The year of inner resolutions – 3 questions you need to ask yourself this New Year

Out of the fog of the silly season and New Year’s Eve, many of us ‘resolve’ to make New Year’s goals that will really bring us success and happiness. We jump from one extreme to the other and from too much food and drink we decide to become vegan and run a marathon to make up for all the excess over the last few weeks!

The excitement and excesses of the holiday season leave many feeling emotionally and mentally vulnerable. When our energy is depleted we tend to give ourselves a harder time and we leave the door wide open for the inner critic to judge all of our ‘shortcomings’. This is where people usually begin to put pressure on themselves with harsh and unrealistic goals such as:

  • “I’m never drinking again” or
  • “I‘m going to lose a stone in a week”
  • “I need to get a new job and do a Masters at the same time”

While these goals express positive intentions and may have some worth, the approach needs to be more measured and balanced. When we put pressure on ourselves to quickly change habits that have been ingrained for a long time, we end up feeling worse about ourselves than we did in the beginning. Often the resolutions we made on 31st December have faded by the second week in January and the inner critic now has a fresh mental stick to beat us with! Examples include,

  • “See, I told you, you are no good”
  • “You never achieve anything you set out to do’’
  • “You can’t stick to anything – just give up!”
How can you make goals that last?

Whether it is January or June, truly achieving your goals is a matter of both perspective and patience. We have become so conditioned to believe that external events will lead to the internal state we crave and that this is always in the future and difficult to attain. Examples include:

  • “When I lose weight then I will feel attractive.”
  • “When I get a new job then I will feel confident.”
  • “When I am fit then I will feel healthy.”
  • “When I am in a relationship then I will feel lovable.”
  • “When I get my degree then I will feel intelligent.”

Behind all of these thoughts is the belief that you are only good enough if something or someone external validates it. However, by putting the internal state first as the goal (in the present tense) then the external goal becomes the consequence of the internal feeling.

Read these sentences again and focus on the difference.
  • “I feel attractive and then I will lose weight.”
  • “I feel confident then I will get the new job.”
  • “I feel healthy then I will be fit.”
  • “I feel lovable and then I will be in a relationship.”
  • “I feel intelligent and then will I get my degree.”
It is the internal state that drives us to take positive action.

For example, we first need to feel confident (internal state) in order to perform well at an interview to get a new job (external goal). Ultimately it is not complex and comes down to where you put your attention. If you focus on feeling confident, healthy, intelligent, loveable and attractive NOW, not at some point in the future, you will have the energy it takes to achieve more than you may ever have imagined.

Success doesn’t make us happy, happiness makes us successful.

Ask yourself these three questions to help you find out what it is that you need to truly cultivate for 2018.

  1. How do I want to feel when I rise in the morning?
  2. How do I want to feel as I go through my day?
  3. What three external goals support these feelings in 2018?

Write down the feeling or feelings that you want to feel – this internal state is now your main goal for 2018 and allow everything to flow from this place.

Remove the pressure and replace it with patience and self-compassion.

Your subconscious mind will automatically look for opportunities that back up the goal of your internal state. When we feel good about ourselves good things happen as we exude a positive energy that draws people and opportunities to us. Remember to be balanced, patient and kind and your best self will flourish in 2018.

Fiona Brennan
Fiona Brennan
Fiona Brennan is a Clinical Hypnotherapist with a busy practice in Dublin.4. She is a TEDx Speaker and also regularly features in the media as an ambassador of positive psychology and how to manage stress and anxiety. She is the founder and Creator of the five-star self-help course, The Positive Habit, designed to help people to reduce anxiety levels and to reach their full potential. Please subscribe to Fiona's free weekly blog, The Positive Pause- a pearl of personal positivity that is shared with you every week - full information can be found on