12/20/2012 06:23 pm ET Updated Feb 19, 2013

Forget Resolutions! Commit to Yourself Instead

I used to enjoy the thrill of making make New Year's resolutions every December. It was fun to declare all the things I wanted once the calendar changed. Sometimes, my friends and I would share them and get each other more excited. But it didn't feel good as the next year passed and life didn't happen as I'd hoped, leaving me sad and disappointed.

Many people love making resolutions. It's fun to think about what you want and decide that when the new year arrives, things will be different, like the resolution wish fairy will magically make it happen:

• "I'll lose 15 pounds this year."
• "I'll find a wonderful romantic partner."
• "I'll get a job I enjoy."
• "I'll finally be happy."

These all sound wonderful when you state them. Then the year begins. You'd still like those resolutions to come true but as reality hits, you realize there's no wish fairy and a new year didn't magically make life different. As time passes and you haven't lost weight, found the romantic partner, gotten closer to the job you want and happiness still seems like it's for other people, discouragement sets in. The truth is, if you don't actively make changes in yourself, it will continue to be hard to bring resolutions to fruition.

By February, I'd be frustrated that my resolutions weren't manifesting. By March, I'd completely give up and in December I'd start the process again. I made the same resolutions year after year, hoping each would be my time, until I finally accepted that just making resolutions didn't work. Many disappointments later, I began to treat myself with more kindness and decided I had to change my own path. After years of neglect, I started to take care of myself in much healthier ways and a funny thing happened -- I began to experience self-love for the first time.

It snuck up on me slowly. At first, I just enjoyed doing things for me that I'd never done before. The synergy was wonderful! I'd do something special, like make time for exercise or allow myself to buy a more expensive lotion, and it left me feeling good. The more I felt good, the more I was motivated to do things that felt good. The more I paid attention to being kinder to me, the better I felt.

Slowly, my commitment to making me feel good changed my self-image. Eventually, it blossomed into strong self-love. The more I committed to myself, the more I was motivated to develop healthier habits and a more empowering outlook on life in general. Self-love makes you want to take good care of yourself and do the things necessary to achieve your life goals. When you commit to yourself out of love, you can get more of what you want:

• As you accept your body with love, you'll want to eat healthier and exercise as a loving act to take care of you, not to please others. Your health can improve and your body will reap the benefits of fitness without the stress of struggling to lose weight.

• The more you love yourself, the more likely you are to let healthy love in and attract satisfying romance without trying. If you don't love you, why should anyone else? Self-love also helps you enjoy your own company, so you can relax about needing someone, which makes you more attractive.

• Self-love boosts your confidence and makes you want to follow your passions because it feels good. That motivates you not to settle for any job that you don't like and to do more to find one that you love.

• Committing to yourself feels so good you'll experience an overall air of contentment. So much unhappiness is caused by not being satisfied with who you are. When you love yourself, it's a happy feeling on its own!

I wasted many years not loving me, making empty resolutions and being unhappy. I launched The Self-Love Movement™ to give my 13th book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways away for free as a thank you for the incredible blessing of building strong self-love. Since January is Self-Love Month, there's also a pledge people can sign to commit to starting 2013 by with 31 days of doing something self-loving.

I no longer need New Year's resolutions. Instead, every year, I commit to loving myself more, which gets much better results. Committing to yourself is a much better way to lead yourself down a satisfying path that makes you happy. Treating yourself with kindness puts the focus on you and feels good. Every little loving thing you do for yourself is a brick in foundation of your self-love. That feels much better than another year of unfulfilled resolutions!