Have you ever set New Year’s resolutions only to find that by the end of January you have already forgotten about all of them? Or that there is this nagging feeling every time you “force” yourself to follow up on them?

How is it, that while we may feel so exuberant and ready to start afresh at New Year’s, it often feels like hard work to keep that momentum going?

Don’t get me wrong, it is possible that New Year’s resolutions totally work for you and that’s great, in that case keep going! This little piece, however, is for folks who struggle following through and offers them a different perspective …

Winter is for rest …

Having been an advocate for (embodied) cyclical living for so long, it was almost comical when it hit me not too long ago: Winter isn’t the season for new beginnings!

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, New Year’s happens in the middle of winter, a time when all of Nature is asleep and hibernating, or at least taking a break. It’s a time to rest, digest and allow the natural composting to happen – underground and in the subconscious.

And we humans are part of Nature, believe it or not ;-)! So why should we be any different?

At the time of New Year’s, your system is trying to slow down, rest and recuperate, not initiate something new. And only once this phase of the cycle (which is inherent and necessary part of regeneration) is complete, will you have the energy to start new projects and call in and nurture what you desire.

… the stars aren’t with you …

Astrologically speaking, too, New Year’s isn’t the time to implement any kind of goal or resolution. The cycle of the zodiac (the twelve astrological signs) completes with Pisces in February/March, and a new one only starts March 21st when the Sun moves into Aries.

That will be a far better time to initiate something new in your life, because the stars and the general energies are going to be on your side!

Until then, you can use the beginning of this solar new year in a very potent way:

  • Capricorn season (December 21 through January 20): Start to vision, plan and lay the groundwork for what you want to build this new year/cycle – again, not immediate action required, this is inner work!
  • Aquarius season (January 21 through February 18): Get clear on your values and what kind of future you want to move towards (for yourself, humanity and the planet), so you can start aligning your beliefs and actions with these desires.
  • Pisces season (February 19 through March 20): Being all about endings, turn Pisces’ heightened empathy towards yourself and use your creativity, energy work, body work, journaling or other ways to help you resolve past unhelpful (belief) patterns that are holding you back and are ready to be released now. This allows for the necessary healing (i.e. coming closer and closer to yourself) to happen before Aries heralds a new cycle.

… and you make it mean something about YOU

The worst of it all is that we often make it mean something about US, when we don’t stick with a certain resolution.

It’s this really sneaky thing the brain does, that you might have experienced before:

When something happens, that you judge to be positive, your brain will say it was due to circumstances outside of yourself. Someone did it or something happened to make this “positive” thing possible.

But when something happens that you judge to be negative, it’s usually “YOUR fault” … You must have done something wrong, you have failed, maybe you even ARE wrong, a failure. Your brain makes it mean something about you.

Similar with regards to New Year’s Resolutions: Maybe you “don’t have it in you”, maybe you weren’t persistent enough, maybe you didn’t want it badly enough, after all.


There is NOTHING wrong with you! You are a perfectly imperfect human being!

What if it simply isn’t the right time or phase in your cycle, in your life?

The societal connotation

And what are New Year’s Resolutions really?

Often, they’re a list of things or even rules you come up with, because you believe you “should” be doing (or not-doing) them. Because “they’re good for you”. Not necessarily because your whole heart is in it …

In those cases, they require you to maintain discipline and motivation until the resolution is achieved – and that can be quite effort-full and connected to the societal standards of “success or failure”.

In the end, you might beat yourself up for not achieving goals that YOU have set – while you are the only one who can change them, if you want to ;-)!

There’s no shame in course-correcting when you find something is no longer working FOR you!

And also, you could choose a different approach.

What can you do instead?

As I’ve mentioned before, winter is a time for rest and stillness, for drawing deep within and for reflection on who you are and who you want to be(come) in this next phase/ cycle of your life. In this sense, New Year’s can be a fantastic time to dream into or think about the seeds that you want to plant, setting some juicy intentions!

So instead of setting precise and often somewhat strict “goals” (often attached to a deadline, the word in itself already implying “you better reach it or you’ll die…”), how about becoming clear on how you want to live your life, how you would like to feel on a daily basis?

Instead of setting a fixed goal, like “I want to lose 5 pounds by February.”, “I want to go to the gym 3 times a week this year.”, “I want to quit smoking.” (just to name some of the typical New Year’s Resolutions people set), what if you chose a guiding word like “health” and measured your thoughts and actions against it?

“Will a third piece of cake really make me feel healthier?” (and don’t get me wrong, sometimes the answer can be “Yes” ;-) )

“Will I feel happy and mentally healthy when I keep calling myself a “moron who can’t get anything right!”?”

“Is the relationship with person X healthy for me, does it (mostly) feel joyful and expansive?”

This way, you have more of a guiding light that keeps you anchored in the FEELING behind your goal or resolution. AND it’ll help transform more than just one aspect or area in your life.

Personal Examples

One year, my word was “Fun”/”Having Fun”.

Did it mean every moment and every action in my life was fun? Nope! Far from it … AND, in every moment I had the chance to pause and ask myself “How can I make this (task, situation etc.) more fun for me?”

In a different year, my word was “simplicity”.

I love making things (much) more complicated than necessary, but it takes away all the light-heartedness and joy of life. So throughout the year I asked myself “How simple can I make it for me?” or “How can I make it 1% more simple?” – and then just observed what happened …

This year, my word is “self-trust”. It’s a juicy and a scary one and I know I will be tested on that.

Because once you choose a word, don’t be surprised when the Universe (or God, Goddess, Allah, Source, …) presents you with all sorts of situations where you can test your commitment to it. Remember your personal power, and choose it over and over and over again!

Over to You

Do you have a vision, a word that you can check back in on throughout your day or week?

Take a few moments to really get clear on the feeling you wish to experience … because ultimately, whatever goal you set for yourself, it’s usually the feeling you associate with it that you’re after!

(The desire to lose weight or do sports can indicate that you want to simply feel fit and healthy in your body. The desire to earn more money can indicate the wish to feel supported or free to make your own schedule. The desire to spend more time with friends/family can stand for the feeling of connection, being more in the moment or more intentional with your time.)

What word/ feeling/ phrase do you choose for your year or the next phase in your life?

And what if you placed that guiding word at the centre of all your decisions this year?

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