Published December 28, 2019
As the year 2020 approaches, there is much excitement over the start of a new year and decade. While we reflect on the past year and how far we’ve come, we also start to wonder about the next year and where we’d like to be. A very popular New Year’s Eve ritual is to set resolutions- or goals for things we’d like to accomplish in the next 365 days. We do this because we assume that those goals will leave us feeling a certain way: happier, healthier, safer, loved… but unfortunately, only 8% of us actually accomplish our resolutions by year’s end.
Don’t get disappointed yet- this does not mean that growth is impossible. What it means is that we need a shift of mindset around the new year. Rather than falling into the 92%, perhaps we should consider setting intentions instead.
Resolutions versus Intentions
Resolutions and intentions are both centered on change, but from two very different perspectives. While resolutions are based on goals or accomplishments, intention is about how we would like to feel. Resolutions see us as achieving feelings based on certain actions, while intentions encourage us to choose our actions based on how we’d like to feel. Think about intentions as the lense you would like to view your next year through.
Resolutions imply that we require major change to be whole. Intentions carry with them the beautiful hope that there is already good and potential within us, we just have to tap into it.
An example of a resolution: “I will lose 20 pounds this year.”
An example of an intention: “I intend to make choices that support my physical and emotional health.”
Psychologically, there are benefits to setting intentions as compared to resolutions. Resolutions are focused on a specific outcome; unfortunately, life is not always as predictable as we’d hope. Life might throw us a curveball that interrupts that goal or makes it a poor fit down the line. If we set an intention, it’s more of a guidance on how we want to conduct ourselves, no matter what comes our way. We’re much more likely to be successful and follow through.
How to Develop an Intention
Intentions are inner work, so developing (or “setting”) an intention is inner work. What that looks like depends upon your favorite modality for tapping into your inner wisdom. Some ideas:
- Mindful meditation: mindful meditation consists of sitting in silence and noticing what thoughts come up. Be aware of what themes come up for you. When we quiet down, some of our most important messages come through.
- Guided meditation: listening to a speaker guide you through imagery while meditating can also be powerful. Search for specific intention setting meditations if sitting in silence does not suit you.
- Visualization: take some time to visualize the type of person that you would like to be. Note any characteristics that you embodied in that visualization. This may guide you in the direction of your intention.
- Journaling: take some time to sit and write about the type of person and life you’d like to lead in the upcoming year. Free write what comes up for you, and notice if there’s an intention hiding in your thoughts.
I’m going to take some time to get intentional with 2020 before the end of the week, I’ll share my work as we get closer.
Host of Watered Grass