Evolve your Resolutions: Try New Year’s Intentions Instead
I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. And i’ll tell you why.
A resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or no longer do something, which sounds really great in theory. But in reality, resolutions can carry an underlying pressure of perfection, and evoke an all-or-nothing mentality. And while some of us can make a behavior/lifestyle change quickly (like cutting out sugar from our diet, for example), the rest of us struggle with the indecisive, tricky inner workings of the human mind.
We might start out the year strong and motivated, devoting ourselves to making this resolution a lifestyle change. But within a few weeks, we might lower our inhibitions and conditionally allow a break in the resolution (“oooh, i’ll have just ONE bite of cake, but only this once”), which is the beginning of the end of our resolution. Why? Because one “wrong” move makes us feel like we screwed up the entire resolution. Sometimes the guilt of screwing up is enough to make us abandon the resolution completely. It is not uncommon to feel like a failure, not worthy of your resolution, or unsure why you even made that resolution in the first place. Most of us have been there and know what that feels like.
Our culture is very physically-based, money-driven, success-hungry – and this often colors the way we form our resolutions. For example, resolutions I have heard in the past include “I want to lose XX pounds” or “I want to make $XXXX amount of money this year” or “I want to find the perfect partner for me.” And while there’s nothing wrong with that, there is a different method I'd like to introduce you to that might resonate with you more.
New Year’s Intentions
I am a HUGE fan of New Year’s intentions and am still in awe of how they absolutely come true for my clients whom I help guide as a spiritual life coach. Intentions have a supportive, uplifting heart-based vibration. They are accompanied by grace, since they are an ever-evolving journey of growth, versus a hard yes-or-no choice like a resolution.
Let’s try an example.
Close your eyes and say this out loud to yourself. How does your body feel when you say it?
Now, try this:
Close your eyes, say this out loud, and FEEL the feelings that come with perfect health and happiness.
Do these two experiences feel different?
If you feel like the second (B) “intention” resonated with you more, then you are the perfect candidate for setting New Year’s intentions. They incorporate feeling, emotion, a sense of empowerment, and a knowing that you can’t fail, but only evolve. Instead of obsessing over losing 10 pounds, and becoming a slave to tracking and calculating your every move and morsel you eat, an intention helps empower you to choose more uplifted, higher consciousness choices that support you in feeling at peace with your body. Maybe there is weight loss as a result as you shed the weight of stress and pressure. Maybe there is an overall pep in your step because you are choosing to feel happy and healthy and embodying an expanded, liberated sense of self. So instead of postponing happiness to when you finally achieve 10 lbs less on a scale, you can feel happy and healthy RIGHT NOW which sends forth a vibration that attracts happy and heathy things to you. It changes your life.
How to start creating New Year’s Intentions
Choose a time when you have no distractions, and have a quiet space to work in. Open the word document on your computer, tablet or phone, and list 3-6 categories you’d like to focus your year on, such as “spiritual health,” “mental and emotional health,” “physical healthy,” relationships,” “career/work, and/or “experiences.”
Then, sit in a comfortable seated posture, one hand on your lower abdomen, and one hand on your heart. Breathe deeply through your nose into your lower abdomen, and gently and slowly exhale out of your mouth. Repeat 20 times. Now focus all of your attention on your heart. Ask yourself out loud, “what intentions do I have for my mental health” (or whatever first category you chose). Be receptive and listen patiently to what your heart is communicating (this might take some practice, because we are so used to “thinking” with our minds!). What is coming to you? How do you want to have improved mental health with yourself and others? If it is clear, write down any intentions that come to you, using “I want to feel…” or “I want to improve…” or similar language. If you are not clear, no worries! Jot any visions or ideas in a journal and expand on them later. Clarity comes through peeling back the layers.
Continue doing this practice for each category. You may have 3-7 intentions per category – this is common. Try to be as clear as possible, too. For example, “I want better relationships” is a great intention, but “I want to practice nonviolent communication,” and “I want to set healthy boundaries” is a little more clear and specific ways of bettering relationships. You can always come back to your intentions and edit them along the way. But what is most helpful is checking in with your intentions throughout the year, to see how they are manifesting. It might be helpful to have an unbiased accountability person in your life to assist you in your journey.
Need help with your New Year’s intentions? Schedule a session with me for a special 25% off the month of January. Use discount code NEWYEAR when you add “Consult w/ Lizzy” to your cart to get this deal.
May this New year be filled with beautiful, empowering intentions that help nurture your best self.