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The Key To Making New Year Resolutions Work

Many people will create resolutions, actually about 44% of all adults.

However, most will fail. This is statistically proven; according to a University of Scranton survey, only 8% will succeed.

Everyone else will fail, most of those failures will occur within one month. There is one thing you can do to increase the likelihood that you will be successful with your resolutions.



You must remember one thing.

The world was made to be free in.

Give up all worlds except the one to which you belong.

Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

David Whyte

Here’s how I create successful New Year resolutions.

First, I don’t think about what I should do or need to do. Instead, I ask this question, “If 2016 were my last year to live, what two or three things would I want to do or accomplish?” I find this question very helpful because I’ve elevated my gaze. I’m no longer focused on changing some small daily behavior.

For example, look at the top five resolutions Americans made in 2015:

  • Quit smoking
  • Eat healthier
  • Learn something new
  • Spend less, save more
  • Drink less alcohol

I don’t find any of these to be very inspiring. Do you? Several of them feel tedious to me, others, just vague.

But, when I imagine 2016 might be my last year on earth—and then I think about the one or two things I want to do—I excite myself. I inspire myself.

And this is what the poet, David Whyte, is writing about, “Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” Most people’s resolutions are too small to hold their attention for any period of time. So create resolutions that inspire you, that captivate your attention.

I’ll share mine with you as an example:

First, I want to write an article about my mentor and have it published in a magazine. This is very meaningful to me because my mentor, John Weir, was an incredible man, and extremely generous with me and my wife. His contribution to the field of psychology is remarkable, but not well known. He created a linguistic model, originally called Percept, currently called ReSpeak, that prevents people from victimizing themselves.

Second, in 2016, I want to write a new kind of book—an interactive book—that will engage people in an entirely new way, so that the book speaks directly to the reader, their issues, and their needs.

Third, I want to have a conversation with my wife, Hannah, a conversation on the only topic that is hard for us to discuss, and I want to do it with grace—without any tension whatsoever. This is something I’m very excited to do. And when I frame the year ahead as possibly my last year, I know this is one of the things I will do.

Please share yours . . .

So, what about you? If 2016 were to be your last year on this beautiful planet, what two or three things would you want to do? I suggest you share your resolutions below in the comment section. It might be fun for all of us to see the kinds of things we each deeply care about.


The Key To Making New Year Resolutions Work

Jake & Hannah Eagle

Jake & Hannah Eagle conduct small retreats at beautiful locations around the world for the purpose of encouraging people to live more consciously. They also provide coach and health consultations.

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APA Reference
, . (2016). The Key To Making New Year Resolutions Work. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Jan 2016
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