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A Unique Approach to Resolutions: Don’t.

New Year’s Resolutions are the worst

How is everyone doing on their New Year’s resolutions?

Yeah, me neither.

Although, I haven’t failed completely. Given my years of experience in attempting self-improvement (spoiler alert: therapists are far from perfect), I have come to understand that I don’t do well with resolutions. I don’t like being told what to do (or not do), even by myself. Many people are similar. This is why I have become more intention-focused versus resolution-focused.

Intentions versus resolutions

I view intentions as the more hippie, younger sibling of the resolution. Rather than a specific outcome in mind, it’s more of a map. Rather than a finish line, it’s the driving force.  Intentions can be powerful fuel for change.

Setting intentions can be as simple as a word (i.e., “Openness”) or as focused as a self-affirmation (i.e., “I manifest change”).

This typically isn’t a brief, split-second decision type of process. Give yourself a quiet moment. Meditate on it. Pray. “Try it on”, so to speak, and set your intention in your heart, with your breath. You’ll know when you’ve chosen well.


Intentions are much more optimistic and goal-oriented than the typical resolution. Resolutions are often set with the mindset that we need to change or that we’re not enough.  It may be that we need to lose 15 pounds. Perhaps, we eat too much sugar and we need to give that up. Or, we look at our phones too much. Starting from a deficit-based mindset starts off the whole process with a sour taste. Let’s not forget that 2018 you got you here, to where you are now. 2018 you is a survivor. You made it. Let’s celebrate that as the beautiful victory that it is.

Better Outcomes

Because I’m a therapist, I enjoy any opportunity to remind people that the world isn’t (or rather doesn’t have to be) black and white. Intention is not about success or failure. For example, if your intention is to nourish and care for your body, this can be accomplished in a number of ways. It also allows for some grace if you’re only rocking those baby steps.  Back to the example above- yes, I still got a delicious cheeseburger for lunch. But, I didn’t get french fries and I drank more water than typical. I didn’t run this morning, but I did some yoga and quiet meditation. Admittedly, this a shift in mindset. Let’s get comfortable with the “in-between” of success and failure. Let’s notice gray areas and sit with that for a moment.

Evolving, just like us.

Intentions can- and should- evolve with us. 2019 is a long year and we are constantly growing and shifting and adjusting. These intentions can transform with you. If your intention word is “power”- imagine how that can look in the various aspects of your life. For example, this could be professionally, personally, spiritually, etc., and it could manifest as a strong wind or a silent mountain. Meditating on your intention word can bring forth some powerful imagery. Explore that and watch it change over time.  

Moment-to-moment intentions

In closing, remember that intentions don’t have to be complicated. Each tiny thing we accomplish in a day started out as an intention. This blog post began as one. The stretch I gave my back to correct my posture was an intention to be kind to my spine. Remember that it’s more of the journey than the destination- place that intention out there to the universe and let’s see what returns, shall we?

If you would like help with setting your intention, contact us for a free consultation.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Delaram

    I love being intentional with my choices! Love your tips here on setting intentions, and being gentle with ourselves.

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