By Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., D.N.C.C.M., F.A.A.E.T.S.

sober woman celebrating new years

How do you make the most of the New Year? Do you create a new resolution; revamp an old one; or continue following a resolution from the previous year? Resolutions occur through a firm decision to do or not do something. Resolutions may be personal or impersonal. Whatever the case, resolution is life’s change agent; allowing for you to refocus, redefine, and to establish new patterns, pursuits, and ambitions in life.

Why is it that we are so drawn to resolutions? Even the word resolution, seems to embody the very nature of the new year celebration. While the reasoning behind an individual resolution may vary; they are often encompassing a similar mission and vision for the new year. For many, it’s an opportunity to recover, restore, to bring forth restitution, redemption, revival and a sense of rebirth to one’s humanity. Moreover, it’s an opportunity for many to feel rejuvenated and as though life has given them a second chance.

Unfortunately, resolutions fizzle quickly. Research has indicated that nearly 80% of resolutions fizzle by January 15th. Why is it that resolutions fizzle in the first place? Is this an indication that the individual was not completely on board?

How many times have you started the new year by establishing new goals? Did you achieve these goals? Do you feel that your goals were too lofty or unattainable? Why is it that you did not make the mark? Do you feel that you were completely on board?

There may be a number of factors that have prevented you from fulfilling your new year’s resolutions, but understanding and making sense of these adversities is essential to achieving your goals.


What is adversity? Adversity is an unfavorable, hostile, or an opposing force trying to prevent a particular outcome. Adversity is part of the human experience; without it, we would have no reason for self-improvement. It is not isolated to one role, an individual, organization, or a particular personality type. It is not an indication of a particular character flaw or weakness.

Adversity is an essential ingredient of the human experience. It comes in a variety of forms including psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual and financial. We may become very bogged down by our adversities. While they may feel like a state of perpetual misfortunes or difficulties; the reality is, our adversities are a mere challenge begging us to improve an aspect of our life. Adversity is life’s change agent trying to help us improve and make wiser decisions in this life. It is not to bog us down, but to create a clearer pathway for self-improvement.

Whether we are facing financial challenges or other types of adversities; we must strive to face them head on. Adversity is begging us to prove resilient and to overcome the obstacles set in front of us.


As humans, we are naturally drawn and equipped to care, protect, and nurture our offspring. We may provide our children with a variety of insulators to protect them from the possibility of harm. The natural tendency is to act proactively and preventively, rather than being reactive. It is the natural design to keep undesirable and unfavorable issues at bay.

We literally try insulating our children from the physical elements. We may layer our children with clothing to keep them insulated from harmful conditions or lather them up with topical lotions to prevent sunburns and frostbites, but in doing all of this, we do it to protect and insulate our children from foreseeable and unforeseeable harm. In life, there are many factors that may insulate us from harm or the potential of harm. Even if we were not fortunate enough to have parental caregivers who protected us or equipped us with the knowledge of how to protect ourselves; we are naturally equipped to prove resilient. While the level of resiliency may vary; the human condition has fortified itself and prepared the individual for the known and unknown obstacles of life. Even genetically, science has
linked our resiliency to our psychological and physiological makeup.

Dr. George A. Bonanno, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University “has been looking into how people cope with distressing experiences and set about healing deep psychological wounds. Our inherent strength of mind is often underestimated.” Society has become reliant upon excuses, shame and blame. Our human nature is equipped to overcome and systematically dissect any obstacle. “Our emotional make-up and repertoire,” explains Bonanno, “gives us a very effective tool that allows us to deal with loss and trauma relatively quickly.” Unfortunately, we have become a society bogged down by the shame and blame game. We have informed ourselves and others that they do not have to prove resilient. Yet, resiliency is an innate part of the human condition.


The secret to making your resolutions a reality is to never give up. When life’s obstacles come along, deny them access to your psychological framework. Do not allow yourself to become bogged down by negative thinking. Do not allow yourself to be bogged down by the negative thinking of others. We will all find ourselves in the midst of a naysayer.  Naysayers will always tell you that you are not equipped or ill-equipped to achieve a particular goal. If this is the case, do whatever it takes to become properly equipped to achieve your goals. Naysayers may have attempted to achieve a similar goal and may have failed. Naysayers are always willing to tell you what you are doing wrong and why something will not work. They are often individuals filled with envy, jealousy, and fear. They rarely see the glass as half full, but rather as half empty. If you allow the naysayer or the negative thinking to become your prominent train of thought; you will certainly fail at whatever goal you are trying to achieve. Please understand that you can also prove to be your own worst enemy. Do not allow yourself to become your personal nemeses or  Naysayer.


What is life? Why are we born into this life? Are we simply born to live and die? Are we born to live life to its fullest? What is your ambition in life? A resolution is no more than recognizing life’s goals, ambitions and desires of the heart. Do whatever it takes to achieve these goals, ambitions, and the desires of your heart.

Creating your best year ever will take effort and you will certainly face opposition. Whether you are looking at overcoming a particular habit; a negative way of thinking; or achieving a specific goal; you are capable of doing much more than you give yourself credit for. Life is about proving your ultimate best. Do not allow yourself to become bogged down by the negative thinking of others.

Change is never easy. If you are striving to improve yourself or your environment; you will certainly face a variety of adversaries. Do not allow your life to be penned by the thinking of others. Do not allow your life to be determined by negative desires or ambitions of others. You are your best ally. You are your best advocate. Prove unto yourself that you are capable of achieving whatever goal you have in mind. Be certain to equip yourself and surround yourself with positive people. If you surround yourself with negative thinkers, in time you will become a negative thinker. If you surround yourself with positive thinkers, you will naturally become a positive thinker. Do whatever it takes to purge yourself of negative thoughts, thinkers, and environments. You are capable of improving your life. Do not allow the mistakes of your past to become the roadmap of your future. For who you are is much more than the mile markers of life. For who you are is a person that is a person of worth, value, and the right to live life to its fullest. Find within yourself the ability to prove resilient. You are equipped to prove an overcomer. Do not allow your obstacles to prove the victor in your life. Do whatever it takes to allow your natural unconditional state to be your roadmap in life. We are all equipped to unconditionally approve, admire, and love our innermost person. Let yourself create your best year ever

Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., D.N.C.C.M., F.A.A.E.T.S.
References Provided Upon Request