Resolutions Don’t Work – Here’s Why

How do people create resolutions? They use this 6-step model:

  1. Begin by looking back.
  2. Enjoy your achievements, then set them aside. [They are not part of resolutions.]
  3. Review what was not achieved.
  4. Choose the most important not achieves.
  5. Write them on a Resolutions list.
  6. Repeat in 365 days.

Yes, indeed. A 6-step formula that often feeds the inner critic and demoralizes the self. Here’s the thing: Looking back doesn’t move life forward.


Resolutions encourage you to Re-solve. The formula: review past choices, actions and behaviors, perhaps chastise yourself for the failure to achieve, and try, try, try again.

  • Lose weight and keep it off
  • Exercise 3x/week and enjoy it
  • Stop: Smoking, Drinking, Swearing, Eating, Lying, Cheating, Whining, Bleating
  • Find: Partner, Spouse, Job, House

The energy of re-solution coalesces around ‘wanting’ and ungrounded hope.

Rather than Re-Solve, In-tend

Feel the difference? In. Tend. Leaning in, attending.

Intention is action-oriented, goal-directed and conscious. In-tending includes clarity – less about task and more about objectives.

For example using a group of the re-solutions listed above related to health and wellness, here’s a refined intention:

I am healthy, energized and active.

Each person who holds this intention would have their defined tasks, actions that they take to align with and actualize this intention, such as:

quitting smoking
eating healthy, small meals
drinking water
going to yoga classes, the gym, dance class
going to bed earlier
drinking kombucha, eating bugs, more veggies, less fruit, take coconut oil, eat vegan, eat paleo — you get the idea!

This intention has a clear objective – self-care, health, well-being. The individual actions emerge through consciously holding the intention.

Shifting to Intention

Moving from Re-solving to In-tending is facilitated through conscious awareness. Tuning in and attending to:

  • Self – thoughts, beliefs, emotions, actions – taken and not taken
  • Energy – clearing, and the serendipitous flow of the Universe
  • Next right thing – staying present and open to noticing what emerges to fulfill your intent

1. Self

Let’s be clear, monitoring thought is not monkey-mind. It’s observation of what the [monkey] mind is doing. And setting course with a deeper, more organic way of being. [Try breathing, slowly, deeply, consciously. It leads to being.] Thoughts, beliefs, emotions, actions aligned with in-tending create coherence. All else observed, acknowledged and released.

2. Clearing energy

It’s so powerful to do the self-care work to help you move from intended idea to actualized form. Let go of energetic obstructions and blockages that snag and derail your ability to manifest. The universe responds to aligned intention. If you’re holding ‘I can’t’ energy, you’ll want to let that go.

3. Next right thing

Through self-awareness and alignment, new choices, ways of thinking, experiences, ideas emerge. When experiencing life through grounded, conscious awareness, it’s tough to run an old tape and recreate the same old result!

In-tending is an active discipline that yields results through focus, clarity and alignment.

Let’s be intentional about the new year. Let’s tend well to ourselves and our world. Let’s be involved, in tune, in action and invested in our own healing.

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2 thoughts on “Resolutions Don’t Work – Here’s Why”

  1. I love this, Jill! I quit making resolutions years ago! My current intention is to live my life in gratitude. Each day, I find something to be grateful for…..most days there are a lot of things! 🙂

    • Gratitude is such a gorgeous way to greet each day. I live intentionally, with gratitude and clarity of purpose. I love knowing what I’m actively creating and manifesting and doing the work to see my life come to fruition.


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