Setting Intentions, Not Resolutions

Are you hopeful for a fresh start in 2018? Have you figured out what your resolutions are going to be? Do you usually give up on your resolutions by February like 80% of resolution-makers?

I used to start out every January with a list of resolutions, and I failed every single year. I’m not alone. 40% of people make New Year Resolutions, and 92% of people who set those goals eventually fail. The majority will give up in the first two months!

So, what gives? Why can’t we follow through on those New Year Resolutions? From what I’ve read, the problem is that New Year’s Resolutions tend to be big and vague, and people just don’t have the time or energy to overhaul their lifestyles. That’s why instead of listing resolutions this year, I’m creating intentions.

By definition, a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something” whereas an intention is defined as “a thing intended; an aim or a plan.” Old habits die hard and making a “firm decision” is not always attainable. Intentions are more flexible and easier to cultivate. Follow the idea list below to set your intentions and make them stick in the new year!

  • Write it down. List your goals and be as detailed as possible. For example, if you intend to lose weight, write down how much weight and a plan on how you’re going to achieve your weight loss goal.
  • Schedule it. Get a planner and schedule actions and events to help you achieve your goal. Following the intention above, if you’re planning on losing weight, schedule healthy meals for the next couple of weeks and the days and times you’ll head to the gym. Make sure you continue to schedule your meals and gym times a few weeks in advance.
  • Go small and be realistic. It can’t be an all or nothing plan. If you decide you want to eat healthier, you can’t expect to never eat another cookie ever again. Instead, decide to incorporate more broccoli in your meals or find a healthier version of your favorite cookie.
  • Find help. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all hire a personal trainer or life coach to help us reach our goals? If you can afford it, do it! If you don’t, work closely with a friend to hold you accountable. There are even Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people to achieve New Year Resolutions (just make sure you let them know yours is an intention!).
  • Don’t beat yourself up. If you end up making a plan and then it gets busy at work or the kids get really sick and your intentions get pushed aside, don’t toss your goals in the trash a few weeks later or get furious with yourself. Intentions are meant to be flexible! Simply return to your practice. You don’t have to start all over again. Just start back up from where you left off.
  • Celebrate small milestones. Is your goal to lose 30 pounds and you lost one this week? Rejoice! Are you trying to practice peaceful parenting and didn’t raise your voice today? Treat yourself. Every step you take in the right direction is an awesome reflection of your dedication and efforts. Acknowledge your achievements.
Whatever your intentions are for 2018, don’t give up. It’s hard work changing habits but it can be done. Remember to take it slow, be easy on yourself and don’t just focus on the end result – celebrate those smaller accomplishments along the way. Have a happy and wonderful 2018!

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