Making Resolutions and Setting Intentions.

A resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or not do something; the quality of being determined or resolute. A resolution is focused on smaller goals like exercising or cutting out sugar; something that can be checked off a list or something learned.

On January 1, it is customary to make resolutions. The first day of a new year; is there no better time to commit to doing, or not doing, something to make your life, your health, your wellbeing, better?

I’m sure you are well aware of this practice and that you have your own plans for setting resolutions for the new year. I am also sure you have done this before and quite possibly you have not been successful.

Statistics show that of the millions of people who set new year resolutions 43% will abandon their resolution before February and 23% do so in the first week. Only 9% of those who set resolutions are successful.

New year resolutions tend to fail because people feel pressured to make change at the start of a new year when they aren’t ready to fully commit to the proposed change. Success is dependent on timing-personal timing. The best time to make lasting change is when you are personally ready and that may not actually be on January 1.

Motivation is also cited as a reason for failure. Perhaps you are trying to commit to a change that’s too aggressive (home cooked meals daily/no eating out when they’re on the go all the time and found it difficult to prepare meals at home often), or you lack accountability or an encouraging support system.

Another reason for a lack of success in achieving a resolution is attributed to being busy. If the resolution is to eat home cooked meals more and to eat out less, without a plan for grocery shopping and meal planning and prep, “busy” will almost certainly derail this resolution.

If resolutions are so difficult to keep, what if we were to combine resolutions with intentions?

An intention is defined as a thing intended, an aim or a plan, and is focused more broadly on self improvement; feelings, relationship with self. An intention is a way of describing your goal in the form of an action plan.

A resolution alone doesn’t work, but paired with an intention, you can find success.

Resolutions focus on the negative: things you don’t like and want to fix. Intentions focus on the positive: things you have that you’d like to build upon.

Resolutions focus on what you lack while intentions highlight what you have.

Resolutions are strict while intentions adapt.

If a resolution is a plan or commitment you make to achieve something in the future, an intention serves as the guide by removing unnecessary pressure and clarifies the purpose of the resolution.

Resolution: home cooked meals daily/no eating out

Intention: begin preparing home cooked meals daily for health and financial benefits. Use a calendar system to plan meals; create a shopping list prior to grocery shopping and prep for daily meals on Sunday.

Resolution: Lose 10 lbs

Intention: add nutrient dense foods and purposeful daily movement to promote better health and lose excess body weight. Put a tracking system I to place for accountability.

The intention breaks the resolution into a clear plan and removes the pressure of how to get started and to stay committed.

Thinking back to your new year resolutions, how might you add an intention to break down that resolution and make it more achievable?