Every New Year, there is a lot of talk and pressure that circulates amongst friends, family and in the media about what this year’s “New Year’s Resolutions” will be. The New Year represents a fresh start for so many people with endless possibilities, but unfortunately, these endless possibilities usually come with restrictive resolutions that many times are unattainable.
You see, we don't wake up on New Year’s Day and magically become new people with entirely new habits. Our vices, stresses, busy lives and challenges all come with us into the New Year, but so do all the wonderful things that make us who we are! It’s also important to remember when you are feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of a New Year, that your body could care less whether it is January 1st or December 1st. Instead, what it cares about is that you are paying attention to what it is telling you and being intentional with the practices in your life that are either positively or negatively affecting it.
Which brings us to why your focus should be aimed at setting New Year’s intentions NOT resolutions, which will support a sustainable healthy body and mind in 2018. But before we get into how to set intentions, let’s examine the difference between an intention and a resolution, and why we are all for replacing those New Year’s resolutions with intentions this year.
Intention: (n) is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future.
Resolution: (n) a firm decision to do or not do something.
Catch the difference? A resolution is rooted in a black and white decision to do or not do something, which leaves very little room for well…life. While on the other hand, at the root of every intention there is a mental commitment towards a specific action. Intentions have the ability to grow and shift with us, and also can be the fuel and guidance we need to form clarity about our lives.
So are you ready to turn your resolutions into intentions? Here are five tips to help you get started in creating powerful, positive intentions this New Year:
1. Think Positively: At the root of every intention is something positive. Think about a goal you have and then begin to re-think how you can positively reframe that goal to create a strong, powerful intention. For instance, if your goal is to reduce your stress this year, you could phrase your intention as: “I intend to quiet my mind and body each day by focusing on my breathing and inviting peace into my life.”
2. Think Sustainably: It’s important to set realistic intentions and also set intentions for shorter time frames. The most sustainable intentions are going to be those that can grow and evolve with you. So, look three months ahead and set an intention for the next three months. The beauty of an intention is that it represents a process and can be revisited often.
3. Write it Down: Now that you have identified what it is you wish to focus on this year, write down your goals. Next, identify if any of your goals are connected (some of them most likely will be), and begin to reframe these goals into positive intentions. For instance, say two of your goals are to lose weight and eat healthy. Eating healthy will directly affect your weight loss, however, eating healthy is very abstract. Instead, frame your intention as "I intend to fill my days with colorful fruits and vegetables that nourish my body." In a few months, reflect on how you are doing with this intention and notice if you still have the same weight-related concerns.
4. Take Time to Reflect on Your Intentions: Many of us fail at achieving the changes we wish for ourselves because we set wonderful intentions, but do not consistently reflect on them. Our minds require constant reminding, so it’s important to take a few moments each week to reflect on our intentions and see if any need to change.
5. Practice Kindness: Not every day is filled with rainbows and sunshine, and it’s important to practice kindness on the days that don't necessarily go our way. That is what’s so great about creating intentions; they are routed in positivity, meaning they will always be there to support you whenever you need them.
These five simple tips will help get you started in creating your own intentions, and will positively propel you into the New Year from a place of love for yourself and the amazing things you’re capable of achieving.