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Say NO to New Year's Resolutions but Yes to Sustainable Change

This is a guest post by By Dr. Shawn Haywood

Let’s be honest: you haven’t stuck to a New Year’s resolution for more than a few days to a few weeks in your life (and you’re not alone)!

Ok, maybe there are one or two of you outliers out there who have endured a New Year’s resolution for a bit longer!

But on the whole, your NY’s resolutions have been a total flop, right?

Don’t be too hard on yourself; you have super great intentions, and that’s awesome! Unfortunately, NYs resolutions are set up to fail.

But, if it’s sustainable change you’re after, you CAN have it.  You just need to go about it more strategically. Change can be relatively simple, or it can be an impossible feat. It’s all in how you set it up.

Setting up Change to be Successful

There are steps you can take to ensure that your goals and desired changes are set up to be successful.  Let’s look at three actions you can take to ensure successful change in 2017.

1. Set a Theme

I have found it to be most helpful when clients create and set a theme for the coming year. A dedication, if you will, that will brightly and boldly color unfolding intentions, actions and decisions.

For example, over the years, I have set several annual themes: courage (I wanted to be more brave in my life in taking risks, setting boundaries and anything in between), receiving (I used to not feel deserving enough to open my heart to receiving; I preferred only to give), peace (I spend a year dedicated to creating calm and peace) and being present (I wanted to remove anxiety, and there’s no better way to achieve that than being present!). I have achieved many, many fabulously successful goals (and so have my clients) because of setting a conscious theme.

This year will be dedicated to surrender (I want a “next level” realization of emotional release). So while I have few negative feelings or situations in my life, I am after a complete release of ALL negativity! Pretty cool, huh? There are specific techniques for this: hit me up if you’re interested in learning to let go of negativity.

Now it’s your turn. You’re welcome to set the theme for your year to anything you choose, such as family, greater abundance, courage, slower pace of life, less work and more free time, healthier eating and physical wellness.

By the way, if you’re looking for less work and more free time, boy oh boy are you in for a treat! Check out our soon to launch Break up With Your Crazy Life training course!  You will love it, and it will aid in supporting any goals related to a desire for emotional calm, increased joy and way more free time!

Setting a theme for each year helps ensure an overall supportive architecture for each week as it unfolds. When the theme is floating consistently in the back of your mind, you’ll be encouraged to make decisions that align with your theme.

For example, if 2017 is dedicated to wellness, and wellness is actively echoing in your mind, you’ll have an easier time making choices that support wellness, as opposed to dieting, a concept which WILL ensure failure.

You’ll want your annual theme, or dedication, to be meaningful, important, heart-centered and aligned with your purpose, or at least a facet of your purpose.  Otherwise, you will stray and ultimately derail. 

This lack of purpose is the core reason that any goal or NY’s resolution fails in the first place. 

For example, “dieting to be skinny” is not a goal that your mind and heart can get behind. 

This is a very short explanation, and we have an entire program dedicated to helping women get to their ideal body shape by REMOVING the crap that keeps you blocked. It’s not as difficult as you might think, but I will say, losing weight is not sustainable because of all of the ways we approach it.  For more information about our Dieting be Damned program, click here!

2. Set Your Heart-Centered Objectives

Now for more specific objectives. I encourage clients to set their annual objectives for career and personal life in coordination with their annual theme. Again, this will keep both the conscious and subconscious mind on track. Of course, if a few goals or desired changes drift from center, no need to worry. This is a guideline. 

Secondly, do NOT set too many goals for the year. Change can easily overwhelm our emotions. Overwhelmed emotions easily thwart desired change. Three to five medium to significant changes are enough. 

For example, since dieting NEVER works long term, if you want to make wellness changes, choose one food to remove and one to add. 

If you want more family time, choose one day of the week that you religiously leave work at 3:00 p.m.  

Once any desired change is firmly in place and has become emotionally easy to practice, then you can add another goal or desired goal.  

3. Hang Out With Your Inner Rebel

Oh the inner rebel – or shall we say, stinker, turd, brat, scamp, rascal, pain in the arse! Yep, this part of every strong, bold, independent women is alive and well in each of us. Sometimes, our inner rebel serves us well and even has a unique intuition. Other times, it’s like she’s turned against us. No matter what our intentions, all she want to do is go against the grain and thwart our genuine efforts. 

She sounds like this, “Don’t tell me what to do/You can shove your salad and workout/I want cookies, pizza and a day of binge-watching Netflix!” Or, you fill in the blank, “Don’t tell me what to do I’ll _________ (overshop or overspend, eat what I like, spend three hours on social media, numb out with alcohol, think myself into a frenzy or perhaps gossip and judge others in an effort to feel better…).”

Yep, that little inner rebel can be a real handful. 

So what gives? What is her deal? And why does she rear her sassy little head at the worst possible times?!


It’s very simple.  She wants FREEDOM, and rebelling seems to satiate her, or at least it gives the illusion of temporary satiation and, of course, freedom.

Your rebel pops up most of the time because of three main reasons, all having to do with some form of self-neglect!

  1. She pops up when you’ve been too stringent, hard, strict or demanding of yourself, thus NOT allowing yourself time to PLAY and ADVENTURE! You need play and adventure to be your best and balanced self. These outlets help you maintain your equilibrium. So as you navigate change in your life, be absolutely sure that play and adventure are scheduled. Otherwise, your inner rebel WILL throw you off course.

  2. Every woman requires great loving care of her entire being in order to keep the inner rebel at bay and to be her best, happiest and productive self. This means unconditional self-love and self-compassion and does not include self-criticism, self-meanness or self-abuse of any kind!

  3. And thirdly, she will make herself known when self-protection skills like boundaries, saying no and speaking your heart (even when it is difficult or scary) is not being practiced. In this case, the inner rebel pops up as an effort to defend you in any way possible. And when you aren’t protecting yourself consistently, she will win and again throw you off track.

Are you getting the picture?

A key strategy for implementing successful change (in any life area) is attending to your inner rebel. Pay attention to her! Otherwise, your inner rebel will pop up, demand attention in not-so-helpful ways and thwart your efforts!

Wrap it up!

Permanent change is very possible. Unfortunately, most people go about it very poorly. Try out the tips above, and if you need more help or get stuck, there are plenty of other tools for ensuring successful change and goal achievement. Hit me up for help!

Cheers, and thanks for joining!  I would love your comments and feedback below or as a private message!

Hit me up if you’d like help getting started uprooting some of your limiting beliefs and journeying toward healing and happiness!

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