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Self-Care Tip: Setting Intentions for the New Year

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Each new year, many of us set New Year’s Resolutions. We hope to make things different in the coming year. However, if you’re like most people, it’s a good idea, but it may leave you feeling like you’ve failed by the time February 1st rolls around.

It’s good to have goals in life, but there are a few reasons why resolutions don’t work for most people. The first is that many people struggle to know how to set proper resolutions and goals. So they choose something they want to do, but they don’t have a plan on how to accomplish it. This leads to failure to achieve the goal. The second is that we tend to view resolutions with an all or nothing mentality. That means the first time we blow our diet or miss a workout, we throw our resolution out the window completely. Resolutions are something that we either succeed or fail at. It’s black and white.

However, unlike resolutions, intentions focus less on goals and more on the journey which leads to certain outcomes. Think of it this way: Intentions focus more on internal power and long-term change, whereas resolutions focus more on external—and sometimes, short-lived—rewards.

Intentions are statements and declarations of what you both desire and consciously intend to be, learn, do, have, feel or experience in a coming period of time, like the coming year.

  • Your intentions should feel like a stretch compared to where you currently are on the subject

  • They should not feel like a big struggle

  • They should feel like a true gift you are giving to yourself, something you are excited about

Every time you find yourself falling into the trap of listing out things you don’t want to do, remember to “think the opposite.” Instead of saying you’re not going to live with fear, think “I intend to trust more freely this year.”

Once you have your list, come up with a short mantra incorporating some of the things you’ve written down. Instead of resolving to lose weight or work out a certain number of days, what you can say is, “I intend to practice self-care daily.” Your mantra can even be just one word—like patience, loyalty, love, or openness.

Lastly, keep your intentions short and manageable; aim for 3 or less!

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