5 Tips to Turn Resolutions Into Intentions!
New Years is synonymous with new beginnings, new energy and new hope. It can be super-exciting and refreshing to look ahead to a blank slate and turn the page on the old year. It’s easy to dwell on last year’s negative stuff as we move on to the new year, but this is a great time to take a deep breath, think about what’s happened in the past year, and have a moment of gratitude.
I maintain a planner that includes a weekly and monthly “look back” of good things that have happened and it’s empowering and enlightening to thumb through those pages. Take a moment to think about your last year of the decade and give thanks that you’re here. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying “damn!” I got through some stuff, and I got some real stuff done!
You’re now at a great jumping off point to think about the year to come. Motivation runs high this time of year, and we usually resolve to be our best self ever. We resolve to be the best version of us in the coming year as though we just hadn’t thought of it in the previous year!
There are so many ways to bring the good stuff into our lives and yet many of us recycle the same tired and shallow “resolutions” year after year. And they sound great around December 31, but turn most of us mere mortals into sad failures by early February. And yet, we continue to make them year after year. Let’s break the cycle in 2020!
What is a resolution?
A resolution is a promise we make to ourselves to either start or stop doing one thing or another. Lexico.com (Oxford) defines a resolution as “a firm decision to do or not so something.” We may be trying to cut back on overeating, drinking, smoking, or otherwise doing too much of a thing. Or perhaps it’s committing daily to a positive thing like meditation, eating vegan, learning Russian, doing PX90, or finally writing that great American novel. These resolutions generally focus on the goal or final result, ie, lose 30 pounds, quit drinking, quit smoking.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge “goals” person.
But my track record in New Year’s Resolutions? Zip. Nada. Never ever got it done.
Nope, been recycling those same tired promises for about 20 years
Why do we fail?
My very non-scientific but time-tested theory?
A couple things:
- We choose the wrong resolutions. They are often too broad and unachievable. We may not be fully invested in our resolutions. How much thought have you put into it? Why is it important to you?
- We choose an outcome without a plan. “I’m going to lose 30 pounds.” Great, how? Suddenly it’s February and nothing has happened. Why? You did not lay out the steps for getting there.
- We enter this contract with ourselves with an “all or nothing” approach. It’s Pass/Fail like my college Calculus course. If you find yourself looking at February with no forward progress, that’s on you. Recalibrate and recommit!
How do we change this up?
Let me introduce you to the concept of an “intention.”
More and more people are using this tool to define what really matters to them and how they are going to get there. You may choose an intention for the coming year, or for the coming month. It doesn’t matter as long as it is important enough for you to commit, and you have a plan to get there.
What exactly is an intention and why does it matter?
TheFreeDictionary.com defines intention as “a course of action that one intends to follow, an aim that guides action, an objective.”
Merriam-Webster.com defines intention as “a determination to act in a certain way.”
You see the difference between a resolution and an intention? This is not just semantics.
So while a resolution focuses on an end result (losing 30 pounds), an intention focuses on the larger picture and the journey to get there. Setting Intentions provides a plan to help us work toward creating change and a litmus test that we can hold up our progress and way of living to.
Intentions can be set in any aspect of your life whether it is mental, spiritual, physical, or emotional. Setting intentions examples: Take better care of your body. Move more daily. Get better sleep. Straighten out your finances. Be kinder. Feel more joy.
The important thing about intentions is you need to find a way to live those intentions daily. Bring self-reflection into the process and stay focused on the process. You can still lose those 30 pounds but maybe the intention is to eat healthy food and get more exercise.
5 Tips to Setting Intentions for 2020
It’s not too late! We have an entire year to work toward the manifestation of our intention. And who said there can only be one? You may be setting several now, or moving on to a new intention later in the year once it’s feeling like you’ve locked in number one.
Tip #1 Take time to choose your intention wisely.
- Make it fresh and from your heart. How many times can you lose the same 15 pounds? It’s just too darn easy to recycle those same bucket list items year after year. Give it some real thought. What do you really want? How do you want to feel? What will change you in the most positive way? If you drill down on your intent and it runs deeply and passionately (and beyond those size 6 jeans), go for it! But focus on the journey not the goal – feeling lean, feeling strong. Think about what you want to nurture in your life and how you are going to bring that about. Write down what it’s going to take each day. Make a short list now of some things you would like to bring in for 2020.
Tip #2 Understand your WHY.
- Be sure you’ve picked that one big thing that matters, that one thing that will change your way of being in the world. Face it, you’ll be working on the other mundane ones anyhow! Drill down and really understand your why. Why is it important to you? Why now? What will change as a result of it? Create a vision of what this will look and feel like. Write it down.
Tip #3 Make a plan.
- Lay out your action plan. What will it take to move toward your intention? Chunk it down. What small changes do you need to make in order to manifest this intention or begin to move towards it?
“I’ll introduce healthy food into my life and limit sugar. I will only eat when I am hungry.”
Use a mind map. Get out your colored markers and and chunk it down. I’m a huge fan of my Passion Planner.com. (Not an affiliate) Each year I lay out my Passion Roadmap in living color, stickers and all like a teenager. (More on planners in an upcoming blog.) Find a way to live your commitment to your intention every day.
Tip #4 Create an affirmation and keep it close.
- Create an affirmation to support your intention and write it down on a card that is easily accessible. Intentions and affirmations go hand in hand. An affirmation is a statement to help you overcome negativity and inertia, which when repeated enough will help you make the positive change you want. Think, “I feel lean and strong and am getting healthier every day.” And use that affirmation daily as part of your morning and/or evening ritual. Say it out loud. “Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.”― Bob Proctor, You Were Born Rich
Tip #5 Check in with yourself.
- Check in with yourself on a weekly or monthly basis. Remember, you’re on a journey and all that matters is consistency and the direction you’re moving in. And by the way, slipping is NOT failing. Just get back on that horse before it gets away from you. Baby steps are fine and forward is forward.
Revisit, Reset, Restart! (Reboot!)
Goals motivate us and help give purpose to our life. Be sure your intention is aligned with your larger purpose. Focus on the steps and know you are on your way. The secret is in the planning. Invest the time in yourself to think about what matters to you. Do that brain dump right now. List as many as you can. And then sort through them. Pick the one that resonates most to you now. Dream big!
Get started now.
Set your first intention.
Think about what that will feel like.
Map out what it will take to get there.
Write out your supporting affirmation.
Here’s to an epic you in 2020!
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