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New Year, New You? How to Create Real Change in Your Life

As we reach the end of December, many of us have the New Year, New Me mentality, reflecting on ways we want to change and improve our lives. So, we come up with a resolution to lose weight, start a new business, make more money – whatever it may be.

However, around week two we run out of steam. Why? Because chances are we slipped up, which makes us feel ashamed and defeated. The sad truth is that for most people this is a cycle that continues year after year. In fact, did you know 95% people break their resolution within the first two weeks?


Why Resolutions Don’t Work

Many of us have the misconception that a resolution will magically transform our lives, but this is not the case. Resolutions are essentially a wish list – they are not sustainable because they are unrealistic.

Change starts within, and if your resolutions don’t align with your beliefs, you won’t have the inner drive to follow through.


5 Steps to Create Lasting Change

  1. Have a vision

What do you really truly want? A vision excites you and inspires you. The problem with resolutions is that they aren’t usually very compelling. You need to have a strong enough reason to follow through when challenges arise.

If you have strong reasons, you won’t let fear take over. Instead, you will use it to propel you forward. The bottom line: If you believe it’s important, you will make it happen.

  1. Set an intention

Envision the type of person you want to become. What habits will you need to change to make that happen? By having a vision and developing a positive mindset, positive behavior will follow.

If you believe “I can’t lose weight,” “I don’t like working out” or “I’m too lazy,” then your brain will guide you down that path, whether consciously or unconsciously, and find ways to reinforce that belief.

Change your thoughts to something along the lines of, “I want to be healthy. I want to have more energy. I want my mind and body to feel good.” Losing weight needs to become important to you on an internal level, otherwise you won’t make the external changes.

  1. Start small

When we think about the big picture, it can quickly become overwhelming. Whether it’s losing weight, making more money or finding love, we think about everything that needs to happen before we reach our end goal. However, if we simply focus on the next step, we will be thinking about the progress we’re making and progress is what will give us the momentum to keep moving forward.

  1. Create habits

Most of our habits are unconscious. These are daily thoughts and behaviors that have become ingrained in our minds to the point that we don’t think about it. These behaviors have become part of who we are.

Habits are lifestyle shifts – they are not quick fixes. Our habits stem from our beliefs, so by changing the way you think, you will change how you act and this is what will transform the course of your life.

  1. Raise your standard

A standard is different than a goal. You don’t always get your goal, but you will always get your standard.

If you want to quit smoking but you call yourself a smoker, how do you expect to change? We act consistent with who we believe we are. You’ve tied smoking to your identity, and until you change your self-perception, you won’t be able to quit.

One of the main ideas that Tony Robbins teaches is that people follow through on their “musts” and not their “shoulds.” For example, “I should quit smoking” and “I should be more confident.” This “should” mentality is the foundation of New Year’s resolutions, and why resolutions set us up for failure and disappointment.

The moment you decide something is a must for you, you raise your standard and find a way to make it happen.




New Year, New You? How to Create Real Change in Your Life

Kaitlin Vogel

From covering health and wellness content to neuroscience to relationships and dating advice, I’m committed to creating content that matters. My goal is for readers to walk away feeling empowered and motivated – whether it’s to pursue their dream job, strengthen the connection with their partner, or follow mindfulness strategies to relieve stress and anxiety.

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APA Reference
Vogel, K. (2018). New Year, New You? How to Create Real Change in Your Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 19, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Dec 2018
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