Why a New Year’s Intention May Be Better Than a Resolution

You’ve probably heard that new year’s resolutions overwhelmingly don’t work. In fact, research shows that 91% of Americans won’t achieve their goals. To be exact, most people quit on January 19, the infamous day coined as Quitter’s Day.

But that doesn’t mean you should abandon your efforts to set goals for self-improvement and happiness.

New Year’s Intentions vs Resolutions: What’s the Difference?

A new year’s resolution focuses on a specific goal. Maybe, for example, you want to open your own business or lose weight or finally start that yoga practice you’ve been talking about for the past few years.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with resolutions. It’s great to set goals, and there’s an amazing satisfaction associated with achieving your dreams and building an ideal future for yourself.

However, most people find that their resolutions tend to be limiting, rigid, or otherwise difficult to accomplish. Resolutions fail because we’re only human. Change is hard, even when we want to change, and we often resist growth efforts because it feels uncomfortable.

Intentions, however, focus more on the values and underpinnings of change. Instead of just focusing solely on outcomes, you choose to honor the process. When you set intentions, you set a foundation for living a life that feels worth living.

Setting an Intention This New Year

If you want to change your energy this upcoming year, it’s helpful to have a plan. Setting an intention allows you to build a new framework for yourself. Here are strategies to consider as you decide how you want to expand your life.

Consider Your Core Values

Think about what’s most important to you in life. What do you want to devote your energy toward? Where do you want to be more present? What gives you meaning?

Identify Your Key Focus

Which area feels most vital for growth right now? Don’t just focus on success-based goals. Instead, think about what feels most essential in where you want to create change. Sometimes, this comes down to considering patterns of pain or stuckness.

Set Your Intention

Go forth and actually set your intention for the upcoming year!

If you feel stuck, some examples may include:

  • I intend to focus on patience.
  • Abundance will be my guiding principle.
  • I am setting an intention for giving love.
  • I will move and act mindfully.

Visualize How It Will Happen

Consider how life will feel if you actually live while practicing this intention. What will feel different? What might still be the same? What old behaviors or mindsets might make it challenging to live with this new intention?

Ways to Put Your Intention Into Practice

Setting intentions is one thing, but actually living with your intention in mind is the real work.

Remember that the key difference between resolutions vs intentions is that you aren’t focused on the concepts of success or failure. You’re focused on the intention behind how you make decisions and ultimately live your life.

Find a Role Model

Try to find someone who already lives with this intention in mind. What do they do differently from you? How do they stay focused on living in such a way? When they face obstacles (as everyone inevitably does), how do they cope with that stress?

Practice Self-Compassion

Setting intentions is an act of self-love. maybe you set an intention to live gratefully. But in a particularly rough moment, you find yourself becoming cynical and angry. You realize that you aren’t living with this intention at all.

First, it’s important to consider that this will happen. The idea that you will always live with your intention in mind is unrealistic. Instead, aim to be kind to yourself during this journey.

Commit to the curiosity associated with smaller goals and changes. Recognize when you can begin to see and do things differently. Growth is built on the backbone of a million tiny decisions- the commitment to honor this process is the real gift.

Avoid Framing Growth Through Terms Like Success or Failure

Intentions are fluid and process-oriented. As you set intentions, you aim to change how you respond and cope with life.

This is not specific in the way that conventional new year’s resolutions usually are. With intention-setting, you’re building a lifelong practice. In that sense, you will constantly change, expand, and hone in on your ability to grow.

Most importantly, you are choosing this intention because it brings you lightness and joy. Unlike some New Year’s resolutions, there’s nothing punitive about this decision.

How Therapy Can Help With Intention-Setting

You don’t have to wait for the new year to set an intention, but many people like to reflect on the past year to consider how they want to change moving forward.

If you want to create change in your life, therapy can be an excellent starting point. Whether you have specific goals in mind- or you just need support in coping with something difficult– talking to a trusted professional can help.

Contact me today to get started!

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

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