Why A New Years Resolution is the Wrong Way to Start the Year

I used to jump on the resolution bandwagon, making January 1st the time to set new goals. But each year, as my goals failed to materialize, I would enter spring frustrated and disappointed in myself.

To lose 10 lbs, to take on a new challenge, to make a drastic change in our life, all of these ended up piling up as failures for the year.

So I stopped.

I stopped making resolutions and difficult-to-achieve goals that wouldn’t pivot and adjust to changes I experienced, and I started choosing an intention instead.

Setting an “intention” for the year is focussing on one key word that will capture every aspect of your life, from work to play, to hobbies and lifestyle.   It is not setting hard numbers, or specific items that you MUST achieve, but setting a feeling that should follow you through your days and help remind you of your focus for the year.

An intention to be more courageous with things that come your way, or to simplify things in your life that are more difficult than they need to be.  An intention to learn, whatever you can, whenever the opportunity arises.

Setting intentions allows us to enter the year feeling powerful and in control. It helps us face our weaknesses (and demons) and acknowledge that they are there and that over time, with consistent effort, we may be able to overcome them.

We can not fail with intentions, as they are feelings not achievements that need to be ticked off on a card.  They are a mindset that we adopt to remind us what we value most this year.

So, as you get your feet comfortable in 2016, spend some time thinking about what word you can set as an intention that will help you define how you want to move forward as the days unroll. Find a word that works both in your career and work, as well as your life, because valuing each of these will ensure that one does not become a burden to the other.

And then remind yourself each morning in January what your “intention” is, and go about your day allowing it to seep into each activity you perform.  Eventually, as February rolls around your intention will have become part of who you are, and positively effect everything you do.

So, what is YOUR intuition for 2016?  Share below in the comments, and inspire others.

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Comments (12)

  • This sentiment is one that I can get on board with. Most resolutions end up being self-centered in nature anyway! Practicing conscious generosity, gratitude, and kindness (toward others and myself) definitely top my list of “intentions” to work on this upcoming year.

  • I love this outlook Julie. I completely agree with you, setting resolutions to me feels like setting ourselves up for failure. Why do we suddenly think that because the clock has struck midnight and its a new year that all of the sudden, all of the challenges we were not able to accomplish all year, all of the sudden become more attainable. But an intention, that can be made up of several steps and is more like a roadmap than a promise. Thanks for sharing this!

  • I totally agree with you, Julie. My husband asked if I had any resolutions this year, and I replied, “Nope.” He thought that was hilarious, but I was jokingly serious. I have goals I want to achieve this year, and a few personal tweaks I like to make.. but I’m not going to set myself up for the pressure of checking things of an overreaching to-do list, which is what my past resolutions ALWAYS turned out to be. Great post!

  • Resolutions are here to be broken. Better, make a simple, basic plan and stick to it no matter what

  • Resolutions never work with me that’s why I decided not to make them anymore. If you really want to accomplish something, you will if you put your mind to it! 🙂

  • I have never really made resolutions. I’ve always felt like the odd duck out, in high school we always seemed to have a teacher who made it an assignment for us to make a resolution, I really disliked that assignment the most out of everything. I rather just go about as normal and as things come up I will evaluate them and make changes as needed.

  • Love this! Focus on the big picture of how you want your days to be instead of the micro goals!

  • Agreed! Why have end points to our journey- is should be a path to discovery!

  • Thanks for reading Kelsi! And me as well, I focus on a theme and find success in multiple areas of my life, vs just one resolution!

  • Ugh. yes I wouldn’t like that assignment either. good for you for “going your own way”

  • Agreed! And keep it in your focus for a long duration!

  • My new year resolution is always the same. To focus more on family, making more memories, increasing the “fun” in the day to day, trying to cook more healthier and be more active physically and more active in my family’s lives. And so far, for the last 2 or 3 years that I’ve made this same resolution, I’ve seenever that I am more happier and it is something I can achieve. It is broad enough, but simple enough. We definitely go all out on trying to make everyday fun with new activities or games, we dance and sing to music, we have family movie nights at least 2x a week that involves cuddling together and snacks. We also have game nights, day trips, just driving in the country listening to music and singing. We take lots of pics, keep up with local events and have been spending more “quality” time together each year. I have been cooking more and am more adventurous in trying new recipes and bake more with and withoutthe kids. We have embraced Pinterest and DIY books and do crafts and projects often. I feel our family fun is at an all time high, even without expensive toys and major vacations because we try to focus on quality time and make each day special in its own way. Yes some days we are lazy and just do the bare minimum but on those days we try to still do at least one fun thing. Whether it’s letting the kids pick a movie that night or treating them to candy after dinner, telling jokes or stories, something little with less energy output. But I do believe that I could put more effort into my resolutions and start exercising more, but I know myself, and I would burnout fast if I didn’t put it more into a more fun resolution. Last year we were very active with hikes, and walking the beach and beach towns with family. We drive to a beach about an hour way almost 1-2 times per month when it’s somewhat nicer out or not freezing. We also go there to play on the Big playgrounds. There’s is a lot nicer. And we get out and play too, like our kids. This way we are active and we do get exercise but it’s more fun than the Adult version of going to a gym like a torture chamber Lol. Or we walk to the playgrounds by our house and play. And if we get fast food sometimes if it is nice, we walk there with the kids, our youngest in strollers, and walk back so it’s being worked off.
    My type of resolution though is a no fail. Even if you are doing 1 fun thing a month, that’s 12 fun things you’ve done. Or add in the holidays and doing crafts, that’s at least 6 or more fun activities, plus during the spring and summer when you are more active, you’re getting exercise and making memories. Just don’t forget to take pics.

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