How to Set Intentions, and Actually Keep Them!

With a new year, comes a new list of resolutions. We’re going to lose weight. Start a new skin regimen. Have a Dry January. Meditate more. Eat healthier. Make that doctor’s appointment. Pick up a new hobby. Sound familiar? But by the time February rolls around, nearly half of us have already dropped the ball, and our goals fall short. The reality is, out of the 93 percent of us who make New Year’s resolutions, only 19 percent of us actually stick to them. Sure, we can say it’s due to our lack of willpower or self-control, but there must be a way to avoid that typical drop-off. How can we keep the promises we’ve made to ourselves? Here are a few tips to help us achieve our intentions.

The Power of Positivity

It really quite simple – it’s all in the phrasing. Rather than saying “I will quit something,” say “I will start something.” When we create resolutions that add behaviors versus erase them, we are more likely to maintain these new practices throughout the year. Struggling to suppress thoughts can take a lot of energy out of us. They also have a way of returning to our minds with a vengeance. However, welcoming in new mental patterns can feel empowering and growth-inspired. So, the power of positivity prevails! Plus, it’s much easier to start something new than quit it.

Set Affirmations vs Resolutions

Setting physical goals aren’t always necessary. By creating a list of affirmations, we’re identifying more with how we’d like our lives to appear vs. specific things we want to happen (many of which are out of our control). Ideating a vision for our year can be very motivating and inspiring. Not to mention, if things transpire differently, the results are less likely to be seen as failures but rather alternate paths to those same objectives.

Think Small

Many of us expect to change overnight. January 1st hits, and all of a sudden, we break those bad habits? Wrong! But if we create gradual, additive commitments to our goals, we can result in big outcomes. It’s all in the baby steps. Think slow, methodical, and be realistic. Drastic transformations have a nice ring to them, but they don’t last. What’s that famous saying? Slow and steady wins the race. 

Rework Our Environment

The more control we have over rearranging an environment that tempts us, the better our chances are of succeeding. So, if we want to eat less sugar, we can avoid keeping cookies in the house. Want to work out more? Keep those tennis shoes front and center. A supportive partner can help here too. Studies show that sharing our aspirations and goals with a loved one can dramatically increase our chances of achieving resolutions through encouragement, accountability and shared values.

Be Kind

Have some self-compassion. 2020 was not an easy year for any of us, and 2021 is already off to an iffy start. So, it’s ok to cut ourselves some slack. Being human isn’t about being perfect. If we fail or slip from our ambitions, we can be gentle and recommit to them again the next day. Showing ourselves some understanding and boosting our willpower through a series of small strategies will help us succeed and ultimately, manifest the intentions we set for the year ahead.

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin