Setting Intentions Instead of Making New Year’s Resolutions
Every New Year, we start thinking about Resolutions as we evaluate the past year on how we ‘performed’, what we ‘lacked’, and what we are committed to doing 100% the next year. The trouble is that only about 8% of people actually keep their resolutions.
For the rest of us, resolutions serve to remind us of what we didn’t follow through on, what we might have ‘failed at’ again, or what we fell short of achieving. In the end, resolutions create a measuring stick that sets most of us up for failure.
So this year, what if you let go of the “R” word and focus on intentions instead?
There’s a difference between these words, though we tend to use them interchangeably. A ‘resolution’ is similar to a ‘SMART goal’: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, except that when it comes to making personal resolutions, the most common ones usually miss out on are the measurable and realistic parts. Unfortunately those are the two aspects of resolution making that make most of us give up or fall short!
These were the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2017:
- Lose Weight / Healthier Eating 21.4%
- Life / Self Improvements 12.3%
- Better Financial Decisions 8.5%
- Quit Smoking 7.1%
- Do more exciting things 6.3%
- Spend More Time with Family / Close Friends 6.2%
- Work out more often 5.5%
- Learn something new on my own 5.3%
- Do more good deeds for others 5.2%
- Find the love of my life 4.3
Your New Year ‘resolutions’ may be something like: “I must lose X lbs by Y date” or “save X amount of money by Y date”. This creates an immense amount of pressure and expectation and how discouraging would it be to not meet them? Often when we do not meet our resolutions, we succumb to feelings of negativity, failure, and reduced self value. Why do we this to ourselves?
This is where intentions can be more useful, more positive, and more sustainable. In his book, The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer defines intention as “a strong purpose or aim, accompanied by a determination to produce a desired result.” Rather than focusing on a problem to be solved, intentions focus energy on a gradual shifting towards change, a continual checking in with one’s Self to remember and activate inner motivation to live with the intention set.
This New Year, try the following:
- Write a “Letter of Intention” to yourself. Consider a maximum of FOUR intentions you want to live with and guide your life by over the next year and beyond. The idea is to choose four things that will become themes to live by that you can cultivate rather than a goal to be ticked off a list. These intentions should be in line with your values and realistic.
- When you select your four intentions choose one based on the physical body, one on the emotions, one on the mind, and one on the spirit. Allow these four intentions to be broader than a specific end-goal, and more of a theme or quality to which you can tend.
- Re-read your letter and sit with it for a while. Come back to it and distill the content into four intention statements beginning with “I want…” Hang onto that full letter though!
- Use these four statements as a daily personal mantra when you arise in the morning, and let them be the way you begin each day – excited and content in the intentions you’re planting. You can even write them on cue cards, or print them on a poster to keep where you’ll be able to read them each morning.
Need some ideas for themes? Here are a few to start you off…
I WANT A HEALTHY BODY (body theme)
I WANT A NOURISHED BODY (body theme)
I WANT A CALM HEART (emotions)
I WANT TO SHED OLD TRIGGERS AND TRAUMAS (emotions)
I WANT EQUANIMITY, MENTAL COMPOSURE (mind)
I WANT OPTIMISM (mind)
I WANT GRACE IN BE-ING (spirit)
I WANT LIGHTNESS (spirit)
Intentions are done in partnership with the Self, with personal creativity, and inner motivation. It requires self reflection in areas that we’d like to improve upon so we can cultivate maturity and start living in alignment with our core values. When you design your intentions, you do so from a place of desiring improvement – not a measurement or pass/fail – which allows you the freedom to grow, shift, and evolve as your intentions take on practical meaning in your life. There is an embedded mindfulness to this kind of intention-setting that is neither demanding nor outside of particularly foreign to how most of us move through our days, making it simple to incorporate into your morning routine.
Over time, with this practice, you’ll nurture your intentions to become a part of your daily actions – and in that way you’ll see them develop and grow into the way you now live!
- Periodically throughout the year, revisit your Letter of Intention and see how much more able you are to notice your success in bringing those themes into your world – and how much prouder you are than when trying to live up to those impossible resolutions of the past. Then, give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re doing great!
We want to be a part of your personal care team. No question or curiosity is too small for us to address together. So don’t be shy to give us a call! Our door is always open and your road to optimal health is just a phone call away.
From all of us at Liberty Wellness Clinic,
We wish you success, happiness, and good health for 2018!