Resolutions, Self-Sabotage and Resolve

Happy New Year! I hope you are able to enjoy everything you dream of and that you are off to a great start!

Did you use any time during this holiday season and the new year to generate resolutions for the upcoming year? Or to reflect on the year gone by…sort of a year in review. Stop for a moment and ask yourself: “Did I achieve what I intended? How did I do? Or did obstacles get in my way?”

There are certain times during the year that are natural markers for serious reflection. Along with your birthday, key religious holidays, even the start and ending of every day, the holiday season and a transition into a new year are wonderful opportunities to think about what you want.

Why do it? It’s all about helping you design and create a life you’d love to live. Beyond just thinking about what you want, if you write it down, it’s even better. Writing helps you achieve even more clarity of thought and there is a lot of research that suggests that the most successful people write down their goals.

Ever think you get in the way of your own success? Some might call it self-sabotage. No matter what you call it – there are ways you think, feel and behave that can undermine your success.

Many people experience can relate to the very human tendency to make great resolutions and have great intentions and then to your own dismay, undermining or sabotaging your own successes. Below are 4 common reasons that many people don’t accomplish their resolutions and the simple steps you can take to maintain your resolve.

  1. Your intention is good. Your commitment level isn’t high enough. My friend, John Assaraf, loves to ask the question: “Are you interested, or committed?” Commitment at some point is likely to involve discomfort or inconvenience. I remember a colleague remarking, as he was training for a triathlon, that his commitment didn’t care if the water he was swimming in was cold.The fix: Get really clear and emotionally attached to how your life will be different or better once you achieve your desired goal(s). What difference will it make in your life?
  2. Your intention is good. Pursuit of your goals, like fitness, is inconvenient. You can desire something, want it really badly, imagine it, dream about it, put it on your vision board – but you have to TAKE ACTION and DO something about it to make it happen in your life. Just like commitment, doing what it takes to achieve your goals means dealing with discomfort, inconvenience and frustration.The fix: TAKE ACTION and DO something – EVERY DAY – that moves you closer to your goal(s).
  3. Your intention is good. Handling frustration is hard. Difficulty handling unpleasant feelings, especially your disappointment and frustration that you are not achieving the results you want as easily and quickly as you want them, is one of the biggest barriers to success. Your frustration is testing your degree of commitment.The fix: Know that unpleasant feelings are temporary and pass within a couple minutes. Make the decision that you will TAKE ACTION to continue on your path as the only response to these temporary feelings of disappointment and frustration. Fleeting feelings don’t get to become a permanent stop to your success.
  4. Your intention is good. Others come first. There is no question that the needs of your children, spouse, partner, or other family members, friends and work are important. Yet, there are likely many times you could delay responding to their needs without any negative impact. Consider how often you put others’ needs first before you do what is important to and for you.The fix: Use your calendar to schedule time for the actions that will help move you towards your goals. Schedule this time as an appointment with yourself as if you were making an appointment with someone else, so that it remains an uninterrupted time. A writer friend of mine used to write the word “Something” during 4 hour blocks of time scattered through her weekly calendar, so she could protect those blocks of time as sacred writing time. The upshot? When someone called and asked her to join them, she could gently and easily refuse by saying: “Oh, I can’t. I already have ‘something’ scheduled.”

Just to recap:

  1. Take some time to get clear on what you want and write it down. Pen to paper is best, digital next.
  2. Get attached to your goal and emotionally feel yourself there. That will help with your commitment level.
  3. Take action every day – no matter what – to move you closer to your goal.
  4. Experience your frustration and know that it is an inherent part of the journey. Keep taking action.
  5. Your calendar is a success tool. Make sure you schedule time for yourself to ensure your success.

Find more from Dr. Rosenberg at, on Twitter and LinkedIn @DrJoanRosenberg, or on Facebook. You can pre-order “Ease Your Anxiety” on Amazon.