Resolutions Instead of IntentionsLife
After a real roller-coaster of a year, 2017 is now behind us and with the new year comes the feeling of a fresh start. There is something about the calendar changing over that renews the sense of endless possibilities in the year ahead, and motivates people to want to be their very best. Like everyone else, I love this feeling and I look forward to setting goals and dreaming about the year ahead. I’ve set resolutions in the past, and without exception I became one of the statistical failures within a few weeks. Some people have eschewed the idea of setting resolutions altogether, but the dramatic increase of people at the gym lately tells me that not everyone has given up on their efforts to make and keep New Years resolutions.
My life has changed so much this year that I’ve spent more time than usual pondering about the upcoming 2018 year. This time last year I could never have foreseen that I would quit the career I’d spent my whole life building (but that I hated) or that I would have the courage to start a blog and pursue my passions for writing and fashion. It has been a great year for me in terms of personal growth and development, and so I am more excited than ever at the prospect of a blank slate in the year ahead.
Resolutions, Not Intentions
As I’ve pondered on what resolutions I want to set for the new year, I realized I wanted to be careful that I didn’t set myself up for failure. It occurred to me that I’ve been approaching New Years resolutions the wrong way my entire life. The root of the word “resolution” is “resolve”. The definition of resolve is as follows:
I realized that in previous years I have not been setting resolutions at all. What I was really setting were intentions, and that is absolutely not the same thing. I’ve started every new year with good intentions…getting fit, eating healthy, losing weight, reading more books, etc. And each year I really did intend to do all of those things, but it’s clear by the fact that I failed that I never really resolved to do them.
So this year, I am not making intentions. I am setting real resolutions for the first time in my life.
Ownership and Accountability: If there is one thing I’ve learned about successful and happy people, it’s that they take full ownership of their life and full accountability for their actions. They don’t blame the universe when things go wrong, and they don’t give their power away to other people. Historically I have been really, really bad at this. It’s so easy to blame external sources for your circumstances, and I’ve fallen into that trap countless times. While it may be comforting to transfer blame outside of your control, doing so eliminates your ability to change your circumstances. It’s not until you take ownership of your decisions and accountability for your circumstances that you give yourself back the power to change your life. So this year, I resolve to get back in the driver’s seat of my life and stay there.
Continuous Improvement: This is a concept I learned in the business world that for some reason I never applied to my real life. One of the biggest reasons that New Years resolutions fail is because they are either too big or too vague. Rather than set a bunch of pipe dream resolutions where I’m magically transported into my dream version of myself, this year I resolve to focus on continuous improvement in the areas of my life that matter most. I’m not setting a weight loss goal, but I am resolving to push myself at the gym to get a little bit stronger each time. I’m not suddenly deciding to “eat healthy”, but I am resolved to putting my mental and physical health first so I will balance eating for my health without foregoing my love of food. By focusing on continuous improvement, however small the increments, I will be set up for success and will be able to finally stop the mental beatings I give myself when I inevitably fall short of my unrealistic “resolutions”.
And that’s it…just those two resolutions. They are the right ones for me, and I feel more motivated and excited about the new year than I can ever remember feeling. I know that as long as my actions align with these two resolutions I am going to end the year a better, stronger version of myself.
I wish you all the very happiest New Year, and thank you so much for reading!