Intentions Over Resolutions: How To Set New Years Intentions That Are GOOD For Your Mental Health
“Our minds love to linger in the past and jump ahead to the future; resolutions only help encourage that behavior. They are always related to a fear from a conditioned past or a worry about the future.” -Bhardwaj
With the new year approaching, skip the limiting resolutions and start setting intentions that are good for your mental health. While specific and measurable resolutions might work for some, it can be daunting, restricting and damaging for others. Instead of thinking of a defined, restricted notion in your mind, begin thinking of healthy intentions you’d like to make for the new year.
What's the difference between a resolution and an intention?
A resolution is a specific goal that is fixed and firm. This makes it easy to label yourself as a failure if you don’t reach the goal, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, shame, and sadness. Failed resolutions can also create “backsliding” or a relapse into previous negative behaviors.
An intention is setting and focusing your attention to manifest your goals. Intentions are expansive and have no limits. Intentions allow you to stay present instead of worrying about the future. In setting an intention, you resolve that you’re already “enough,” so you move forward without having a severe attachment to the outcome.
How can I reframe my resolutions into intentions?
“I will lose 10 pounds” —> “I want a joyful, healthy, and energetic body”
“I will give up sugar, alcohol, carbs, etc.” —> “I practice mindful eating and make choices that make me feel healthy, energetic and clean.”
“I will meditate everyday” —> “I want to develop a calm, peaceful mind”
While these intentions might seem vague, you can create action steps that will help you. For example, with anything related to bodyweight or fitness, instead of limiting yourself to how much weight you will lose or how many times a week you will workout, an action step can be: “I will schedule my workouts before the week begins”. This way, you are focusing on your intention and implementing accountability without labeling numbers or specifics.
Ways to help you nourish and maintain your intention for the new year:
Take Baby Steps
When creating action steps that relate to your intention, start small and keep them realistic. Know that change doesn’t happen overnight and patterns take time to preserve.
Mindfulness is fundamentally about awareness of what is happening in the present. Meditating on your intention can power you through self-doubt, remind you of why you are doing this, and keep you calm and motivated.
Enlist Friends and Family
Ask for support when you need it! Let the people that you trust and whom are close to you know your intention to help you through it and hold you accountable.
Be Soft with Yourself
You’re only human and no one is perfect. You are going to mess up, take steps backward or "fall off the wagon"-Forgive yourself. It's all part of the process and can be an important part of moving forward. Instead of beating yourself up, come back to your intention and what is driving your personal growth. Look back, let go, and open your heart to new possibilities.
Put It Out There
Talk about what you want. Put it out there in the universe -This is how you manifest what you want. The more you think about your intentions and your goals, the more prepared you will be for the opportunities as they arise. Our thoughts become our behavior-And when we change our thinking, when we talk about what we want and when we really believe that we can have or be whatever and whoever we want, our behavior will begin to follow suit.