New Year's Resolutions are okay, I suppose. Most people I talk with, though, say that they fail to uphold their resolution longer than a few weeks into the new year. Resolutions are not a bad idea, but there is something that is much more important that most people don’t do, ever: define what they believe about who they are, why they are here on Earth, and what is possible for their lives.

If you're doing anything to prepare for the new year, prepare by getting clear about what you truly believe.

Not what your mother believes.

Not what your sister believes.

Not what your neighbor believes.

Not what your boss believes.

Not even what you’re told to believe by anyone in a role of authority. All of these people may help shape what you believe—as could science and religion and experience and a number of other influences.

The key is to define what YOU believe. Go ahead, right now, and write down your core beliefs about the big, important concepts, such as who you truly are; what you’re here to contribute; how your family or origin plays a role in your life; and what the journey of your soul has been and will be.

Why define your beliefs? What you believe is true about you, your life, and the universe is determinant of how you think, the energy you put out, and the way you show up every day. You must have something bigger than yourself to pull you forward in life. You must claim something beyond a mindless routine of sleep, awaken, eat, work, watch Game of Thrones, repeat. You must, because no one else on this planet can believe on your behalf.

It’s critical to understand this point: what you believe dictates what you think and what you think directs your words, your actions, and therefore, your life.  As writer Annie Dillard explains in The Writing Life, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” How you show up every, single day is predicated on what you believe about this life.

You are responsible for our own life story, and that responsibility grows when you decide to take control of the one thing that belongs to you alone: the joy and bliss of your story. The core beliefs that I invite you to define are written from the, "I, me, my" perspective and create more joy, peace, compassion, forgiveness, love, and potential in your life. The beliefs that are truest to your inner knowing a free of conditioned limitations.

Here’s a concrete example of how powerful our beliefs are from a behavioral science perspective. In a study that was published by the American Psychological Association, researchers from Yale University documented that middle-aged adults who held more positive beliefs about aging lived an average of 7.6 years longer than those who held more negative beliefs, even when controlling for current health and other risk factors.

Whoa. Beliefs can even affect the length of your life. That's another reason it's critical for you to know what you actually believe.

So, for 2018, skip the resolutions and make it your priority to define your beliefs. 

If you want an exercise to guide your in writing your Core Beliefs, you can click here to receive my 7 Core Beliefs Exercise.

Anella Wetter is a writer, an intuitive coach, and a yoga & Pilates teacher.