New Year, New You. It's a Thing, Right?

A list of New Year's resolutions next to a glass of water and measuring tape.

I mean, there’s some imagined switch that’s supposed to go off. And suddenly—poof!—like a magic dragon landed on your life, things are gonna be different, or they’re gonna turn around, or some desired or demanded resolution will have life-altering effects. By the way, a resolution would be a promise you make to yourself and probably won’t keep or address or adhere to (do I see a smile on your face?).

Broken Promises & Failed Resolutions

I keep asking myself: Why the promissory resolution? Is it because a new year allows you to hope for something different or new in your life? Is it because we summon hope when we have a date in time begging us to turn over a new leaf or be somehow different or strive for a dream that, up until now, has only been a dream?

And how come these resolutions don’t usually pan out? I mean, they really don’t work.

Why New Year's Resolutions Do Not Work Out

Just look at gym memberships. They spike in January, and by mid-March, those costly memberships are just taking money out of your account on a monthly basis. You might even forget about the automatic deduction, at least for a while. And those gyms that overbooked or seemed too crowded in January—well, by March they’re back to the diehards who have probably always taken it seriously.

It seems the New Year’s Resolution is more about how we want to be. I cannot tell you how many times I swore I’d go on that diet, or take a trip, or have that conversation I’d been meaning to have, and gave it over to the resolution of the year.

Gift Yourself the Gift of Intentions, Not Resolutions

That is until... Until the resolution and the idea of the resolution stopped. Yeah, it actually had to stop! What replaced it was a game-changer. I stopped the demand inherent in the resolution quagmire.

I realized, wow, I want to gift myself with a shift. I want to have greater integrity in my life. I need to set up the road to success. One step at a time. One gift at a time.

And the gift could not be about the archetypal people pleaser, or the critic, or the judge. It had to come from the archetypal lovers or the cheerleader or the magic held within that is too often not acknowledged or tapped into.

How Intentions Differ from Resolutions

You see, when you stop the resolution, it doesn’t take your power, your innate abilities, or your yearning for a life yet to be discovered into its grip. A resolution too often leads to disappointment and grief. The gift to the self, you can leave it, take it, listen to it, hold it, consider it, and finally, if you choose, enjoy it! It can sit idly, and you can shelve it, and smile when you are ready to engage with it.

And this is the deal. It’s your secret. The gift, the intention of the gift, isn’t shared with anyone. It belongs completely to you. No one is watching, judging, or wondering are you gonna do it this year. What a relief.

The gift is not to be shared. The gift is sacred. The gift is a giving to the self.

Make it a year of… not for me to say!

Isn't it time?


Edy Nathan

Edy Nathan, MA, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and certified sex therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field of grief and trauma. She is a certified EMDR practitioner, regression therapist, and certified hypnotherapist. Her formal training as a psychotherapist integrates with her views on trauma, abuse, and death.