Every New Year the “R” word kicks into full force. RESOLUTIONS. We evaluate the past year, 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.
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 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:
1. Lose Weight/Healthier Eating 21.4%
2. Life/Self Improvements 12.3%
3. Better Financial Decisions 8.5%
4. Quit Smoking 7.1%
5. Do more exciting things 6.3%
6. Spend more time with friends and family 6.2%
7. Work out more often 5.5%
8. Learn something new on my own 5.3%
9. Do more good deeds for others 5.2%
10. Find the love of my life 4.3%
When you read these themes, I bet you can imagine how they’re translated into ‘resolutions’ like: “lose X lbs by Y date” or “save X amount of money by Y date”. Can you see how much pressure and expectation there is on finding one acceptable and final outcome for these resolutions – and how discouraging it would be to not meet them?
This is where intentions can be more useful, more positive, and more sustainable.
In his book, The Power of Intention, 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 and choose…” Hang onto that full letter though!
4. 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 AND CHOOSE TO RESPECT MY BODY WITH HEALTHIER FOODS (body theme)
I WANT AND CHOOSE TOLERANCE (emotions)
I WANT AND CHOOSE OPTIMISM (mind)
I WANT AND CHOOSE TO BE GRATEFUL (spirit)
When you create 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!
5. Periodically throughout the year, revisit your Letter of Intention and celebrate your success in bringing those themes into your world!
We wish you success, happiness, and good health for 2018!