I am big enough to admit that I do not have the self-discipline required to maintain a New Year’s resolution. I’m the type of person to set a loose goal of “being healthier in the new year,” which plays out in the form of me thinking about doing some crunches and ordering a salad for lunch on Jan. 1 before I relapse on junk food.
Rather than start another year with false promises to myself, I’m ditching the resolutions and instead setting intentions for 2017.
An intention is not the same as a resolution. By setting an intention, I am not resolving myself to change my behavior with a direct outcome in mind. It is swapping “in the New Year I will lose 30 pounds” for “in the New Year I will be more mindful of how I treat my body.” Resolutions are almost always action-oriented, while an intention is not an action that will produce a concrete goal. “I will go to the gym every week” becomes “I will practice self-love by exercising and appreciating my body.” There is no pressure to “succeed” when setting intentions because you cannot fail.
Setting an intention is taking the first step towards the person you want to be. Philosopher Wayne Dyer said, “Our intention creates our reality.” While a resolution is a promise to act a certain way in order to achieve a certain result, an intention is a conscious change in mentality that will lead to a change in your life – but not necessarily a visible or tangible change.
Resolutions are often the self-depreciating product of our perceived flaws, i.e. I’m too fat so I need to lose weight. Intention-setting should be an act of self-love. To set an intention for the New Year, visualize the person you want to be, and think about the small, positive changes you can make to move closer to being that person. Your intention for the New Year should be a commitment to bettering yourself by focusing on the journey, not the objective. If setting intentions for an entire year is daunting, start smaller. You can set an intention for a month, week, or even a day.
My intention for the year 2017 is to face my fears. I intend to make a conscious effort to step out of my comfort zone. I intend to do things that make me uncomfortable, because they make me uncomfortable. I intend to dial-in on my own fears and anxieties, and make the necessary changes to stop letting them control my life. I will work to relinquish control by confronting my own perfectionism and fear of failure.
What are your intentions for 2017?