How To Keep Your New Year's Resolutions in 2019

New Year’s on Venice Beach

Or,… Are You Still Trying to Lose Those Same 10 lbs?

You survived the holidays! Some good times, some not-so-great times. Much food and drink was consumed, bowl games were watched and bet on, and somehow withstood the usual barrage of questions about your life. But now the parties are over, and it’s finally 2019! It would be exciting—if only your head would just stop pounding, and if you didn’t feel so ridiculously sluggish as a result of everything you didn’t really pay attention to these last few weeks…

Fresh start in 2019 in Los Angeles

Part of you is excited about a new year, and having a fresh start. But part of you is bummed that 2018 didn’t go the way you’d planned, and it’s discouraging to think about making New Year’s Resolutions that will once more be long forgotten by February.

You wonder, “How can I stick to my New Year’s Resolutions this year?”

The most important factor in formulating your resolutions is making certain they align with your values.

Resolutions that don’t truly reflect your values are difficult, if not impossible, to keep. It sounds simple, but let me explain with an example from my own life:

Every New Year, for probably 20 years, I made the resolution to lose 10 lbs. Let me be clear—the same 10 lbs. And every December I felt like shit as I realized I still hadn’t lost that friggin’ weight, and it was going right back on my list again in January.

Then one day I asked myself, “What is it you really want, Amy?” “Duh,” I told myself right back, “I want to be thin!”.

I decided that maybe it was time to look a little deeper. Obviously just wanting to be thin wasn’t working for me. So I dug deeper and I asked myself, “What would being thin do for me?” Again I answered pretty quickly, “I would be attractive and feel good about my body.”

There’s the rub.

“Why?” you ask. Because—I have been chubby, I have been slender, and I have been painfully, unhealthily thin. And (at that point, at least) throughout all these different iterations of myself, I NEVER felt good about my body. I started to ponder this…Maybe being thin isn’t going to get me what I ACTUALLY want. Maybe I can stop chasing the wrong thing, and go for something that might stand some chance of making me feel good about my body (and myself—I am a woman in America, after all. How I feel about my body and how I feel about myself are inextricably intertwined!)

So how can I feel better about my body?

This new question was so much more appropriate, so much more helpful, and so much more in line with my actual values. I wanted to feel strong, healthy, and in love with my own body.

Here are some of the things I came up with:

1.Self-help books.

Read self-help books about loving your body just the way it is. There are loads of exercises and affirmations to be found inside them.


When #1 wasn’t quite enough.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

3. Action

Do things to make me feel energetic and powerful. Aerobic exercise, weight lifting, yoga all made me feel great. Just jumping on my bike and riding to the beach almost always brought a smile to my face. I learned to focus on what my body could do for me, not what it looked like.


Get rid of my “skinny clothes” and find clothes that look attractive on me right now.


Stop waiting to do things “when I lose those 10lbs”, or “when I fit into that dress”, and do those things right now. If I’m uncomfortable in my body, do it anyway.


Treat myself to body-focused things like facials, mani-pedi’s and massages. (You can say your therapist told you to do it, if you need an excuse to try these—they’re definitely therapeutic!)


Stop inserting “I really need to lose some weight” into conversations. The truth is, no one else really gives a crap. Your friends absolutely don’t care. Your co-workers for damn sure don’t care. Your SO just wants you to love your body enough to be less inhibited about sex. Which brings me to my final point:


Enjoy sex. Love sex. Be playful. Be creative. Keep the lights on. That’s right.

I know this is one of the most challenging ideas if you don’t love your body right now, but see if you can do a little experiment just once: Give yourself permission to pretend you have an amazing body that you totally love. It’s a game, and you are role-playing. Be as playful as you can. Again, just try this once as an experiment. You don’t need to ever do it again if you don’t want to. And, as always, you can stop at any point and change your mind. You can tell your partner that you are doing this or not, as you please.

So did it work? Yup. I no longer obsess about those 10 lbs. I can’t even remember the last time I weighed myself. Sometimes I am frustrated that some particular clothing item doesn’t look great on me any more, but that doesn’t define me. Sure, I wish I could see my abs, but I don’t feel bad about myself because I can’t. Overall I love my body. It runs it bikes it skis it hugs it laughs it cries—and it gave birth to my greatest joys in life.

So what’s the lesson here?

Goals for 2019 in Los Angeles

Look at your favorite New Year’s Resolution, the one that comes up every year, but never actually gets “resolved”. Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve with that goal. Now go a bit deeper and ask the important question, “What will I feel if I achieve this? What would this achievement mean to me?” Keep asking this question until you get that “Ah Ha” moment. It can feel like “Ah Ha”, or sometimes it can just make you burst into tears as you realize that all you really want is to feel good about yourself, or to have people love you. Even “wanting people to love you” is probably still a step away from the deeper desire— “I want to know I am lovable”— which is another way of wanting to feel good about yourself.

Now you can make a resolution that might get you a lot closer to feeling good about yourself or feeling lovable, which is basically the same thing.

Summary of The Process:

At the end of the day, what will make you feel good about yourself, is living a life that is deeply aligned with your personal values. So…

1.    Take some time to identify your core values. This is a great way to start any new year!

2.    Now write down your resolutions, and see if they relate back to your core values in a healthy way.


 For example, if one of your goals is “Make more money in 2019”, don’t forget to ask yourself the question “what do I get if I make more money?” If your answer is, “feeling important”, or “validating my decision to spend all that money on grad school” then there might be other ways to better achieve that. If you can be truly honest with yourself (not easy to do!) and look at what you want actually want to achieve, you can pursue a path to that goal that will be much more effective (and much less likely to appear on your list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2020)!

Wanting to make more money is not inherently bad or good, but be clear on what you are trying to accomplish, so you don’t go chasing the wrong thing (like I did for 20+ years!)

Once you identify what you really want, and how you are going to work to get there, you will probably still need some help powering through those moments when you just don’t want to get up an hour early to do that yoga class, no matter how powerful it will make your body feel.

Tips From the Experts:

Experts advise focusing on 2 things when it comes to the details of achieving your goals:

1.  Make your goals SMART






You will already know why your goal is relevant because you first connected it to your core values. Now you just need to chunk it down so you can measure and track it.

2. Plan for the obstacles ahead

The road ahead in Los Angeles

Some excellent research on this topic has been done by Gabriele Oettingen, Professor of Psychology and New York University and the University of Hamburg, and author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation (2014).

Dr. Oettingen tells us that planning for the obstacles that will undoubtedly arise in the course of you pursuing your goal, will make a huge difference in your ability to achieve that goal. She even has an app you can use to help you with this process, if apps are your jam. Dr. Oettingen calls her process WOOP, for Wish, Outcome, Obstacles, Plan. WOOP is a simple but effective process that you can learn quickly and easily, so check it out here.

Jumping in the air on Venice Beach

Does This All Sound Overwhelming? Could You Use Some More Help?

If you are having trouble identifying the deep desire behind that goal that always seems just out of reach, or if your goal is to develop a deeper understanding about who you are and why you feel the way you do, or if you just want to stop feeling lousy or overwhelmed, give me a call at 323-999-1537, or email me at, and we will set up a time for a free consultation either over the phone, or in my office, as you prefer. I want 2019 to be your best year yet!