subconscious mind stores information as images, so anytime you can visualise something you know that your subconscious mind has accepted an idea.

Man in black sweater sitting beside a wooden table reading a book and a mug in hand
Photography by Priscilla Du Preez

Believe it can happen.
We have both supporting beliefs and sabotaging beliefs, which serve as our resources or our limitations. Think about the beliefs that you have that can support you to reach your goals such as “I am supported, I am enough, I can do what I put my mind to, I have the resources within me, I trust life, I have inner-strength, I am capable, I accept myself”. Affirming these beliefs to yourself every morning in the mirror is a great way to start your day! Also, become aware of your sabotaging beliefs which serve as blocks, and set an intention to move beyond them. You can do this by asking for support from a coach/ therapist/ counsellor, or make a powerful decision to let it go yourself and begin to journal on any resistance.

Schedule your actions, and when it’s time to act, do it within 5 seconds – even if you don’t feel like it!
Sometimes things keep reappearing on our resolution lists simply because we haven’t created the space for them to happen! It’s so easy to get caught up in your errands, admin, chores, scrolling on Instagram, or watching Netflix instead. If you really want something, schedule it in your diary and plan for it. When you create a time slot for it, it means you have already imagined it, and created room for it to happen, even if it’s months in advance! Also, bear in mind that you are not going to always ‘feel’ like doing your new action. It will naturally feel more comfortable to go back to the old ways than to put effort in doing something different! However, if you are aligned with your goal, then listening to your commitment is much healthier than submitting to your feelings of the time. Plan for your goals, listen to your commitment, and take action within 5 seconds.

Let go of your attachment to the outcome.
The more you are attached to something, the more desperate you become, and the more desperate you become, the more likely you are to be scared that it may not happen, and the fear can impact your state of mind, and sabotage the results. Attachment is a sign of not being comfortable with the possibility of something not working out. It usually means that you are attaching your self-worth to achieving the outcome. If you can be at peace with or without your desired outcome, you are truly free! Practice letting go of your attachment to the outcome and know that you are enough with or without it, and trust that life will end up taking you to where you need to be.

Creating resolutions that last and produce positive changes in your life can be easy if you are in the right frame of mind, and apply these simple principles. The most important thing is to get started and get your energies flowing in the direction of your goals. As you have just finished reading this article, I invite you to take a moment now to ground yourself, create a vision of what you want, believe it can happen, plan for it, and trust that it will come to you in the form that is most aligned with you. I wish you all the best on your journey of manifestation!