Yup, I said it. New Year’s Resolutions are stupid and a waste of time. When was the last time you accomplished a New Year’s Resolution that you set for yourself?
Resolution is defined as: a firm decision to do or not to do something. That’s it, black and white. You either succeed or you don’t.
So what do you do? Can it all? Say to hell with it?
No, no, no. The changing of the year is an important time to reflect.
What are you proud of this year?
What do you wish you could have done better?
This year I encourage you to set an intention. The Latin origin of this word means “stretching, purpose”. It is defined as an aim or a plan.
What can you do to stretch your purpose this year? This isn’t about doing or not doing something. It isn’t black and white, there is a lot of grey. In this grey is much more satisfaction, fulfillment and accomplishment than defining a resolution.
Intentions are much more life changing than a resolution. Intentions are about getting back on the horse if you’ve fallen off or gotten astray. Resolutions are much harder to recommit once broken.
Intentions are often bigger than yourself; i.e. spend more time with loved ones, be a better boss/co-worker/employee, be more creative, learn to eat seasonally, buy locally whenever possible, be more responsible with my finances.
Resolutions are often very self centered; i.e. lose weight, eat better, exercise more, save money, get a promotion.
Do you see the difference? Intentions stretch your purpose in life, resolutions often set you up for failure.
Intentions are scary, they challenge your comfort zone and are long term lifestyle changes. Resolutions are short sighted and short lived.
If you want to lose weight (a resolution) than you have to desire to live a healthier life (an intention). When you only set a resolution to lose weight, the minute it doesn’t happen, or if (as it often does) it happens slower than you want, you are willing to give up easier and declare failure. Setting an intention is to live a healthier life it is many small and daily choices that create success; i.e. food, exercise, sleep, water intake, being outside, being happier, etc.
Intentions are long term, life changing commitments.
Resolutions are short term, shallow commitments.
Intentions are surrounded by your values.
Resolutions are surrounded by your goals.
Now I’m not saying that having goals is a bad thing. Not at all. But if you know what your intentions are, your goals become clear. Intention is what gives you drive to reach your goals.
It’s not that you want to lose weight, but that you want to be healthy, run around with your kids, go for a hike. Intentions are how you want to live. Goals are what you want to do.
So how do you set an intention? Think about what’s important to you. Here are some values that come to mind*:
- Exciting life
- Family happiness
- Financial Security
- Inner Harmony
- Personal Growth and Development
- Social Services
- Social Recognition
- Intellectual stimulation
*List taken from Richard Wiswall’s,
The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, pg. 9
Take some time and reflect on which of these values are most important to you. Build your intention for the New Year around these values. Once your intention is set based on your values, your goals or resolutions will become clear.
Keep your values in a place where you can see them every day. On a note card in your purse or wallet, printed out at your desk, written on your bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker. Look at them every day if you can, at the very least, remind yourself of your values once a week. Focus on your values and your goals will come naturally with very little effort.
Most importantly, get back on the horse. The only failure is to not try. It may take longer than you want, it may not happen the way you planned, but get up, dust yourself off and get back on that horse.
You’ve got this.
Here’s to a 2020 filled with intention that ignites your soul to do great things!!