New Year Resolutions:  The How, The Why And What To Do!


Over the holiday season my mind would drift, and I would dream about what goals I wanted to achieve in 2018.  As the new year neared, I gave it a lot of deep thought.  Like many others, by January 1st, I had my list.  When I was creating my 2018 goal list I wondered, how and when did this tradition get started and why did people continue to make new year resolutions year after year when the statics show that most fail to meet their goals.

When did this tradition get started?

I found this thought so interesting that I decided to ask google for some enlightenment.  I found that New Year’s resolutions can be traced back to the ancient times, and even as early religious traditions.

The Babylonians, an ancient cultural region occupying southeastern Mesopotamia now known as Iraq, used to make promises to the gods to return borrowed objects and pay their debts at the start of each year.

The Ancient Romans used to begin each year by making promises to Janus – the God that the month of January is named after.

In Medieval England, knights confirmed their commitment to chivalry by taking ‘peacock vows’ at the end of the Christmas season.

And here we are today with our modern tradition of setting new goals at the first of the year.

Why people continue to make them year after year when the statics show people fail to meet their goals?

Research has shown that over 80% of those who make new year resolutions fail. The studies showed that most common reasons for people failing were because of setting unrealistic goals, not keeping track of progress and because of just plain forgetting.

For many, the new year represents a time to reflect upon self-improvement. It’s time for fresh starts, new commitments and hope.  Our goals give us meaning with purpose.


How can we increase the odds for success?

I believe we need to be crystal clear on what we want to accomplish; we must be very detailed on how, by when and know why we desire our goals.

For example, this year I want to lose weight.  So, to be clear and specific, I wrote down that I want to lose 20 lbs. in 10 weeks and that I would accomplish this goal by eating healthy whole foods and exercising daily.

I took action right away and I joined a 30-day challenge, so I could be accountable and have support from others trying to lose weight also.  I researched what meals I wanted and now I have a plan for the next 30 days.

I believe it is very important to have a strong “Why”.  Why this goal is so important.  My strong why is that I want to fit back comfortably into my jeans that I love so much.

Have you heard that saying “energy flows where your attention goes.”?  Whatever you focus your attention on becomes more prominent.  So that is why I have put up a picture of myself at my goal weight next to my 2018 goals on my bathroom mirror.  They will be visible to me daily to keep me focused and my picture helps me remember how good I felt in my jeans.

So, what new year resolutions have you set for yourself?  Do you have a clear vision of what your goal is?  Do you know your how and when?  Do you know why?  If you don’t know the answers to these questions, give yourself a gift and set some time aside to come up with the answers. Why not plan to beat the odds this year and enjoy the success of accomplishing your goals.

Patti Livingston is a Transformational Dynamics Coach and Co-Founder of Transformational Dynamics for Conscious Living.