Why New Years Resolutions & Plans Do Not Work For Me (& What I Do Instead)

You know those ‘year ahead’ planners that you see a lot of this time of year – workbooks which help you to decide what you want to achieve this year, featuring a calendar (with tips and pointers slotted into it) to help you plan the execution of your goals?

I fail at those.

Until recently, every year I would buy one and fill it out.

And every year I would ditch my plan within about 3 weeks. I would also feel bad that I could not stick to a plan or a resolution. I’d wonder what was wrong with me.

Yet I would also make progress in my life, as the year passed. I’d set up healthier habits and kick old unhealthy ones. I’d make progress in my professional life. I would reach many (but probably not all) of my goals. However, the process for reaching them was not a linear, ‘A to B’ one. I would sometimes wake up in the morning and have no idea what I was going to work on.

Why I Suck at New Years Resolutions

When I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Four Tendencies, I finally understood why I was no good at following detailed plans and achieving New Year’s Resolutions.

According to Rubin, when it comes to success, there are four personality types – Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels.

I am a rebel, which means that I prefer to be free and spontaneous in how I go about achieving my goals. I like to achieve them in my own way and in my own time. When I do actually create plans and resolutions I self-sabotage – the more detailed a plan I create to achieve them, the more likely I am to ditch that plan, along with its deadlines, and do it my own way!

Yes, it is as contrary as it sounds.

Apparently, rebels are the smallest group in the population, so not many people reading this will belong to this group.

But if you are also a rebel, read on because I am going to share how I achieve and reach my goals, using my intuition and a pendulum. This method might also be helpful for you (or it might not.)

(And If you’re interested to find out which type you are…)

Take the quiz here.

My Method for Productivity

Here’s what I do to achieve my goals:

  • I write out my long term goals for what I want to achieve on the top of a piece of paper
  • On the same piece of paper, I write out all the actions I could take today – professionally and personally
  • I tune into my Higher Self, Spirit Guides (I also invoke the guides who are involved in my business) and ask them to tell me what to do next to help me to achieve my goals
  • I get out my pendulum and dowse on all the actions on my piece of paper until I settle on one
  • I work on the task I was given for 25 minutes, or until it is complete
  • Then I repeat the process.

Involved? Yes.

But it works for me. And most importantly, it keeps me in a state of flow and allows me to conquer any resistance towards the recommended actions straight away. Plus, I do not usually decide what is most urgent or helpful to work on right now – Spirit usually takes care of the order I need to do these tasks in, and the order always makes sense and keeps me from dropping the many balls I have to juggle in my busy life.

As a rebel, you’d think I would dislike being told what to work on now, but I think it works for me because it feels spontaneous and exciting to not know what I am going to be doing next.

How This Way of Working Protects Against Depression

I have (well managed) Seasonal Affective Disorder and am rather prone to depression. It is my default way of being when I get out of balance, and my depression is a lazy, lethargic, tired depression, which is not very helpful for getting things done.

On top of using a light box, my non-negotiable daily walk, and the occasional help of herbal remedies such as St John’s Wort, I use the method above if I’m depressed, with one difference – I add really basic stuff to my daily list, like showering, eating breakfast and doing the dishes. It stops me from getting stuck and overwhelmed. It combats procrastination and keeps me on the move.

It also makes me feel like I am making progress towards my long term goals, because I am specifically asking, what do I need to do next to achieve those goals? So I feel like what I am doing is not pointless.

Are you procrastinating, stuck, depressed, unmotivated or in a rut?

Have a business and are overwhelmed with everything you need to get done?

Or just an irritating rebel like me?

Give it a go!

Full instructions for dowsing and tuning into your guides and higher self are given in my Intuitive Awakening Course or a short version in this free e-course.

Dowsing troubleshooting tips are here.

Here are some questions for you, dear reader:

Do you normally set resolutions?

Which of the 4 tendencies is yours?

