Make Your Resolutions Work for Your Element

Use the 5 Element System to Help You Make More Productive Resolutions

Confession time: I love New Year’s resolutions. I find the process of imagining the coming year and writing lists of things I would like to accomplish very, well, fun. What can I say, finding the fun in lists is part of my constitution.
One of the main principles of Eastern Medicine is observing an individual’s constitution and tendencies, which will indicate one dominant Element: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, or Water. We all have aspects of each element in our personality, but by working to create harmony between them, we can live more balanced lives.

When it comes to planning the year ahead, we can use the 5 Elements to keep our resolutions balanced. For example, as a Metal type, I tend to be very organized, love to write out lists, but also tend to be a perfectionist. That often leads me to give up on any goal that I can’t accomplish perfectly. But if I bring aspects of the other Elements into my goals, that helps me to balance out those tendencies.


Take this fun quiz to find out which Element you are.


The Wood Element is very driven and goal oriented. This Element is very determined and benefits greatly from having clear goals to guide its efforts. Wood is all about action and movement and upward growth. Having a roadmap to follow helps this Element use its energy in an efficient and productive way.

This Element is also easily frustrated when they run into resistance. Wood types benefit from having soothing practices that force them to slow down- they need meditation, regular acupuncture, or breathing exercises to stay balanced.


The Fire personality is full of joy, love, and charisma, but easily distracted and discouraged. Include other people in your resolutions and create collaborative goals, especially if Fire is your dominant Element. Everyone should make a point of including joy and connection with other people in their plans. Without enough Fire, life can become dull and uninspiring.

The imbalance that most often afflicts Fire types is anxiety or insomnia. Make sure that rest and relaxation are part of your routine, and include calming practices such as shiatsu massage or languid nightly baths.


The Earth element is full of caring and nurturing. Many Earth personalities will have a difficult time prioritizing their own needs and taking care of themselves. Everyone should make their own health and wellbeing a priority, but those who find self-care to be especially challenging should include this in their goals.

The Earth Element also tends to find change to be very challenging. This type will do better with small, incremental shifts. If you struggle with making big changes, try breaking your resolutions into very small changes that slowly build on each other.


The Metal Element is very organized and particular but may tend towards perfectionism. To satisfy this Element, think about what your end goal is and build flexibility into your resolutions. If your resolution is to get to the gym twice per week, think about what you are trying to accomplish- to loose weight? Manage your stress? To have more energy? Keeping the final product in mind will help you be flexible enough to change your plan as needed but still accomplish your end goal.


The Water personality is an internal explorer who loves to get lost deep in thought, self-reflection, and the spiritual aspects of life. Water gives us deep insight and poignant ideas, but makes follow-through challenging.

People with a lot of Water qualities usually don’t enjoy making resolutions, because they struggle with follow through. Try writing goals in terms of a feeling you would like to embody, such as grace or balance, and work towards bringing that quality into your daily life in the coming year.

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About Four Flowers Wellness

Acupuncture & Holistic Medicine

We are a holistic East Asian Medicine practice serving Chicago’s West Loop and West Town neighborhoods. We are experts in acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and supporting women and men through the child-bearing year, from women’s health concerns to fertility and prenatal care, complex pain or hormonal conditions, and mental-emotional issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

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