“I will get out of debt.”
“I am going to drink less.”
“I’m finally going to quit smoking.”
“I plan to travel more.”
“I want to spend more time with my friends and family.”
A chance to change undesirable behaviors and become the sparkling person you want to be. New Year’s resolutions have become somewhat of a promise that is expected to be broken, though—just last week, a patient told me that “a New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” In fact, by the end of January, many people have abandoned their resolutions and resigned themselves to another year of the same.
However, making resolutions or setting goals can be an incredibly powerful tool.
Let’s use the word intentions instead, to give it a different connotation. What is an intention? It’s something you consciously decide to do. It precedes every action, and gives you direction. For example, you intend—and then you go—to the grocery store. It’s like a drawing a map—if you are on a boat, you need a map and a compass to get to your destination, or you will drift around the ocean aimlessly. Setting intentions give you the power to create anything you want in your life.
What if, instead of setting large, somewhat fuzzy “resolutions” for the year that you can easily fail, you instead set daily “intentions” of smaller, more achievable goals? For example, instead of making the resolution “I will lose weight in 2017,” you say “I will eat a healthy breakfast that nourishes my body at least three times per week in the month of January.” After that has become a routine and natural in your life, you set your next intention. “I will take a weekly yoga class for at least 4 weeks this summer.” Setting smaller intentions can be more achievable, because you are mapping steps out to smaller goals—which end up leading to huge results.
- Start by making short-term, achievable intentions. This might require a little research to find a suitable goal, make it right for you. It’s okay if the goal is something small.
- Make sure your intentions are measurable – Will you be able to clearly see if you achieved your goal- you might what to include when you plan to reach your goal or specific number to track your progress. Stay realistic! – unrealistic goals will cause you to loss focus and give up quickly.
- Be crystal clear with your intention, and use only positive terms. Ex: “Today, I will choose to have a piece of fruit as a snack” instead of “Today, I won’t eat chocolate for a snack.” Our brains only process the positive.
- Write it down. It’s much more powerful to write down your intentions than just to think about them. It puts them into action.
- Release your intention to the universe, and let it handle the details!