top of page

Finding Your North Star In The New Year – A Rejection Of Resolutions

Written by: Chelsea Haines, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


There is little as exhilarating as a new start, and no time more indicative of a new start than a new year (especially for my fellow self-growth junkies). As 2023 rolls in, it feels like the world is buzzing with the kind of energy that we've been missing in the last few years. It feels like we are finally emerging on the other side of COVID, fresh and full of possibility. January 1st brings an almost universal desire to grow and improve in the new year. We arm ourselves with our pens and begin to set a long and lofty list of what the New Year will bring. So where do the will and excitement escape to by February 1st? Why are most of us giving up in four weeks what we were sure we wanted? I’m suggesting a new system, one that starts with discovering your North Star, your life’s guiding purpose.

silhouette of a man pointing at the star

Why ditch New Year Resolutions

  • 23% quit in the first week, and only 36% make it past the first month.

  • 9% successfully keep their New Year’s resolutions.

  • 35% of people attribute losing motivation as the top reason for giving up, followed by being too busy (19%)and changing their goals and priorities (18%)

These statistics show almost everyone is failing to reach these resolutions. This is further evidence that maybe the problem was never a lack of willpower or determination but an ineffective and outdated system.

Finding your NorthStar

Your North Star is your guiding light. The values, vision, and truth that ultimately guides you. Having a clear vision of where you're going helps you decipher what goals are even worth pursuing in the first place. It allows us to walk down paths aligned with what we ultimately want. It's worth taking some time to figure out your NorthStar. This could be your mission or what you truly value and want in this short life we're leading. Effective ways to do this are through journaling, meditation, or being guided by a professional. Choose a way that works for you because having a personal mission statement is an invaluable tool that'll guide you for the rest of your life. Martha Beck says, “Identifying your own North Star is a deep psychological and spiritual art. Actually getting there is more like following a recipe.” If you, like many others, are struggling to discover your North Star - start with the end in mind.

Work Backwards

Think of the saying: "The days are long, but the years are short." Or the Bill Gates Quote: “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can

do in ten years.” Rather than overestimating what we can do in one year, why not allow our imaginations to play with the life we want in 5-10 years and work backward from there? Set out some time on a Sunday morning to dream. There's nothing off-limits. Dream of where you'd like to live, what you'd like to be doing with your time, and who you would like to be with. Dream it in as much detail as possible and bring that dream to life by writing it down or finding images to represent it. You've now got a good idea of where you want to be; now try to identify why this is important. Who is it serving? What is the big overarching ultimate goal?

North Star Words

Your North Star is fixed, but every year is a different path and journey on our way there. Once you have taken the time to create and refine your personal mission statement, we get to summarize that mission statement into what I call: North Star Words. This is not the entire statement but your guiding words for this leg of your journey. These are words that remind us of our deeply personal and vital mission.It could be a mantra that encapsulates it or a few words to keep you aligned. If I’m choosing some words, I like to make sure I include these 4 elements:

  1. A skill I’ll need to become while on my journey to my North Star. Words like: Dedicated, motivated, and resilient have come up for me in previous years.

  2. The personality trait that'll most serve me this year. Words like: Confident, creative, or positive might spark some ideas.

  3. The "why" reminder: a word that'll remind me why I’m doing what I’m doing, especially on those tough days. Words like: Freedom, loving relationships, or belonging might resonate with you.

  4. Lastly, a clear reminder about the dream and/or passion that underlies my mission. Words like: Service, peace, or legacy might inspire you.

This might look like just repeating the words you've chosen: Dedicated. Confident. Freedom. Service. Or you can string them together as a 2023 motto: Motivated and creative to form loving relationships and inspire peace. Once you've got them, make sure they're visible as a screen saver, an alarm name on your phone, or written on your vision board.

