I’m sure you’ve heard he phrase “New Year, new you”, especially in January. Now I’m not completely against New Year resolutions. If you have your list already made of the things you’d like to improve upon on January 1st, then more power to you. But the statistics say that only 8% of people who make resolutions actually stick to them. In fact, some people feel worse after making resolutions and then failing. So, here’s what I propose, I say we make a goal to improve by cultivating better “intentions” instead of “resolutions”.
What’s the difference? A resolution is defined as “the action of solving”. When you set a resolution, it means you are trying to fix something that is wrong with you. It implies that “we” are the problem that needs to be resolved. Then you go on to put quantifiers on your goal like lose 10 pounds, completely stop eating sweets, go to spin class twice a week, etc. These are too definite. It doesn’t allow for us to stumble…which we will. It also makes us feel hopeless when we don’t complete our goals (which most people won’t). That’s why I’d prefer intentions.
An intention is defined as “the determination to act in a certain way”. This doesn’t really have anything to do with seeing “you” as the problem that needs to be resolved. Intentions are about becoming more aware of different ways that you would prefer to live your life. I believe this allows for deviations in our plans. For example, if our intention is to lose 10 pounds and we lose 8 pounds, we will see that as progress instead of a failure. I think with intentions we see that incremental progress is still progress and this is a much healthier way to accomplish goals.
The idea of intentions is often more positive and effective because you’re avoiding the burnout factor that resolutions have. It allows you to celebrate the journey, not just the destination.
So, in 2016, why don’t you explore how you would prefer to feel about yourself instead of looking for something you need to fix? Learn to enjoy the process of developing a life that you’ll be happy to live!