handwritten resolution list for four different years crossed through many times and each resolution lesser than original goal


Did we make a resolution this year? Maybe we thought about it. Maybe it seemed like too much work. Maybe the last time we made one we failed, so we decided to quit while we were “ahead” and not make one at all.

Resolutions are infamous for not working. So much so, that many of us don’t make them, and are so disheartened when hearing them, that we roll our eyes and think, “Uhhhhhgh, yeah right. That’s not going to happen!” But what if there was a way to know if our resolutions would fail before we make them? Are there signs we can look for?

Even when resolutions fail, we are not helpless, we are not failures.

Whenever we make a resolution or promise, there is part of us that truly wants to succeed! Yet, the key to understanding why we fail, is paramount to our success. To succeed, we need to get to know the part of us that does not want to succeed. And if we think all of ourselves is 100% on-board with our resolutions, let’s prove it to ourselves by testing it out on the rest of this message.

So you think you’ll keep your resolution real?

The best way to know if we will succeed, is to get real with our “bad self!” (humor)
Ask—“Is there any part of me that is NOT willing to keep this resolution?”

Next, take time to truly listen to ourself. Feel the sensations in our body. Is there any part of us that feels irritated? Angry? Frustrated? Unwilling? Unsupportive? Critical? This part is EQUALLY IMPORTANT as the part that wants to succeed. By important, I mean powerful. This part of us has power. A power that can only be harnessed by being understood. It cannot be squashed, denied, forced, ignored, pummeled or punished to made to “go away.” Not even with all the positive thinking we can muster. It will kick our backside. The proof-positive of this is all the failed resolutions and promises we make.

If part of us isn’t willing to keep our resolution–now what?

To avoid failure, we could consider alternative resolutions, or revise the resolution we have until it’s workable. We could change it up enough so that we can be an “all-in,” whole-hearted, 100 percent willing participant in our own success!

What I did

Although my resolution might seem “pansy” in comparison to some, I believe that each of us can improve something in our life, if we just take a good look at it. We all know what we need to do, we just don’t always do it (right?)! So far in life, I’ve let go of my most unhealthy behaviors, so now I’m on to—what would seem like smaller stuff. Here is one of my three resolutions …

I resolved to quit drinking coffee last week (well, not all of me wanted to).

I’m not the woman who carries a carafe with her wherever she goes, but I do enjoy the smell and flavor of rich, thick, espresso-like coffee. However, I’ve recently discovered that it causes this body I’m living in to create an acid fireball, the likes of which returns upstream to my throat as a fiery-hard golf ball. Oh, it has other negative side effects on me too—a growling stomach, headache, anxiousness and heartburn. Although it tastes good and I enjoy its warmth, that’s not reason enough for me to cause myself such pain, over warm-brown water. So, instead of medicating myself and continuing to drink it and ignore what “my body was telling me,” I said to myself, “okay then, I won’t drink coffee (dammit).”

Even though I SAID I would quit, I still asked myself the all-important question for success.

I asked, “Is there any part of me that is not willing to quit drinking coffee?” And there it was inside of me—resistance! I felt a host of signs and symptoms to show me that, no, all of me was not on-board. I felt like a teenager who’d been told that they were grounded. I was irritated and heard myself thinking, “Haven’t I given up enough already? Can’t I have this little pleasure?” And then I laughed a bit, knowing that this “little pleasure” was also a significant amount of pain.

Then, I asked a follow-up question.

“What would it take for all of me to be willing to quit?” I listened patiently for about 30 seconds (which seemed like an hour), and the answer was, “Something warm that tastes good!!” “Is there anything else?” I asked, and heard, “I need to know that life is better without coffee!”

We cannot take something “enjoyable” away (like coffee) without replacing it.

If we do, we run a very high risk of returning to the old behavior. So, to appease the part of me that desired to drink something warm that tastes good, I now drink hot water with a variety of flavors—a slice of apple, lemon, apple cider vinegar, decaf herbal tea, or, hot almond milk with honey and cinnamon or maple syrup with nutmeg or allspice. Quite tasty.

To appease the part of me that doubts that life is better without coffee, I choose to pray for faith every time I have a craving, and I’ve asked that any craving that is not in my highest good be released.

The combination of these “tools” has worked for me and my clients.

As I mentor people in willpower and empowerment, I have found that asking good questions, patiently waiting for answers, replacing unhealthy choices with healthy ones and asking for help has healed many hearts, habits and homes.

As for me, having previously given up things that were MUCH more difficult than coffee–like donuts, gluten, and unhealthy relationships with men who caused significantly more pain than heartburn, giving up coffee has a breeze in comparison. To paraphrase the famous female monk, Pema Chodron, once we’ve fallen down in the ocean and choose to get back up, as the waves to continue to wash over us, we don’t get knocked down so much. And, the waves APPEAR to become smaller. Or, as I say, when we practice and succeed, it makes succeeding again easier.

Resolve to be empowered

At the heart of honing our willpower, is the opportunity for each of us to apply it well. Not by forcing ourselves to do things that part of us doesn’t want to do. Not by running from the discomfort of fear. Instead, by focusing and applying our willpower to courageously follow through on what is BEST. When we, BY CHOICE, choose to be and do what is best, regardless of our fears and desires, we are truly great warriors.

What say ye?

Please share your thoughts, feelings, ideas, resolutions and struggles with us, that we may grow in strength and willpower together …

Always with love,

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