Resolutions? Try Intentions

The first half of January has now gone by. Did you make your resolutions for 2019? Should you even bother? Does anyone stick to these resolutions?

The truth is that most don’t, largely because of unrealistic expectations. Plus, too many people go it alone, or don’t have a clear vision, or haven’t anticipated the challenges that will stand in their way. Another more important obstacle is that resolutions have a judgmental sentiment around them.

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. How do we feel if we don’t achieve these expectations that we set out for ourselves?

In many ways, resolutions are more about feeling the need to change in order to be “good” enough. And to be better or happier about getting something else, or changing who we are. So already, we are getting started on the wrong foot.

Let’s take a common resolution to help understand this better. One of the most popular is the resolution to lose weight. So, let’s say we want to lose 10 pounds in 2019. What if we don’t? Generally, it makes us feel like a failure. I have noticed in my work that failure is not a helpful feeling. It tends to make people feel like they want to give up.

What if instead we decided to create an intention for the year? An intention is defined as a thing intended; an aim or plan. It is something that relates to our purpose and how we can bring about change for ourselves. The idea is to manifest something we want not something that we feel we “should” do. It is more creative and freeing and more about the journey than the destination. So, instead of saying we want to lose 10 pounds this year, we might commit to taking better care of our bodies because we are worth it.

If you want to improve your health, here are some healthy intentions to consider for 2019:

Practice Mindfulness
Initiate Detoxification
Stretch Daily
Move Daily
Celebrate Life with Joy
Relax more often
Be Kind to Yourself
Do things that make you happy
Laugh every day
Eat more vegetables
Get enough sleep
Get outside more
Believe in yourself

Does that feel better to you than a limited judgmental resolution? Once you are clear on your intention you can develop realistic steps to get you where you want to go such as “eat more of the right foods by adding at least one or two new healthy foods a week” or “be active daily for at least 30 minutes” or “check in with my hunger more often to focus on eating what I need and no more”.

The other great thing about intentions is that you can change them up as move through the year or focus on different tactics to help you achieve your transition. Sticking with the same example of taking better care of you, once you start making progress on adding new foods, moving your body and checking in with your hunger you can move to cooking more foods at home, experimenting more with herbs and spices in cooking or keeping healthy snacks available at all times.

The bottom line to all of this is take a kinder approach to change this year. Judging yourself harshly just is discouraging and unmotivating. I find in working with my clients that change doesn’t happen without a lot of self-love and that being creative is incredibly important to the process. This will keep you inspired and working toward the transformation that is in line with your intention.