December 27, 2023
Another new year approaches and the air is abuzz with resolutions. You probably start the New Year with your usual process of creating New Year’s resolutions.
You fervently set goals, promise to make changes, and draft long lists of things you want to get done. And you tell yourself, “This year, I’m going to make it happen!”
But two weeks in, you fall behind on the things you swore you would do every day. By March, you’re way off track from where you hoped to be – and things feel hopeless. You keep asking yourself, “How can I get to all the things I want to do this year?”
This exact cycle of frustration and failure is why I take a different approach to this season of change. I believe in the power of setting New Year’s intentions – rather than New Year’s resolutions. Because it’s a more successful way to welcome the new year.
It’s a well-known fact that most New Year’s resolutions don’t see the light of February. Statistics suggest that a staggering number of these promises made to ourselves fall by the wayside.
According to research, only about 9% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions complete them.¹ While 23% quit their resolutions by the end of the first week, and 43% quit by the end of January.¹
Have you tried any of these resolutions before?
These are some of the most common resolutions and the quickest people abandon. Why? Because you’re taught to set up New Year’s resolutions as strict rules that you impose on yourself. So when they’re broken, you feel guilt and a sense of failure.
But the good news is that you’re not alone – we all struggle to maintain our New Year’s resolutions.
Quitting New Year’s resolutions is so common because most people don’t approach resolutions like they would for business or personal goals. There are several factors that cause resolutions to “fail”:
It’s ingrained in you (and the rest of us) to view New Year’s resolutions as loose ideas that you hope to achieve – without any plan in place to make this happen. So, how do you change this?
I encourage you to shift your perspective. Instead of binding yourself to rigid resolutions, consider setting gentle, guiding intentions for the year.
An intention is like a softly glowing light in the distance. It guides your path and isn’t a strict rulebook to follow. New Year’s intentions help you cultivate a specific mindset and approach to life. It’s not about ticking off a checklist of do’s and don’ts.
If you can understand the difference between a New Year’s intention and a New Year’s resolution, your yearly goal-setting will be more successful.
A New Year’s intention is a guiding principle or a theme that you set for your year. It’s a gentle reminder of what you want to invite into your life.
It can be as simple as a word or a phrase that resonates with your soul. For example, “growth,” “balance,” or “joy.” This encourages you to nurture every aspect of your being – body, mind, and spirit – to align with that word or phrase.
Unlike New Year’s resolutions, which are often specific and rigid, intentions are broad and flexible. They can also encompass multiple areas of your life. They help you discover and build habits that you enjoy. And sharing them with others can help you stay grounded and on track.
For example, you might create a New Year’s resolution to drink more water or spend more quality time with your kids. Both require you to commit to taking specific actions each day or week – a constraint you might not be able to maintain.
But you can transform these into New Year’s intentions by focusing on health or prioritizing your family. This broader approach is easier to maintain in the long run – and it can apply to multiple aspects of your life like work, spirituality, family, and relationships.³
Intentions are inherently more sustainable than resolutions.
They are flexible, adaptable, and forgiving. They allow for growth and change, which reflects the natural ebb and flow of life. An intention acknowledges that life isn’t linear – and that our paths to personal growth and fulfillment are unique and ever-changing.
Setting intentions can also be more playful and less stressful than creating New Year’s resolutions. For example, if your intention is health-focused, you might:
You’re not forcing yourself to make three home-cooked meals each week or get seven hours of sleep each night. Simple practices (like the above) contribute to your larger intention without the pressure of specific, rigid goals.³
But how do you avoid New Year’s resolutions and focus on intentions instead?
Creating a New Year’s intention is a process of self-reflection and inner dialogue. Start by asking yourself:
Your New Year’s intentions should resonate with your soul’s deepest desires and aspirations. It’s not about what you should do – it’s about what you want to feel and how you wish to evolve.
A practical way to set intentions is to make two lists – one of your top five values and the other of five things you enjoy. Keep these lists broad by adding values and activities like:
The key is to avoid turning these lists into strict resolutions like “I’m going to walk outside every day.” Doing this can lead to feelings of failure and shame if you don’t strictly follow what you planned.
As a spiritual counselor, I can help you on this journey of setting and nurturing your New Year’s intentions. I offer space for you to explore your deepest self and find clarity amidst life’s transitions.
My methods and techniques are rooted in ancient wisdom, such as:
My goal is to help you discover and embrace your inner power. Because the path to self-improvement and personal growth isn’t a race or a competition. It’s a journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and transformation.
As you welcome the new year, try setting an intention that resonates with your soul. Let this intention be your guiding light. One that leads you toward a life of fulfillment, growth, and inner peace.
Try to stay away from strict resolutions that are difficult to maintain or make you feel guilt, shame, and failure when you break them. Pick an intention that’s broader, more flexible, and flows with your lifestyle. This new way of approaching New Year’s resolutions will shift your mindset and approach to life.
If you’re struggling to create intentions on your own, I invite you to book a discovery call with me. Let this year be about embracing your soul-deep desires and discovering your true potential.