Why I’m Making New Year’s Intentions, Not Resolutions

Why I’m Making New Year’s Intentions, Not Resolutions

During the lead up to Christmas, it always seems like it’s so jolly-this and gingerbread-that, and before you know it, we’re throwing out our Christmas trees, taking down our decorations and mapping out our master plan of resolutions to make 2018 better than ever! Right?!

Here’s the problem with that:

Often those resolutions stem from a place of self-loathing in some way; a general feeling of not being “enough” and therefore feeling like we must change things about ourselves to fix ourselves (which will supposedly bring us all of the happiness). Not to mention, a lot of those resolutions involve changing your diet in some way as a means to weight loss, which means you’re that much more vulnerable to the quick-fix weight loss gimmicks that don’t work.

What happens when we attempt something, like a diet, that doesn’t end up working? We self-sabotage – and we do this through reactive behaviour like binging and find ourselves in the “start fresh Monday” cycle.

Look – I LOVE everyone’s enthusiasm to better themselves whether it’s their health, personal or professional life. But even in my short few years of setting resolutions, I can already tell you they don’t work! Heck, I was attempting diets up until last January. I told the world (as a means of holding myself accountable) that I was going to go 1 full month completely sugar-free, including natural sweeteners like raw honey, maple syrup and molasses. Naturally, I found myself at Day 6, caving by having a natural sweetener and feeling totally guilty about it (I’m pretty sure it was raw honey in a salad dressing too). Afterwards, I found myself more fixated and obsessed with sugar than ever. I couldn’t get enough! This is a natural reaction to deprivation or restriction.

I realized I was better off having not even attempted the sugar detox at all, than attempting it and ending up totally obsessed and binging on sugary foods.

So here’s what I’m proposing – screw the New Year’s resolutions. Bring on the New Year’s INTENTIONS!

The difference in between a resolution and an intention is that a resolution is an action of solving a problem or a firm decision to do or not do something. Whereas, an intention, is more so of an aim or something that we strive towards. When looking at the two, you might think intentions are “fluffy” because they lack the commitment, but in fact, it’s the complete opposite!

According to Business Insider, 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February. EIGHTY PERCENT. And who knows where the remaining 20% ended up – March, perhaps?

Intentions, on the other hand, make room for flexibility as to when and how we pursue our goals. There’s no hard deadline to lose 20lbs in 20 days, and therefore, there’s usually no self-sabotaging reactive behaviour to follow it when we “slip up” or “cave”.

Instead, it becomes an everyday practice of something that we constantly work towards to better ourselves. Want to be more present? Awesome! Write it down and set an intention to do so, so that it becomes a gentle reminder for you every single day. Maybe that means setting boundaries around your technology usage or being more of the listener in conversations so you’re forced to stay present.

How To Write Intentions

I recently attended an Intention Setting Workshop with the magical Amber of Misfit Studio. During the workshop, we discussed specific steps you can take when developing your list of intentions. Before you dive into your intention setting, I would encourage you to implement some of these steps.

  1. Unplug from technology
  2. Pen + Paper don’t type it out!)
  3. Create a sacred space (create a calm quiet space with cozy blankets, crystals, diffusers – whatever you need!)
  4. Cleanse the space (palo santo, smudging etc)
  5. Ground yourself (breath work, movement etc)
  6. Flow (from the heart, 100% honesty, ask yourself to see beyond your limiting beliefs, remembering that anything is possible)

My Intentions for 2018

In honour of setting intentions and not resolutions, I thought I would share my 2018 intentions with you! Feel free to pull some intentions from this list if you feel inspired or drawn to them, but remember, your intentions should be unique to you!

  1. Let go of things that don’t serve me (friends, anything that feels like an “obligation”, the idea of what people think about me)
  2. Be more present (less technology altogether, no technology (phone + laptop) after 9pm)
  3. Speak your mind (let go of people pleasing, be honest with myself, say “no” if it doesn’t feel right)
  4. Work hard, play hard (reward myself for doing great work with something like a massage, a pedicure etc – anything that makes me feel GOOD!)
  5. Positive self-talk (continue to honour my body where it is today, more acceptance, less of turning ideas/thoughts into elaborate “stories” that aren’t serving me)
  6. Stop comparing (stay in my lane!)
  7. More meaningful movement VS routine movement (not always CrossFit – follow what feels GOOD, incorporate yoga, or meditation, stretching etc, don’t just be a hamster on a wheel doing the same thing over and over when it comes to exercise and movement)

What’s one intention you are going to set for yourself in 2018?

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