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New Year's Non-Resolutions

Now, I’m going to cover the most predictable topic you can think of: New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer to not be so cliche, so let’s think of it as timely instead.

This year in particular I’ve heard a lot of negative talk about resolutions. I came across a startling stat that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February! That’s alarming and can’t be good for our psyche! And I’ve also heard a lot of talk about goals being better than resolutions: “don’t make resolutions, make goals!” Ok.... but what’s really the difference? And then new to me this year is the idea of setting intentions. Let’s dive into the difference between these three and how/when it may be appropriate to use each.

With a quick google search, citing the New Oxford American Dictionary, I pulled up the following:

-resolution: a firm decision to do or not do something (my example: I will eat healthier in 2021.)

-goal: the object of a person’s ambition or effort: an aim or desired result (example: to be healthier in 2021.)

-intention: a thing intended, an aim or plan (example: health is one of my priorities in 2021.)

These definitions show me that intentions are the broadest of the three, then goals, and then resolutions. In my experience, when looking at the year ahead, it is best to think in broad terms. After all, a year is a whole lot of days, and a whole lot can change within that large timeframe, (ahem, pandemic ). But amidst great change, we may still have a chance at sticking to the broadness of a set intention.

I like to pick 1-3 words that represent what I would like to focus on for the year. These can also be called intentions. For instance, this year I’d personally like to focus on slowing down to be more present with my family and present in life. So the intentions I’ve chosen are: family, slow down, and peace. Intentions can describe a feeling you’d like your year to represent.

Next, we can use goals to look closer at how to bring those intentions to life. I may want to slow down, and be more present with family and life, but if I don’t have a plan of action then it’s likely not to happen. So the goals provide the structure for achieving your intention. Goals are the “how-tos” of intentions.

Lastly, resolutions. I don’t see much need for these, so let’s just toss them out the window 🪟 . Seriously though, they tend to be too limiting and overall negative in nature. Boxing one in with a list of restrictions never seems to bode well 🏻. Hence the many failures by February.

Set yourself up for success. Think of intentions, much like we do in our yoga classes, where we set our desired mood/feeling for the day, just on a bigger scale. And maybe those daily intentions will point you in the direction of a yearly intention. Keep your intention at the forefront of your mind. Write it on your mirror, in a journal, on a post-it stuck to your car’s dashboard. When you have a moment to breathe, think of your intentions. If you do this regularly, I see no reason why you wouldn’t succeed!

Best wishes for a year of growth, happiness and love. I think I’ll cover resolutions in July this year again, just to throw y’all off, and undo my cliche-ness.

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