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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Coffin

A New Approach to A New Year: Intentions vs Resolutions

Whether or not you have ever successfully achieved a New Year’s Resolution, I want to invite you to completely ditch this approach for 2022!

Let’s first quickly look at how resolution and intention are defined:

  • Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

  • Intention: a thing intended; an aim or plan.

I don’t know about you but intention sounds way more appealing, less intense and truthfully, it removes the all or nothing mentality that comes with resolutions.

With resolutions, we usually hit the ground running on January 2nd like there is a fire under our ass right? We are ready. But then something either later that week, month or in February throws us for a loop. Maybe we have a bad day, we get sick, something happens and we are unable to keep to our resolution. Maybe a commitment comes up, our family or friend has an emergency or we are just downright burnt out. This is where most people give up. We say we will restart on Monday. We get upset that we “failed”. Whatever happens, usually as December 31st rolls around again, we realize we didn't do what we wanted to do and get upset with ourselves. Some of us create more intense resolutions, more restrictive or aggressive resolutions. Others vow to NEVER set a resolution ever again.

What if there was a different approach to entering a new year with INTENTION? What would that look like or mean for you?

Micro Goals

Maybe it looks like taking a larger goal that you actually have control over and breaking it down into 4-12 goals. Why 4-12? Think about seasons or months as mini check-ins with yourself. Each time the seasons change or a new month arrives, revisit your intentions and ask yourself, am I living in alignment with my values, my intentions, my micro goals? If not, that’s ok! Reassess and reset. Perhaps your intention you set in January no longer aligns with life or larger goals. If that is true, don’t be upset or frustrated but instead decide right then to find something that does.

Word of the Year

Another great way to live intentionally is to pick a word for the year that you want to reflect and grow around. This word can literally be ANYTHING! Maybe you want to bring more Hygge into your life (one of my favorite words ever). Or maybe you are reaching for balance, restoration, love, simplicity, joy, laughter, ease. There is no wrong word. Choose that word and place it where you will see it. Place post-its around your house, change the background on your phone and write your word on a piece of paper in your wallet, your car, your bathroom. Surround yourself with the word. Then, whenever you see it, check in and ask yourself, what is one tiny thing I can intentionally do today to live by this word?

Create A Manifestation/Vision Board

Yes! I am talking about magazines, printouts, poster board and glue. Make yourself a vision board for the next 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. Have a purchase you want to make soon? Glue on a picture of it. Have a vacation you want to go on? Find pictures and add them! What about career aspirations? Dreams for your family? This board could even be themed around a word you pick for the year. Then hang it where you will see it regularly like in your closet right where you pick up for favorite sweatshirt at the end of the day or on your office wall or treat it like artwork and frame it or put it on the fridge. Just be sure you can look at it and imagine all of those dreams have already come true.

What Really Matters

We are flooded with advertisements and the highlight reels of millions of other people’s lives every day. The pressure to be someone else is insane and more people are struggling mentally every single day. This is absolutely heart wrenching and infuriating. We all deserve to find happiness in the lives we choose to live. We all deserve to be happy with the choices we make and who we wish to be in our hearts. So I really want to challenge you whenever you make a goal, resolution or set an intention to ask yourself:

  • Is this something I actually want for myself or is this what someone else wants for me?

  • Why do I really want this? Like really, let’s get specific?

  • Do I actually have control over this goal? Do I have autonomy?

  • Does this make me feel alive + excited?

  • Am I dreading this?

  • Does this align with my personal values?

Progress Over Perfection

Whatever you choose, wherever you go, remember what matters more than anything is that you are progressing in the direction you want to go in, that is truly aligned with who you are and who you honestly in your heart want to be. Sustainable change is often much slower than we want it to be. Yet when we dramatically make changes, they often don’t stick. Focus on progression over being perfect. Make a decision you wish you hadn’t? Remember each breath is a moment to choose differently. You don’t have to wait til Monday, next month or next year. You can decide right now in this breath to forgive yourself, move forward and make the choice you actually want to make.

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