I have found in recent years that people have very strong opinions on the helpfulness of New Year’s resolutions. Isn’t it funny how certain things become so charged? My hope here is to propose something a bit of an alternative that is hopefully not quite so polarizing. Haha.
5 Steps for Setting Intentions for the New Years
1. Reflect on the previous year.
a. What goals did you set last year that worked? What goals just made you feel bad about yourself when you did stick to them?
If it didn’t serve you well, leave it in 2018! There is no sense in bringing that shit into the new year.
For example, I started 2018 with a goal of losing 10 lbs. I ended up gaining 10+lbs, developing a worsening body image, and revisiting disordered eating patterns that I thought I had put to bed years ago. This year my goal is to fully embrace and love my body as it is (I’m letting go of my “skinny” jeans people!) I believe this intention will lead to healthier food choices and increased movement as I care for the body that I love.
b. Do you have any unresolved pain you are carrying into the New Year?
I recently heard the quote “Pain is inevitable, suffering is a choice,” and it legit rocked my world. How much suffering is because we ruminate on our pain. It’s played on repeat in our minds and then our minds seek to prove the pain in other aspects of our lives.
Shortly after hearing that quote I listed to this podcast from The Life Coach School Podcast entitled “How to Change Your Past”. and she talks about how the only way the pain of our past (even the recent past) affects us now is if we pull it into the present. Seems a bit harsh at first glance but think about it for a moment. What’s done is done. The pain is not currently being inflicted by anyone external. The present pain/anger/victim mindset is new and comes from us rehashing the situation or playing the “what if it was different” game.
This is sooooo important because it affects everything about how we show up in the world, for ourselves and for others. If you are starting the year off with unresolved pain (feeling like you are currently in pain from things that happened to you in the past) I highly recommend checking out the podcast and doing the reflection questions she offers towards the end. Give yourself a fresh start!
2. Break it up.
I suggest setting intentions for the beginning of the year now and making it a quarterly practice. If all goes as planned you shouldn’t end the year as the same version of yourself that started the year. Makes so much sense that your intentions would also change from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, doesn’t it?! So let’s not beat ourselves up for “quitting” on our New Year’s resolutions and allow them to evolve throughout the year.
3. Pick a word or theme for the year.
I don’t know about you but I am a visual processor and when it comes to setting intentions it is no different. The practice of choosing a word or theme for the year feels like choosing the center of a web diagram and the intentions flow from it. Organization of intentions in whatever way works for you is a key to success. It is really hard for a person to devote themselves to two drastically different intentions with the same level of commitment.
Last year my word was “freely”. By the end of the year it meant something completely different to me than it had in the beginning of the year when I first chose it. I love that even within the word there was so much room for me to evolve/grow. And boy did I manifest this word by the end of the year – breaking free from so many limiting beliefs that I didn’t even realize I held.
Make sure that your word/theme is expansive enough to grow with you AND feel free to change this quarterly too!
4. Get to the heart of your intentions.
Say you do want to lose 10lbs this year. WHY?! If this intention is externally motivated by any person, thing, or system (society’s idea of the ideal body, for example) you will not be able to stick with it. Check yourself for real internal motivation or scrap it. It’s 100% not worth beating yourself up for not becoming something you feel like you should be because of a person or system outside of yourself.
5. Challenge yourself while keeping perspective.
I love calling them intentions vs goals because we really should be celebrating any forward growth/movement. The way I see it there really isn’t an end point to goals/intentions anyway. Even with the goal of losing 10lbs, it’s not over when you lose it. Now you have to shift to maintenance mode. You can’t just drop everything that got you to that point.
There is always a next right step. Give yourself space (my word for 2019!) to figure out what that is along the way with these more free-flowing and quarterly-revisited intentions!
Do you set New Year’s Intentions? Have you ever thought about it like this?
Tell us your intentions for 2019 in the comments!
Blazer is thrifted, earrings are by Baublebar for Target, pink crop is from Express.