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Switch from Resolutions to Intentions

By Lisa Kushner

SAT JAN 01, 2022

Resolution - “a firm decision to do or not to do something” (Google Dictionary)

I don’t like to make New Year’s resolutions any more because they never end well. Once the resolution is “broken,” I feel like I’ve failed even if I’ve made progress toward the goal. They are so digital, hard, and absolute. I live in a world where things aren’t often black or white but colored in hues of gray. The “all or nothing” approach doesn’t work for Resolution me.

Resolutions seem to come from a negative mindset. Think of ones you’ve made in the past - I’m going to lose weight, exercise more, get organized, eat better... All these assume that you aren’t good enough as you are, but if you just do xyz you’ll suddenly be happy.

Intention - “mental state in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action.” (Wikipedia)

Intentions seem to arise from a positive perspective. You are already enough, but you can still improve and build upon your strengths. When I do something that doesn’t align with my intentions, I can renew my motivation and start again. It’s supportive rather than discouraging.

If this approach appeals to you, take your intention and make it a statement in the present tense. These will be your mantra or positive affirmation to repeat as often as you like. Create a visual reminder (post-it, card, etc.). Say it in meditation. Repeat it multiple times a day. Share it with a friend. Remind yourself at times of stress or when you are faced with challenges. Journal about your experience.

Here are some examples:

To find more calm & equanimity use I live mindfully.

For weight, exercise, sleep & diet use I make healthy decisions.

To be more organized & less cluttered use I live a simple lifestyle.

For mental & physical resilience use I am strong and balanced.

I hope this inspires you to reflect and try a different approach. Leave the old behind and step forward into 2022 with a new attitude. Have a happy, healthy new year.