These have always been a bit of a personal bugbear. As kids our dad would insist we made our 10 resolutions on New Year’s Day, and it felt like such a task, sat there with a blank piece of paper knowing I had to come up with 10 things I’d really struggle to keep to. I’ll stop upsetting my brother, I’d stop biting my nails, I’d help out more around the house. I would learn to loath this piece of paper, and every year without fail it reminded me of how I’d not managed to keep to anything, usually by the end of the first week in January. Eventually I made the only resolution that I’ve managed to keep – I wouldn’t make any more resolutions.
But the New Year is an opportunity – a chance for us to review where we are, what we are struggling with, where we need help, where we need to focus. Rather than make resolutions (I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to quit smoking, I’m going running once a week…) that we are always destined to fail, why not make intentions?
An intention is less fixed and driven than a resolution, and can be more flexible. There is more room for positivity as well. Maybe you’re thinking ‘I’d like to travel more this year, I’d like to undertake a long-distance walking challenge, I’d like to read more’. Maybe there is something you feel you’d get a positive benefit from? That could range from ‘I’d like to try and write a short story’ or ‘I’d like to spend less time on my phone or on social media’?
A good place to begin is look at what you feel is missing from your life. Write a list of what you’d like more of, and don’t overthink it. It really doesn’t matter what you write down – just go with the flow, have fun with it, and take breaks from it when you need to – often stopping thinking about something allows our subconscious to process, Maybe you’d like more time with friends, or to see family more. Maybe you’d like to exercise more, or sleep better. Maybe you want to dance the funky chicken. Maybe you’d like to learn something new – a new skill or language, but be curious to what appeals, to differentiating between your wants and your needs – I need to tidy up more is very different to I want to read more. Lose the needs, they’ll only get in the way of what you want.
Then think about the categories that are important to you, and see those trends in the list you’ve made of what you’d like more of. Maybe you’ve got social, personal, travel, financial, fitness and learning ideas? If so identify which of your list fits into which area, and identify the items on the list that give you the most benefit – going walking in France with a friend would be social, personal and fitness, (and potentially learning) orientated. Those items on the list that fall into the most areas of benefit are the key to how you can best achieve what it is you really need.
Finally, having identified the key areas you’ve created your list of intentions for the year, the intentions that are best suited to where you’d most like to improve your life. Write these out, and put the list somewhere where you will see it and read it. Simply having this idea in your head, knowing they exist, and keeping them on your radar will help them to happen – yes, you need to take action, but the first step to achieving is wanting.