Setting New Year’s Intentions, Not Resolutions

Happy New Year, everyone! I know I’m a little late on spreading the 2017 cheer, but I was busy ringing in the new year in Disney World. Between the packed days of exploring festive theme parks and the travel hangover thereafter, I haven’t had much time to get my New Year’s Resolutions in order yet. I love the idea of setting New Year’s resolutions as much as the next person. A new year seems like the perfect time to take a good look at yourself and tackle new life goals.

new year's intentions

But a recent blog post I read by one of my favorite bloggers over at The Well Essentials, I realized that I’d much rather set New Year’s intentions rather than resolutions. Taken directly from her blog post, the difference in the definitions is actually staggering:

Intention: (n) Is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future.

Resolution: (n) A firm decision to do or not do something.

Intentions seem so much more appealing, don’t they? Rather than punish ourselves when we slip up on (or straight up fail) our set resolutions, why don’t we set ourselves up for success rather than failure? Intend to live a certain way throughout the course of a new year, but don’t beat yourself up if a day goes by without meeting your own overly high standards.

Instead, make a commitment to yourself to do better, be better, live better in the ways that mean the most to you. Don’t look at the new year as a time to “fix” broken parts of your life; enjoy the process of bringing more positivity and happiness into your life.

new year's intentions

One of my favorite books recently was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Though it focused heavily on “resolutions,” it was incredibly thought out and strategic, focused on the main goal (intention?) being happiness, rather than a  number on a scale or the trophies on a shelf (though, she admittedly loved giving herself a gold star to commemorate her successes). The Happiness Project married resolutions with intentions in such an awesome way, I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to bring more light into their lives in 2017 with focused, actionable steps. In order to turn resolutions into habits, Gretchen set up her Habits Manifesto:

  • What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.
  • Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong.
  • Focus on actions, not outcomes.
  • By giving something up, we may gain.
  • Things often get harder before they get easier.
  • When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves.
  • We’re not very different from other people, but those differences are very important.
  • It’s easier to change our surroundings than ourselves.
  • We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.
  •  We should make sure the things we do to feel better don’t make us feel worse.
  •  We manage what we monitor.
  •  Once we’re ready to begin, begin now.

Remember these tips when you feel like you’re getting lost in the New Year’s resolution bustle.

Last year, I set 10 New Year’s resolutions. Looking back, I can say I (very) happily say I met 3 of them. I traveled to 3 new places and finished 3 half marathons in 2016 – some of my biggest accomplishments! As for the others, not so much luck.

This year, I’ll set 5 intentions for 2017.

  • I intend to be more thoughtful about my body this year, through better nutrition and fitness. Every special occasion doesn’t deserve a piece of cake! 
  • I intend to do more things that challenge me, physically and mentally. Incorporate more yoga, more half marathons, learn a new skill, read more, grow my blog.
  • I intend to explore more. Visit new places. See all the things. As someone looking to grow the travel section of my blog, it’s easy for me to be in total blog-mode when visiting a new place. Be present!
  • I intend to live more in the moment. Stop stressing about what is to come and focus on the now. Make time to do the things you love, today. 
  • I intend to stay positive by focusing more of my energy on the things that make me the happiest and be remembering gratitude. Gratefulness leads to happiness; focus more on being grateful of the things I have and less time harboring envy.

What are your New Year’s intentions or resolutions this year? How do you plan to achieve them?

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