Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution and discovered within a short time that you had already broken it? Most of us have and late night comedians even joke about it. Why is breaking New Year’s resolutions such a common experience?

Think about the nature of many New Year’s resolutions. They usually sound something like:

“I will lose weight.” “I will get out of debt.” “I will stop eating sugar.”

Most New Year’s resolutions are about fixing or changing something about yourself that you or others would like to see differently. The implication is that something is wrong with you and that your life is supposed to be other than it is.

Such an emphasis places you firmly in the problem-focused Victim Orientation. You feel victimized by what you don’t like about yourself. Thus, your inner state becomes anxious and stressful. Over time, this self-criticism can become internally toxic and shaming.

Starting from a place of emotional anxiety and focusing on what you don’t like leads you down the road of disempowerment – even if the initial intention was seemingly one of improvement.  Eventually, as research shows over and over again, when it comes to problem-oriented self-improvement, you are very likely to give up on your New Year’s resolution.

Focusing on fixing yourself also places you in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ and makes you vulnerable to the toxic DDT roles. Because you feel like a Victim to what you don’t like, you can then be a Persecutor of yourself for not having it or not being perfect in sticking to the resolution, and quickly look for a Rescuer to help you feel better.  And that Rescuer is often to give up.

When you are coming from a Victim Orientation and engaging the DDT, you are actually working against yourself. The more your focus is on how you “should” be this or that, the more your ego digs in, becomes defensive and refuses to change. That’s why New Year’s resolutions that are about fixing yourself are likely to fail.

A healthier approach is to set your intentions from a Creator Orientation and TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™. Start by focusing on what you care about, which evokes your passion and appreciation for who you are, or what you want to create. Instead of setting a goal, clarify an inspiring outcome that sets a long-term direction.

In training programs, Donna tells a story from several years back about how her inner-Coach helped her to shift from a problem-focused resolution of “losing 20 pounds – again” to an outcome inspiration she holds even today, which is “be healthy as I age.”

We suggest focusing your time and energy on what you want – what has heart and meaning and inspires you – in 2016. Then, on a daily basis ask yourself: “What is one Baby Step I can take toward my envisioned outcome today?” Focusing on what you want to create rather than what you don’t want will dramatically increases the likelihood you will actually take action toward manifesting what you want in life.

Clarifying what you want and holding that mental picture in your consciousness will create an inner state of purpose and passion and give you energy to take those Baby Steps. That’s the path toward an empowered New Year!