Ever hear the joke that “my last New Year’s resolution was to stop making New Year’s resolutions?”
Okay, okay, you probably heard ME say it. (It just doesn’t get old!)
Frankly, I find resolutions to be a little silly so I don’t make them. Instead I set an intention for the new year with a list of actions that will help me with that intention.
For example, last year my intention was to become more courageous. So I thought about what I have been afraid of (mostly failure) and how it is holding me back. Then I thought about some courageous actions I could take to encourage the behavior. Two really big ones were finally teaching my first Spinning class and learning to cook a dish (any dish). I accomplished both during the last quarter of the year. (The intention was to find more courage – not stop procrastinating after all). Taking larger chances, committing to things that are outside of my comfort zone and making new connections are a few other actions that contributed to my intention. It has made 2012 a phenomenal year.
But what is the difference between intention-setting and making resolutions, you ask? Well, I find resolutions to be uninspiring and a bit cliché – as cliché as breaking them. Most people promise to lose weight or “get in the best shape of their life” in the new year. But it doesn’t answer WHY? To what end? For what purpose? Or even how! The “why” is the motivation to keep going when temptation is just too… well, tempting. And without a clear call to action for sticking to the resolution you’re almost guaranteed to fail.
Losing weight just to lose weight without clear, measurable steps can falter in the face of a lot of beer and chicken wings paired with the best blue cheese you ever put in your mouth. (Sorry, I got distracted). On the other hand, setting your intention and then listing the actions to support that intention will expand your ability to get to where you want to go because you’re not limited to one action. After all, there are many ways to complete a journey.
So in a life where you have set an intention, imagine painting a bigger picture of your world! Imagine better things for yourself! Imagine expanding your sphere of influence! Then let’s go and make it happen!
Now tell me, what are your intentions for 2013 and what actions will you take to fulfill it?
Happy New Year!
Photo via Flickr (Creative Commons) by Bayasaa.