This time of the year many people are working through the resolutions they made at the end of last year, many of which will quickly become forgotten or purposely ignored.  These resolutions are often chosen based on a sense of obligation or duty – something we (or someone else) feels we “should” do.  As a result, our good intentions rarely make it past the first month of the year and we are often back to square one before we know it…   If we were to make choices based on things that we truly wanted, our commitment would be much greater and chances are we would succeed.  

So what can we do to encourage and support positive changes this time of year? One way is to start the New Year embracing resolutions that are based on “free choice” rather than those based on obligation or a “should” that might be floating around

in the recesses of your mind.  When we come from a place of free choice we are naturally more committed and empowered and we tend to stick to these decisions and choices that we have made.  Decisions made from obligation, duty, or a long held  “should” are not our choices and we often feel unmotivated to see them through to completion.   This can leave us feeling lousy which is not a good start to a new year.

Free choice resolutions are those choices that expand us and leave us with positive feelings such as empowerment, creativity, joy, focus, alignment, excitement, and so on.  We feel good because the choices we are making come from within and support us in having the life that we desire.  An example might be that you decide to work less hours to make more time for yourself and your family this year.  You may choose to leave Saturdays free and no longer do the extra hours that have caused you to work until dinner time.

Resolutions based on obligation leave us feeling constricted and produce feelings such as resentment, boredom, anxiety, confusion, resignation, and so on.  An example of a restricted resolution might be choosing to lose 5 kilos so your partner doesn’t stray or buying a car you can ill afford to look more presentable to your clients.

Free choice is empowering though it doesn’t mean these decisions are easy ones to make.  Many of us are accustomed to living our lives for other people or doing the “right” thing.  Some are even led to believe that putting yourself first is selfish.  Instead try taking a look at the choices you have made for 2016 and see if they really are a free choice.


1. Make a list of the resolutions/choices/goals you have set for 2016
2. Ask yourself how you feel when you read now – expanded or restricted?
3. Are they your choices or someone elses’s (can include your boss, company, community)
4. For any that feel restricting, explore how you might you reword them so that they feel more empowering.  Try starting with “I choose…

So in the early kick off of 2016, ask yourself what it is that you truly desire for the year and are the choices you have made going to support and expand your life?  Put any“resolutions” through a free choice checklist and they will become more easily achievable.

Living life from a free choice perspective means you are accountable and this can be overwhelming.  It means you are prepared to take control for creating the life you wish to have.  Engaging a coach or a friend to help you kick the year off is a great start.