New Year, New You? Not so fast...

I hope the new year is treating you well!  

For over 4,000 years, dating back to the ancient Babylonian civilization, people have been making New Year’s resolutions.  However, the ancient Babylonian calendar didn’t begin in January like ours does, rather, theirs began in Spring.  

The reason this is important is that energetically, winter is a time for stillness and concentration.  It is the embodiment of rest and clarity, of introspection and consolidation.  Much of our animal kingdom uses this time to rest/hibernate — there is so much to be learned by observing patterns in nature.  

The days (our active hours) are short and the nights (our rest hours) are long.  So why do we make our resolutions during this time of rest and reflection?  

It should come as no surprise then, that only 8% of people who make resolutions actually adhere to them all year with 80% having failed by the start of February.  

If this has been your experience, not to worry.  Just wait.  Use this time for what it is meant for, for reflecting on all of the lessons learned from the previous year. What did you learn? What went well for you?  What would you like to approach differently in the coming year?  What are you grateful for? What are you proud of?  What was a positive surprise?  What did you avoid?  What was your biggest challenge?  What was your most meaningful moment?  What was the best way you used your time?  What was the most fun you had?  If you could travel back to the beginning of the year, what advice would you give yourself?

As you answer these questions, you should start to get a better idea of what you want for yourself moving forward which should make writing your resolutions for the coming year MUCH easier.  

Resolutions are best written in the spring utilizing the energy of expansion, new growth, vitality, and new beginnings that spring naturally embodies.  This way, you’ll have not only more insight from the reflections and clarity gained from the energy of winter, but the energetic support of the spring season to help you plant the seeds of intention for the coming year.  

Here are a few tips for helping you create and adhere to your “resolutions”:

  1. Consider picking a theme instead of specific goals.  

For example, upon reflecting on the previous year, I have come to realize that my best moments of 2023 were when I was “present”.  This comes really easily to me professionally as a life coach and hypnotherapist, yet not nearly as easily on a personal level.  Therefore, my theme for 2024 will likely revolve around being present across all areas of my life.  Or maybe it should be “balance”.  I’ll decide as we move closer to spring and I continue to integrate these reflections.


  1. Consider creating a vision board or, what I like to call a “becoming” board.  

Make a digital or tangible visual representation for the year ahead.  Use images and words that represent what your life will look like if you are the best, most perfect version of yourself where you have everything you could ever possibly want or need available to you.  

Try to incorporate as many senses as you can because that’s what excites your brain making it work harder to find examples of these things to be true for you.  

Use present tense language as if the things you are working toward are already true.  Your brain cannot distinguish reality from imagination so, once again, “pretending” these things are already true will trick your brain into finding more examples of them being true thus bringing your dreams to fruition.  

Keep this board in a place where you can easily and regularly access it.  I use mine as both my phone and computer lock screens. 


  1. Consider journaling daily to keep yourself accountable and to reflect regularly on progress as well as any setbacks you experience in achieving your theme/intention.  

Journaling is such a good way to keep yourself on track and to chart growth.  I am not at all consistent with this, but tend to do best using an app like Gratitude just before bedtime so I can reflect on the day and set intentions for the following day.

The key to success in making and achieving any goal is to be realistic, prepare for and adapt to change/challenges along the way, and to be consistent in your approach.  Setting intentions or resolutions is no different.  Give yourself a head start by utilizing the energy of the season that will best support you: winter for reflection, spring for setting intentions (planting the seeds), summer for taking action (fostering growth/nurturing), and autumn for harvesting (reaping the rewards).

Amy W. Barbour, MS

Certified Hypnotherapist & Life Coach