resolution or intention?

Candlelit dinner and bubbly. Cheers!

Well, it’s that time.

The time to experience the expectations that come from an old year turning into a new one. The push for individuals to devise resolutions.

I can relate to the practice of welcoming in a new year. Besides my love for champagne and toasting to anything in life, the slide into winter with the promise of increasing sunshine creates a feeling of anticipation. The birth of Spring can be imagined not far off and we dream of its possibilities. At this moment, do you feel excited? Are you looking forward to the next layer of your life? Perhaps you are reflective, pausing to cheer or condemn your past self. It is also possible to resist the urge to think and to just sit in the moment. Or ignore it all together. All valid and applicable, where ever you may be in your life.

My preference is to tone down the impression of this calendar-driven event and to think of any day as an opportunity to take stock, make changes and increase satisfaction. Putting so much emphasis on a particular date can encourage superficial desire and invite disappointment. Although I find the definitions for resolution and intention interchangeable, the first word strikes me as definitive and somewhat militant. Perhaps a bit focused on stroking out what has happened with the wave of a new pen. Intention on the other hand seems future oriented somehow, with a new attitude and sense of daily purpose. An intention not only focuses on a task but it includes feeling and spirit. This impression of the word informs my path forward.

From my studies regarding habit forming and motivation, I draw upon a few themes daily that help me achieve what is meaningful to me:

  • What is the purpose of this intention? Am I personally connected to the result I wish to keep or change?
  • When I wish to change something in my life, the intention works best in the form of adding something, rather than trying to subtract.  (welcome in the light and the darkness will go away)
  • I create specific, manageable, short term goals with an end date and a strategy for accountability along the way.
  • Get support. Some intentions may present more challenges than others. Reach out and ask for help.
  • Check in often and encourage self compassion along the way. Acknowledge your ability to handle interruptions and challenges and give yourself a break!

A tough one for some folks is the concept of ‘doing less’. As a minimalist, decluttering is not just reducing physical objects but also emotional and mental barriers as well. Double check that the ‘busyness’ you are experiencing is working for you and positively fuels your objectives. Being full of joy and passion for what you are doing is preferable to losing valuable sleep and getting overwhelmed.

And resist the urge to ‘get somewhere’ in a great hurry. There are so many layers in life – reveal and create them one at a time. Although I knew, years ago, how I wanted to be in my life, it just wasn’t possible to get it all at once. Two years I spent back at school. It took another year to determine what path my careers would take. I wanted to say I had arrived, yet I needed to take the time to turn inward and heal. Now I have the strength to turn outward and engage more.  I have no idea what will cross my path a few years from now! But I anticipate that I will at least feel proud of myself for being mindful along the way. Hmm, that last sentence just inspired a deep breath. And that makes me smile 🙂

I would love to read your thoughts on the new year and intentions/resolutions!

Jo coach