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Intentions Rather Than Resolutions

Adults 50+

Middle-aged Adults

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By Elaine Guerrazzi | January 6, 2020

Would it surprise you to know that the idea of New Year’s Resolutions is over 4000 years old?  Pruitt (2015; republished 2018) as a History Channel Stories feature outlines the history of the practice of making resolutions. Today “most people make resolutions only to themselves and focus purely on self-improvement (which may explain why such resolutions seem so hard to follow through on).” Prossack (2018) supports Pruitt by stating “that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.” 

The first of a new year is one of the more common temporal landmarks.  Research backs the motivating power of what are called “temporal landmarks” — certain dates that naturally inspire us to turn over a new leaf.  In a blog I published last month I mentioned that “I am not a person to make New Year’s resolutions, but I often take time to think about how I can be a better me.” My year in review blog I lay out a plan for 2020.  Each year rather than setting virtuous goals by creating a list of New Year’s resolutions, I focus on how my actions bring to life my intentions to “be a better me.”

Dr. Bill Scheu, a friend, and my chiropractor shares my viewpoint  of a holistic perspective on health and wellbeing.  He is a 3rd generation chiropractor with a focus on restoring and maintaining client health.  A wellness approach is the foundation to his practice.   He and his staff provide a personalized plan extending to massage, diet/nutrition, exercise, and injury prevention and recovery.  Our thoughts on the expectations of a “new” year align.  With permission from his office, I share a portion of the New Tampa Chiropractic January newsletter with you.  

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet.”
Anne Frank

January is always an exciting time.  It’s the start of a new year; it’s like each of us has a chance to renew our commitments to what’s working in our life and a chance to let go of what is not. Here is a “different” approach to think about as you build momentum for the new year.  Rather than make a “resolution”–think about setting an “intention”. 

Resolutions focus more on the outcome, not the journey. These tend to be a specific goal that is firm and fixed and this creates thoughts that “we aren’t good enough” the way we are and if the goal is not reached that we have “failed”.  Intentions suggest that we look deep inside, to become a better version of “ourselves”.  When an intention is set it is based on the premise that “we ARE good enough” the way we are.  It is more about an attitude; it is more fluid and is more about the journey than the outcome.  An intention is something to practice; it’s an ever-renewing process.  When we set an intention instead of a resolution, we can stop thinking about wanting something we do not have, and start moving toward what we want to achieve.

An article from Nutritious Life explains How to Set an Intention.

Make a statement that relates to your purpose and HOW you can bring about change. Instead of saying “I want to lose ten pounds,” how about “I will treat my body with respect because I am worth it.”

Once you have your statement, support it with realistic action steps you can commit to such as: 

**I will schedule exercise each week, adding more time to my workouts each month.  
**I will add one healthy food to each meal.  
**I will ask myself if I am truly hungry before I take another bite. 

See the difference?

Also, if your intention is something less “measurable” like more focus, ease, happiness, etc. pay attention to how you can incorporate these things into your day.  Then do something each day to demonstrate your commitment to your intention.

To me, New Year’s resolutions are goals we think we “should” achieve while intentions are goals, we want to achieve.  Intentions set the direction for the upcoming year.  My intentions create my plan and the desired result I wish to achieve is my goal.

Below are a few of my intentions (no particular order) for this year.

**Move often and with purpose
**Take care of myself and others
**Be kind to myself and others
**Make healthy choices
**Do things that make me happy
**Drink more water
**Be good to people
**Laugh often
**Be creative
**Spend time with friends/family
**Read more
**Believe in myself

What are your Intentions???

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