Did you start the year with your head held high, vowing to make this your best year yet?
Maybe you told everyone you know (and their dogs!) that this would be THE year that you follow through with your New Year’s Resolutions!
…But then you get back to work after the holidays, life happens, and next thing you know you’re repeating the same patterns you got caught up in last year.
I get it, because I have been there!
When I think about New Year’s resolutions, I think of a jam-packed parking lot outside of the gym. Everyone’s now recommitted to getting fit and transforming their bodies before summer. But this isn’t the case for everyone! For some, setting resolutions are about saving more money, being a better mom, or getting more productive in their business.
Whatever the resolutions might be, they’re usually goals that we set to “change” or “fix” something about our lives.
But at some point when we’re setting these New Year’s resolutions, we have to have a look and ask ourselves…
How effective has this been for us?
Is this working?
Why Resolutions Don’t Work
When we set a New Year’s resolution on January 1st, we take inventory in our lives and we look and see what’s wrong. We look at our lives and we think, ‘What do I need to fix about my life? What about me needs fixing?’.
Now before I carry on, let me say this…
If anyone is rooting for growth and personal development, it’s definitely this type-A right here. I’m all about that. I think that’s an excellent way to be and live your life. Growth is important.
But there’s a big difference between growth or change and “fixing something”. By growing you allow yourself to ease into something versus quickly changing or fixing something that’s not working.
Most resolutions are about:
- wanting to lose weight
- feeling the need to go the gym
- fitting into a certain pair of skinny jeans/ bathing suit
- or achieving a certain body fat percentage
You can see that the common idea here is that you want to ‘fix’ something about yourself.
It’s not that these ideas are bad ideas. We can certainly all benefit from being kinder to our gorgeous bodies that house our miraculous souls. It’s black and white thinking, all or nothing attitude that allows our thinking to become distorted and causes us to eventually give up on our resolutions or our goals altogether.
Because what then comes into play is when we are working to achieve these goals, or “fix” something, is that there’s often a lot of guilt and shame surrounding it.
Have you ever said to yourself, ‘I fell off track”, or “I fell off the wagon’? That guilt and shame lead us to feel icky, which is generally, not helpful.
This is why resolutions don’t work, and encourage you to use intentions instead.
Resolutions vs. Intentions
The big difference between a resolution and an intention is that intentions are less harsh, and they use a much more compassionate energy. When you work from a kinder place, and you’re more compassionate, the outcome is going to be very different.
Intentions don’t tie us to an outcome.
New Year’s Resolutions are all about the outcome (losing weight, achieving a body fat percentage or fitting into a little black dress).
Intentions are about bringing mindfulness to your actions and doing your best (I intend to nourish my mind, body, and soul. I intend to be fully present in the moment.).
Intentions ensure that you’re being aware. You’re mindful, and you’re doing the best that you can. You’re giving it your best and you’re being conscious while doing it.
Here’s a perfect example of a New Year’s Resolution vs. setting an Intention:
Say our New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. You’re in the midst of January and you’ve been doing well. But on Friday night, your hubby orders a pizza for dinner and pizza is your fave! So you say to yourself, “You know what, I’m going to allow myself to have a slice of pizza. I’ve been really good.” You give yourself a slice of pizza, but then you’re quickly caught up in, “Wow, that was good. I want another slice.” Then you want another slice… And then one more.
So, what happens?
You’re left feeling awful. You have this incredible sense of failure looming over you and you decide to completely give up on your New Year’s resolution. Not even a month in and you’ve already broke it. So you give up and say to yourself, “Well there goes that New Year’s resolution. I’m an absolute failure. I guess I’ll have to try again next year.”
Say what?! We just expect to start all over next year? All we can seem to focus on is that we’ve failed, and we’ll never change.
But what if you were to use an intention instead of a resolution?
Let’s just say you decided to rethink your resolution and go at it with a gentler approach… I intend to nourish my mind, body, and soul.
You may pick up that slice of pizza, the third, and the fourth slice, but you give yourself less self-criticism and judgment. You begin to understand that you’re not perfect. (Thank goodness for that!)
You begin to pay attention to WHY you wanted those additional slices of pizza. You become a little investigator of your own behaviours. Rather than judging and breaking yourself down for them, you just ask yourself more why’s.
Why am I doing this?
What’s going on here?
Why am I feeling this way?
Why do I feel like I need to do that?
What am I trying to uncover?
How am I trying to self-soothe?
You realize that tomorrow is going to grant you another day and another opportunity to start again.
You’re not going to give up. You won’t throw in the towel. You’re going to learn from what happened and improve the next day.
Intentions are more about being creative about what you want to manifest for yourself versus what you want to fix. It’s a long-term strategy.
This is what life is about! It’s a journey, because as long as we’ve here breathing we always have an opportunity to try again.
Now we’d love to hear from you! In the comments section below, share what you want your intention to be for 2019?
Remember, this is a gradual journey. Be curious. Uncover more. Figure out what you can do better next time.
Here’s to bringing more compassion to 2019!