2019 is drawing to a close. The new year is on the horizon, and many of us are thinking about what we want to do in 2020.
We might think about losing weight, earning more money, saving more money, keeping our homes cleaner, climbing the ladder at work, or any other number of things.
Many of these ideas end up as resolutions we make for the new year.
However, most of us only stick to our resolutions for a few weeks!
If you’ve ever been to a gym in January, you’ll know that it’s usually very crowded, but the crowds decrease steadily as the month wears on. By February, attendance has dropped considerably!
This is because we do things backward. We think about what we want to change in our lives without addressing the underlying reasons first.
Why we make resolutions
Why do we set goals or resolutions?
The same reason we do anything: because of how we think we’ll feel when we accomplish those goals.
We set those goals because we think we’ll feel happy when we reach them. However, we don’t often feel happy while working on those goals. It’s hard work. It feels like a chore. We don’t feel happy like we thought we would, so we stop working on them.
Then we don’t get the happiness we wanted OR the result of the resolution! It’s a lose-lose situation.
The other way around
Instead of setting new year’s resolutions, I prefer to set intentions.
Rather than thinking about what you want to DO in the new year, the act of setting intentions may help you figure out how you want to BE.
That way, you can start with the feeling you want and do things that are in alignment with that instead of taking shots in the dark and hoping that accomplishing your goals will create the feeling you want.
How do you want to show up in the new year?
When we set intentions, we focus on the state of being that we want to invite into our lives.
The idea of intentions is more about the way you want to show up in your life. An intention might be “I want to be more creative this year.”
What might that mean for you? What might that look like in your life?
Maybe you set up your life so that it’s more likely that you’ll do creative things. You could sign up for a local art class or buy art supplies and set up a little art area in your house so that there are fewer perceived obstacles to creating art.
Perhaps you intend to be more loving in the new year.
You might think about how you can be more loving, where you withhold love in your life, or where you’re closed off or resentful. If you are critical of your spouse, you may think of what you want to do differently.
Or maybe you want to be more generous in the new year. You might ask yourself “Where am I giving? Where do I want to be more generous? What does generosity mean to me? Do I want to give time, money, or talents? How would I feel different in the new year if I behaved more generously?”
Reimagining your life in this way may feel more powerful than thinking “I’ll be happier if I lose 15 pounds or save 1,000 dollars.”
Starting with the feeling you want and let the actions follow
If you start with your intention instead of the other way around, you may end up accomplishing those things as a byproduct and noticing how you feel when you focus on that intention.
Change and growth is a process. There’s no finish line. You’re just building more and more awareness, focus, and clarity. When you do that, transformation is inevitable!