New Year’s: 5 Tips for Effective Resolutions

The last place you will find me on New Year’s Eve is at a party drinking champagne or watching fireworks (although one year I did watch the fireworks on the beach in Hawaii, and it was kind of fun). For a “woman of action” such as myself, New Year’s Eve and Day are the most important times of the year for contemplating where I’ve been, where I’m headed, and much more importantly where I want to go (and what I want to do.) It’s a time of rebirth, and I use that energy to create the year that I want to have ahead of me, rather than let it happen accidentally.

Oh, I know I can’t control everything. But I believe we all control more than we think we do. And the process of visualizing the life we want to live almost always leads to a better life, if we work towards that vision rather than sitting back and expecting it to magically happen.

So I make lists. It’s more than resolutions, it’s my list for things I want to accomplish and work towards. I also check back to last year’s list and see how I’ve done. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things that make me even more confident in the importance of this process. So here are five things I’ve learned that can guide you towards a better New Year.

1: Carve out time on New Year’s Eve to contemplate your life. For me, it involves a combination of grooming—taking a bath, making sure my nails are clean and cut, etc., and then heading out to sit in nature for a few minutes or half an hour. If it’s cold, dress warm and take a blanket. If it’s warm, I envy you! Visualize the year you would love to have, and ask the universe for guidance.

2: Dig deep and dare to dream. Are you desperately unhappy with an aspect of your life? Put it on the list. You may not know how to change it at this point, but putting it on the list will remind you, and more than likely the answer will come. Or, if there is something you’ve always wanted to do or learn, but have never done, put a notation on the list to make time, or take a class to get you started.

3: Focus less on the outcome, and more on the action that will get you to that outcome. Let’s take the most common one: Loose weight. Much too generic! How are you going to do it? For me, I need to be specific about the exercise that’s going to happen, or the change in food behavior. Get to the root of why you have gained weight and address that! Suffice it to say that for the first time in a very long time, I am leaving this year lighter than when I began it. But I had to get to the root of the issue first—and often it’s a psychological one.

4: It’s OK if sometimes it takes many years to accomplish something on your list. Sometimes we just can’t get it all done in one year. That doesn’t mean you have failed, it just means you need to have more persistence. I had “build a chicken coop” on my list for a good 10 years. Now, is it time to get those dang chickens? Perhaps. In the meantime, our Guinea hens are enjoying the snug security of their luxury coop.

5: Create a theme for your year that is easy to remember, that you can think of like a mantra. Is this your year to rest and reflect? Or to boldly make change? Do you want and need to go with the flow, or do you need to give yourself more focus? Think of one thing that can guide many of your actions, and that can be your beacon throughout the year.  For some years for me it’s simply been to survive. Other years it’s been to thrive. Our lives have seasons and cycles, and part of this process is learning to find our rhythm and our fulfillment.

Happy New Year!


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3 Responses to New Year’s: 5 Tips for Effective Resolutions

  1. WTGeorge December 31, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Thanks for this. I’d missed the two Art of Living in Balance entries, so I went back to look at those as well. I think you should write a book that takes this theme–self-improvement–as it’s subject. (If you’ve already written one, forgive me for having missed it.) I love the ideas you have and would appreciate more and a deeper treatment–especially considering food, diet, exercise and “the Art of Living in Balance” intersection.

  2. Lynn December 31, 2010 at 10:45 pm #


    In one of the recent OG magazines, you said that you would like to know how to use herbs medicinally. I recently became a member @

    It’s wonderful! I’m learning how to make tinctures, infusions, and all kinds of things made from herbs. I think you might really like it.

  3. Charles Betterton January 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Hi Maria!

    Thank you for sharing your recommendations for ways to celebrate New Years. Like you, New Years has always been one of the most meaningful days of the year for me. It is a time to remember who I am, why I am here and what I came forth to be, do and have stewardship over. With your permission, I would like to reprint this post in a program I created and offer for Developing Spiritually Centered New Year’s Resolutions.

    Twelve of us just spent a few hours together here in Sedona, AZ on January 2nd sharing our insights and intentions for the new year and the 5 points are perfect reinforcement for the vision we shared and our heart’s desire to grow, evolve and help manifest what Bucky Fuller referred to as “betterment for 100% of humankind”. Personally, I especially appreciate point #4 as many of my intentions and goals are long range visions. Thank you so much for sharing your suggestions.

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