The new year always starts off with LOTS of energy and ‘new year, new me’s.’ Let’s be honest here, how many of you actually keep your resolution after the first month of the year? Bueller… Bueller… Take a look at why resolutions don’t tend to work out and why setting intentions are so much more important.
Resolutions vs. Intentions
1. When we set resolutions, we tend to overcommit ourselves to “not eating sweets” or “working out every day.” SMH, already setting ourselves up for failure. Additionally, new year resolutions infer that something is “wrong” in your life, therefore already starting out with negative vibes and negative narratives about yourself.
2. Intentions are about the process, not the outcome. When you set intentions you’re setting yourself up to align with your values and what matters most to you, therefore making change a little easier.
3. Resolutions aren’t always feasible because life can get in the way of sticking to them. Intentions, on the other hand, allow for some wiggle room along the way. They account for challenges by allowing you to work through the process in order to get where you want to be.
4. Resolutions focus on the end game. Intentions focus on moment to moment. Resolutions focus on what is lacking. Intentions focus on what you want more of in your life.
So how do you begin to set intentions versus resolutions? Think of your values (healthy lifestyle, family, creativity, compassion, career, advocacy etc.) What will help you to align with those values? What is most significant to you in your life? What fills you with passion and gives you energy?
Resolution: I want to lose weight.
Intention: I want to cultivate a healthy lifestyle that helps me to feel comfortable with my body or I want to have a healthier relationship with my body. This intention can lead to working on better health through means of your relationships with food, exercise, mental health, etc.
Resolution: I want to get a promotion at work this year. This resolution is face palming worthy for so many reasons, but a main one being that this can be out of your control.
Intention: I want to work on my professional development and feel a sense of pride and fulfillment at work. Remember, focus on the process.
How to Keep Intentions
It can be helpful to write your intentions down, as well as ways you can plan to follow those intentions. Your intentions and plans may evolve along the way as you find the path that works best for you.
Continue to write down your intentions throughout the year. This will help remind you of your values and continue to align your behaviors with those values. You may even find your intentions changing as you go along.
Other Intentions to Set for Yourself
Need a little more help getting started? Here are some more examples of how to start your intentions for 2019:
- I intend to cultivate more self-awareness, especially in times when I react before I understand.
- I intend to work on being compassionate towards myself and others.
- I intend to lead by example.
- I intend to practice gratitude.
- I intend to take care of my mind, body, and soul.
- I intend to make time for my family.
- I intend to make time for my friends.
- I intend to listen to understand.
- I intend to focus on my mental health.
On that last note, if you need some extra support starting off the new year, you can reach out to any of our clinicians to help get you started.