Forget About Resolutions This Year, Set Intentions Instead.
When it comes to kicking off a New Year the first thing we all do is start making resolutions.
Usually the same resolutions year after year; lose weight, stop drinking, start working out 5 x a week, save more money and come the middle of January those are all but a distant memory and that strong desire you had to make major life changes has left you.
It’s something we all go through but there is a way around it. Instead of making resolutions, set intentions instead. The theory is that resolutions, whilst they are goals, they often set us up for failure from the very start because whilst we vow to lose weight, drink less or learn a new hobby we don’t set a plan on how to achieve to it.
Resolutions also harness the all or nothing approach. We miss a workout, eat something off-plan or enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and suddenly that’s it, our New Years resolutions have been broken and it’s time to quit them until the next new year comes around. Resolutions are often black and white – we either fail or we succeed.
But that’s not how we live our lives. Our lives are not simply binary choices, we are way more complex. So instead of setting the usual resolution, it’s time to set intentions instead. And the best thing about setting intentions is you can do it at any point in the year, you don’t have to wait until the 1st of January to begin.
So how are intentions different from resolutions?
Setting intentions requires focus and planning. So for example, if your usual resolution (like mine) is to lose weight, rather than saying “I want to lose weight this year” your intention would be “I’m going to focus on being kind to my body this year and eat the foods that will nourish me so that I can release any excess weight”. That way you’re giving yourself a specific plan on how you’re going to treat your body and how that will ultimately lead to your goal.
Setting intentions is a way of reconnecting with yourself and specifically getting in tune with your own mind, body and spirit in order to make the changes you want to make without the pressure of a resolution.
How to set intentions that work
Spend some time alone and work out what you really want from the New Year.
Self-reflection is one of the best ways to start setting your intentions. This isn’t a time to worry about what other people want from you or what you want to give to others, it’s about you. So spend some time finding your why and work out what matters to you and what you want your life to look like.
Make sure you write all these thoughts, feelings and ideas down so that you can revisit them at a later date if you’re not quite ready to commit straight away.
Once you’ve laid out all your intentions, you need to make a plan. Nothing will just come to you, so it’s important to have a specific plan of action so that you can focus on what you need to do to achieve your goals.
Change your mindset.
Don’t go into your new intention thinking that you’re going to fail or give up. Thoughts are powerful energy, if you don’t think that you’ll meet your goal straight away or even in the time frame you’d like, then it doesn’t matter because there is something small that you can be doing to start chipping away at that goal – even if it takes you longer to get to the end result.
Create a vision board.
Vision boards may remind you of something you did in your teenage years but they are incredibly effective and useful. Create a board either from clippings or digitally via a platform like Pinterest where you can add quotes, images and articles as a reminder of what you want to achieve. Look at your vision board daily too for the ultimate motivation.
Now is the time to let go of the past. Who cares if you’ve tried and failed at your resolutions in the past? This is the future and worrying or beating yourself up about past events isn’t going to help you move forward and flourish.