Please leave a comment if you have something to share!

Meet Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Sayce! My purpose here on this website is to provide practical techniques and information to help empaths to understand, and fix the root of their energetic overwhelm & also to help sensitives to embrace and develop their intuitive gifts. I believe that developing our spiritual & intuitive side is very powerful and allows us to improve our own lives, and if we wish, even make the world a better place for others. Discover more >


  1. Ryan

    Thank you so much for your blog. Greetings for everyone to have a blessed new year.
    When the new year is here i usually focus on my age. I always focus on goals but havent been following through I dont stress on them for health reasons. One good thing – I found someone with similar goals and remembering “saying is different from doing”. Help from Debra to understand my soul purpose through the Akashic Records put a new spin on my life as well.

  2. Betty

    I can so relate to this. I am for sure a rebel. I have to put trust in the dowsing. Sometimes I feel like I’m just making it do what I want and I feel like I am getting the wrong answers. I have to be more optimistic. I am also in your Akashic Records program and it’s definitely a skill I need to practice more of. Any suggestions would be very helpful at this time since at the moment I am lacking direction and a bit of depression with my current profession. Thanks, Anna! Love your articles!

  3. Shelly Ebeling

    Hi Anna,

    I took the quiz and I am not surprised to find out that I am also a Rebel. Thank you for sharing your technique on how to still manage and move forward when those ‘to-do’ lists get overwhelming.

    Happy New Year!


  4. Katrina

    I have come out as a Rebel too – maybe not so uncommon as they say?

  5. Elaine Kolp

    Thanks for this article. It’s a keeper.

    I am also a rebel, also have SAD, also find it helpful to put showering on my “do” list. I find that the I Ching works really well as a divination tool.


  6. Andrea

    Thanks for this.
    Despite being an Upholder I have a rebellious streak, and I enjoy using my pendulum.

    I’m also highly independent so it will be interesting to ‘follow instructions’ instead of imposing my will on myself. I could do with some kindness…:-)

  7. Anna Sayce

    Thanks everyone for your comments! I have had a lot of messages from people who say they are rebels too so maybe they are overrepresented among people who read this website!!

  8. Alexi

    I love this article!
    I am a mixture of types but I Rebel is my strongest one. I am never good at following plans and goals. I find that an approach similar to yours works for me.
    I would have a vision in mind without “signing in blood” on a deadline and I would ask myself “What can I do today to move towards my vision” – that would prevent overload. A lot of days it’s just do nothing and rest since I tend to burn myself out a lot.

Explore my Blog Categories


Your Intuition


Your Sensitivity

Using Your

Gifts To Help Others

What would you like to learn?


The Intuitive Awakening Program

The Intuitive Awakening Program

‘Zero to intuitive’ in 13 weeks

In my most popular course, you’ll get a step-by-step comprehensive guide to awakening your intuitive abilities. It is complete with audio files, meditations, techniques and inside knowledge from a professional intuitive.

The Akashic Record Reading Program

The Akashic Record Reading Program


Learn how to access the Akashic Records to give professional, accurate, content-rich readings on soul purpose, past lives, life lessons, soul gifts and origins.




Read, heal, open, clear out and rebalance your chakra system. Fast–track your intuitive development using this do–it–yourself guided meditation.

The Intuitive Reading Program

The Intuitive Healing Program

Get Certified
as an Intuitive Healer

This training teaches you how to cut cords, release both ordinary and enmeshed earthbound spirits and clear astral debris, to help clients resolve issues on the level of their energy body.




With this Amazon bestselling book, learn how to come back into balance with your gifts & thrive in a world that is not set up for empaths.




Learn about the most common negative energies which affect our spaces, how to diagnose and clear energetic issues in your home and how to protect your home from negative energies in the future.


Want to receive my updates to your inbox?

Join over 15,000 people who never miss an update, new course or intuitive tip!

error: Content is protected

Pin It on Pinterest