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle is something I learned about from James Clear in his book Atomic Habits. You might know it as the 80/20 rule. The adaption of the principle as it applies to this scenario is that 20% of our effort produces 80% of our desired outcomes. That means 80% of our time and effort is dedicated to the stuff and fluff that's producing minimal impact. This essentially means we're focusing on the wrong things. We need to focus on the correct 20% to help produce the 80% we are after. When making New Year's Resolutions like "eat healthier" or "lose weight," we're focusing on the 80% rather than the 20%. Twenty percent would instead be the tiny habits we take toward sustainably eating healthier or finally releasing that weight for good.

What to do instead

Instead of being overwhelmed by the mountain ahead of us ‒ we are going to focus on the very next step. Rather than seeing the person we want to be in 10 years, we are going to lovingly acknowledge where we are now and identify how to just be slightly better. Because little by little, a little makes a lot. Realize that incremental steps forward will get you to your goal far quicker than massive leaps. The thought of those massive leaps often overwhelms us with their sheer enormity. Most of the time, that high shot leaves us sprinting the marathon and exhausting ourselves too soon OR scaring us out of never taking that first step. You’re letting the space between where you are and where you want to be paralyze you instead of inspire you. Now we know where we are going, and all this year is about is intentionally taking the first steps in the right direction.

The 1% Promise:

The 1% promise is committing to 1% incremental improvements every day. You don't need to achieve it all today or even this year. You just need to be 1% better than you were yesterday or even last week. This idea will hopefully help release that pressure to transform and allow the idea of simultaneously being a masterpiece AND a work of art to come through. Here is how these 1% promises might look:

  • I ate really poorly yesterday; today, I will focus on getting in just one healthy meal or snack.

  • I'd like to get fitter; I'm going to start walking once per week.

  • I'd like to read more, but I don't really have the time; I'll commit to listening to an audiobook on my way to work on Mondays.

Tips to keep your 1% promises

1% promises are only effective if you keep track of where you're growing from. Here's how I keep those 1% promises to myself and keep continually moving closer and closer to my North Star.

  • Write down the habits you're working on. This will help you remember all the areas you're making those incremental improvements in.

  • Keep Track: Having a daily journal or check-in helps remind me what my 1% for that day is while preventing stagnation in any areas of my life. Clients at the Gut Health Agency have an easy app for daily goal tracking.

  • Keep what works and discard the rest: There will be habits that don't work for you no matter what you try. Nothing works for everyone! Celebrate uncovering this truth about yourself and move on by letting go of that habit.

  • BONUS: Have an accountability buddy. This could be a friend, a colleague, a team member, or a coach. Set regular meet-ups that can become a fun time to keep each other accountable and update each other on your wins en route to your North Star.

An important reminder:

Remember that no one can tell you what's truly important to you. YOU get to choose your NorthStar, and you decide who you want to become on this journey. That means absolute freedom to cocreate, adapt, and redirect as you become clearer and clearer on your life's mission.

Sometimes there are factors beyond our control hindering our progress. Ego, inner children, or trauma stored in the body can make it nearly impossible to move forward. Our traumas often whisper until they scream. These are powerful enough to come up in the form of illness and dis-ease.

Subconscious Healing

Subconscious healing involves practices coaches and healers harness to release these traumas.

If you’d like to get started on your own, I suggest using tools like meditations, affirmations, and other subconscious tools like Orpheus Mind Technologies to begin working inside out.

I truly hope this year will be everything you've dreamed of. If you're not willing to leave that up to chance, our signature program is the right place for you.

Happy New Year!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Chelsea Haines, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Recently featured "The Gut Health Coach" by Yahoo!, Chelsea Haines has a unique way of helping high-performers heal. She doesn't claim to know best. Her mission: to remind you that YOU are the expert on your body, only you know precisely what you need, and you are not "crazy" for feeling how you feel. Her expertise stems from personally healing autoimmune disease paired with formal degrees in psychology, gut health, and mindfulness. She’s the Founder of The Gut Health Agency, where a team of health coaches & Registered Dietitians merge health coaching with clinical testing for increased patient compliance and lasting habit change ‒ a needle-moving combination not otherwise seen in the gut health space.



  • linkedin-brainz
  • facebook-brainz
  • instagram-04


bottom of page