Year after year a large percentage of people all around the world do the exact same thing before January 1st rolls around. We start talking about New Year’s resolutions. There’s a buzz in the air, winter has come and the air is crisp, family and friends are gathering to celebrate the holidays, we throw out our strict diets and workout routines and replace them with pie and family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. We spend more time with our loved ones than we do at the gym and then it hits us.
I really have to get back to the gym once the holiday’s are over. I must start eating better again after grandma leaves town. What have I done with my life for the last year? Where am I going and where do I want to be in the coming year?” It’s this time of year that we realize just how quickly time passes and that maybe we didn’t do everything we wanted to do this past year, or maybe even the year before that. Via social media we can see it with our friends and family as well. They begin talking about their resolutions and goals for the upcoming year and it’s hard not to contemplate our resolutions, life choices, dreams and goals. So, where do you start? How do you set a resolution and most importantly, how do you keep it?
First of all, I’m a Yogi and in my training we talked a lot about “Intentions.” I prefer to use this terminology vs. resolution. So what is an intention and how is it different than a resolution?
The thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose : a determination to act in a certain way
The act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. : the act of resolving something
Based on these definitions I find that in.ten.tion calls to me more. It’s gentle and it makes me feel like I am making plans for my life and trying to find my purpose. It’s the steps that are necessary to achieve my goals and dreams in order to be a happier me, which in turn will make the people around me happier, which in turn makes our world a better place, one person at a time. When looking at res.o.lu.tion the first two things that grab my attention are the words “conflict” and “problem.” Resolutions or intentions should be positive, they should guide us to being a better version of ourselves. They should make us feel excited about what’s to come. They should be goals that we want to achieve. If we focus on our conflicts and problems our goals can get heavy, boring, and make us feel like we’re failing. Ultimately this thought pattern stops us from moving forward and keeps us stuck in our past.
So for the sake of this topic today, let’s talk about how to focus on in.ten.tion and how to make it stick.
In my personal opinion the key to making and intention and sticking to it is to create intentions as you go vs. the last week of December for the following year. One of my favorite quotes is as follows:
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
We cannot wait until December 31st to decide what the next year is going to look like. We must work on ourselves every single day. By creating daily intentions we are, by default, creating intentions for the week, month and year. They don’t even need to be anything drastic. You could wake up in the morning and just decide that you want to smile more today, go for a walk, call a friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while, etc. The key here is to focus on things that you DO want to do vs. what you DON’T want to do. By focusing on the things that we want to do, the things that make us happy, feel healthy and give us life, we’re always achieving something vs. focusing on our failures and what we no longer want. When we begin creating a better relationship with ourselves and keeping track of things we want to do or want to learn we naturally begin to turn them into action. Little by little the things we don’t want anymore will begin to fade away. These things will become a part of your past because you’re focusing on your future.
Intentions like smiling more, meeting up with an old friend, and reading a new book are important steps in the right direction but what about the big intentions? Things like changing your career, going back to college, losing 20 pounds and quitting smoking are big intentions. These intentions are the ones I hear about the most but they are also the ones that seem to fall by the wayside. They’re hard and it’s understandable but they’re not impossible. So how can you make these intentions come to fruition?
Check out this Lifehacker weblog for some great advice about intentions and how to make them stick, “Seven Ways to Make Your Good Intentions Last.” It’s an oldie but a goodie.
- Don’t Take On Too Much
- Be Accountable
- Keep Track
- Build on Existing Habits
- Focus on the Benefits
- Enjoy the Process
- Don’t Think “All or Nothing”
Read the weblog for more information.
I hope that you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year! Happy Monday and good luck with all those wonderful intentions. If you feel like sharing your intentions feel free to comment below, I’d love to hear from you.