Why You Should Set Intentions and Not Resolutions in 2016

It's that time of year, when we fully commit to making positive changes in our lives. We set health and wellness goals to feel and look our best by restricting certain foods and buying a gym membership (one that will be used 1-2 months out of the year). We write out our goals and a detailed action plan, but somewhere along the way, we lose motivation, we feel bad about ourselves and instead of hitting the gym, we dive into a bag of chips.

What if we approached New Year's resolutions differently. What if we set intentions and not resolutions. Let me explain further...

Resolutions are firm decisions to do or not to do something. Often when it comes to New Year's resolutions, we restrict ourselves from sugar, processed snacks and fatty foods. We make a firm decision to hit the gym 3-4 times a week and feel fully committed to doing so. But when we set these goals, we are in a different state of mind and don't take into consideration obstacles we might face.

During the holidays, we gather with our friends and family and surround ourselves with endless amount of comfort foods and sweets. For some, the holidays are the most stressful time of the year and we often don't make time to exercise. Once the holidays are over, we are in a state of guilt and we feel fully motivated to make positive changes to feel our best and avoid unhealthy patterns. When we think of resolutions, we often limit ourselves and focus on end goals - I want to lose 15 lb, I want to hit the gym 3-4 times a week, or I want to eat a salad with every dinner. Now don't get me wrong, setting concrete goals with a detail action plan is a great start, but sometimes it's not enough. What we need is to work on is changing our mental state and how we respond to challenges and obstacles. We need to set intentions. 

"Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought."[1] "An intention cannot be forced. It's a seed that you have to sow and then let reap on its own. You can't set an intention that you don't believe in. If it's done forcefully, the purpose of the intention is ruined."[2]

Here are a few sample intentions:

I intend every minute I work to be filled with fun, creativity, excitement, abundance, prosperity, joy, service and positive surprises.

I intend to be a courageous adventurer and risk taker—secure and confident about who I am.

I intend to be drawn to and crave the movement and food that my physical body needs to stay in shape, health and have the greatest overall positive impact on my physical, energetic, spiritual and mental bodies.

When we set personal and meaningful intentions (and rehearse them throughout the day, month and year), we begin to see the world differently. Our perspective changes and we allow to seek opportunities that are aligned with our intentions. For example, if you set an intention to be drawn to movement that your body and mind will benefit from, you will open your mind to different types of exercise routines and hopefully find something that you truly enjoy. If you want to travel and meet new people in the new year, your can set an intention to be more curious and adventurous, allowing yourself to challenge yourself in different ways, exposing you to different opportunities and ultimately making new connections and discovering new places. 

"When you set a clear and personally compelling intention you will tend to act in ways, respond to situations, create supportive opportunities, and make choices in harmony with your intention. Essentially, you will have a tendency to have the experience that you consciously determine is important to you." [3]

Setting intentions is the first step to manifesting and achieving your goals. Your mind is a powerful tool and if you can change the way you see and feel about healthy living and exercise, you will seek out more positive opportunities that are right for you. 

Keep thriving and inspiring!