Intention Over Resolution

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Intention: 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.

The change of a year represents many things: a fresh start, a do-over, a new era. For most of us, a new year means it’s time for a transformation, and for many people this is a therapeutic, cleansing time of year. However I bet we’re all also familiar with the weight of disappointment and failed expectations that hit us one, two, or sometimes three weeks later, when our habits have stayed firmly put and our resolutions haven’t been fulfilled...or even attempted.

The phrase “new year’s resolution” is firmly ingrained in our vocabulary, and I don’t know about you but I heard many a discussion about setting resolutions in the lead up to the new year. There is an abundance of content being thrown out there on TV and social media with ‘new year new me’ messages - convincing us to write a list of all the individual things than must magically axed from our lives at the beginning of the new year.

Louise Thompson, Life Coach, wrote, “our definition of resolution has become a communal byword for temporary intention,” making it ok for us to give up on our goals. This sort of rhetoric is damaging, and bad practice for our brains which become conditioned to quitting and forget how to be determined and diligent.

On new year’s day, while I was sipping on an Aperol Spritz at North Bondi Fish with my friend Caz, we discussed new year resolutions and how they’re destined for failure. They’re often about ‘fixing’ the things that we don’t like about ourselves. Focussing on the negatives can’t be the way to make change. We chatted about the idea of goal setting in a long-term and meaningful way - what psychologists refer to as setting ‘intentions.’

Unlike resolutions, setting intentions is all about attitude - if you truly want to change something in your life, then you will ensure that it happens. I love this idea I’m finding that it is helping me to be clear about what I intend to achieve this year. By focussing on my intentions, I’m focussed on steps I need to take to achieve my goals. I know that intention is just a word but the word is packed with a lot of meaning. If you find that resolutions are meant to be broken, then try switching your mindset to intention setting instead.

One of my 2019 intentions is to share more of the useful information and tools that I’m discovering in podcasts, books and through conversations. So this is one of the actions I’m taking to doing that. More sharing, more intention setting in 2019. Here’s to an exciting year ahead!