Stymied Resolutions

Okay, here we are in the “Post Holiday blues”, and the New Year of 2017 is just around the corner. Time for resolutions… or not. There’s a couple of reasons I think our resolutions often fail to work, so let’s take a look.

My guess is that many of you are familiar with the “Law of Attraction” new age formula that comes from Hindu or even earlier thought. It says Intention + Attention = Manifestation. Let me clarify that a bit:

Intention: aim, plan, dream, goal, objective, purpose

Attention: action, application, deeds, movement, response, industry

Manifestation: results, outcome

So how we feel about something combined with what we do about it creates a result. Seems clear, doesn’t it? Well, I want to tweak it a bit, based on math. I think the action should be multiplication not addition. In math multiplication by zero equals zero, and I think that’s what happens here. Great dream, no action creates nothing. No dream, lots of action also creates nothing.

Here’s the deal. The reason this is called the Law of Attraction is that it doesn’t care whether you believe in it or not, it still applies. Like gravity, gravity doesn’t care whether I understand or believe in it, does it?

So why is this a big deal? Well because we often come at those New Year’s Resolutions without being clear on where we are in the Dream x Action = Results equation. For most of us, we are better at scurrying around doing the actions, than actually stopping and really getting clear on what we want—Oh, and why we want it.

That “why we want it” part is important—it actually leads to the real desire. Why do you want more money? Or more free time? Or more shoes? Is it really about those things? My guess is that they are just symbols for what it’s really about. Ask yourself what would be different if you had more time, money or shoes? Go deeper. Get clearer about what you really want. By having that Intention part clear you’ll be in a much better position to achieve success.

It’s really all about how we think about it, isn’t it? If I say: “Don’t think of a purple elephant,” the first thing that pops into your head is the image of a purple elephant, yes? Frame things in what you want, not what you don’t want.

One more thing to mention, and it’s probably the most important thing. It’s about negative emotions. That persistent inner critic voice in your head. The one that says “You have to make and keep resolutions because you messed up last year!” A resolution based on self-recrimination is not motivational. Guilt does not help us achieve our goals, we achieve them in spite of guilt not because of it.

Wanting to do better and improve is one thing. Beating yourself up for not having succeeded is very different, and not effective.

The trick to making your resolutions successful is getting clear on your dream and creating actions that support and align with that dream! The process itself is illuminating. Give it a try!


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want some help untangling what’s behind your intentions? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at