Already Behind on Your New Year’s Resolution?

new year resolutionJust a few short weeks ago, we welcomed a new year. And with it, came new (or recycled) resolutions. It’s as though making a resolution is a right of passage. But how many of those new year’s goals and resolutions do you actually achieve and maintain? How effective has setting a new year’s resolution been to improve your life?

Now that the excitement of the new year has dissipated, let’s be honest about your resolutions. If you’re like the vast majority of Americans, odds are that those resolutions are long forgotten by Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Studies show that 92 % of people fail to meet their new year’s resolutions.

So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to reach these well-intended goals and then face the subsequent guilt when we don’t reach them? What if there was a more nurturing way to embrace the new year and approach your goals that leave you feeling empowered instead of guilty?

Another Way

A few years ago, after being fed up with never achieving a new year’s resolution, (life just seems to get in the way) I started writing an intention for the year instead. An intention is an aim or plan and comes from the Latin “intendere” meaning the act of stretching out.

To develop any new skill or habit, you need to step out of your comfort zone. Intentions allow you to dip your toe into the water instead of diving head-first into your goal. With an intention, you accept yourself where you are but try to stretch a little further.  An intention helps guide your daily decisions without leaving you feeling bad because you didn’t have time to workout and therefore didn’t meet your new year’s resolution of working out every day.

 

Key Components Of A Great Intention

What makes a great intention? While an intention can be summarized as a broad theme, it needs to be specific in what it looks like on a day-to-day basis.

So if having more balance in your life is your intention, what does that actually mean and look like to you? Not checking emails every hour? Getting eight hours of sleep a night? Having fun on a daily basis? Balance may mean different things to different people, so if you don’t define your intention, how will you know if you’re actually embodying your intention or not?

Another key aspect of a great intention is that it moves you more into alignment with your life values. The values are your why. Why is balance more important in your life? Or why is being active important? Aligning your intentions with your whys takes intentions to a deeper level, to your true core self, which means you are more likely to actually incorporate them.

If your don’t know or are unsure what your life values are, this is a great resource that I’ve used personally. He even has a long list of values to help get your creative juices flowing.

 

Putting The Intention Into Practice

Similar to resolutions, intentions need to have some action behind them. What good is having an intention if you forget what it is? Having a daily practice to remind you of your intention and reflect on how you can better incorporate your intention into that day is key. Keep your intention(s) visible where you do your daily reflection. Even just a five minute pause in the morning can have a big impact.

That being said, this is not a time to beat yourself up. This is a time to accept you, where you are, in this moment, and think of little ways to stretch yourself throughout the day in order to be in alignment with your intention and ultimately, in more alignment with values and true self.

Intentions are a kind and compassionate approach to life, which is sorely needed in a world full of do-more-sleep-less stress. Being gentle with and forgiving ourselves is one of the bravest things we can do. So if intentions are more of what you’re looking for this year but you still need some help, I created this free workbook to set your intentions and to help you make 2017 your best year yet.
 
Share below your intention(s) for this year.

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