January is a time to reflect on the year gone and think about the things we want to change, and how we can better ourselves. Our resolutions are sincere as they are made in the spirit of celebration, but after the excitement of the new year has worn off, we’re left with some pretty heft resolutions with no plans on how to achieve them.
Why do they fail?
There are many reasons why new year’s resolutions inevitably fail. For starters we believe that kicking a bad habit will be easy and underestimate the time and effort it will take. Often, we are looking for instant gratification from our resolutions when actually they can take months to achieve making us become frustrated and give up on them.
We also set ourselves up for failure by creating long lists of things we want to change or habits we want to break, which can be overwhelming to try and achieve all at once.
What’s the solution?
It can be hard to persist with bettering yourself when it takes so long to see results or feel like you are accomplishing anything. That’s where new year’s intentions come in.
Although we all have admirable goals we want to achieve this year, labelling them as new year’s resolutions are a flawed way to reach them. By setting intentions instead of resolutions you are creating a more forgiving environment that doesn’t set you up for failure, rather putting more weight into the effort and process not just the results.
Intentions are more sustainable than resolutions as they are rooted in the present. They are focusing more on the positive forces you want to introduce into your life rather than putting weight on what you want to change which tends to bring more focus on negative feelings.
How to set intentions
An intention could be wanting to spend more time practicing mindfulness to reduce stress. When set as a resolution, it puts more attention on measuring the outcome but with intentions you can tackle this on a daily basis by saying, “I want to spend 3 minutes each day doing a breathing exercise.”
This is an attainable goal that allows for flexibility and adds value to your life rather than highlighting what you are lacking. Intentions act as a guiding force that allow you to enjoy the process of betterment.
A common resolution that is made and then broken is the decision to quit smoking. The effort to improve your lifestyle and health with this resolution is admirable but if not approached properly will inevitably be broken.
If you make the intention to purchase products that will help control nicotine cravings and take the process day by day, rewarding yourself for the victories and not punishing yourself for perceived failures, your chances of succeeding significantly increase.