Sign saying "Intention"

Giving Up on New Year Resolutions

At the dawn of the New Year millions of people talk about their New Year Resolutions or their lack of Resolutions. And the blog posts describing how best to succeed at keeping your New Year Resolutions beyond January 15 or what applications, tools, groups can help you keep your New Year Resolutions pop up. Well, this is about giving up on New Year Resolutions.

A few years ago, I discovered a great alternative to the New Year Resolution. I didn’t start with a list of goals (measurable and specific) or resolutions (ideas of how to change one’s life). Instead identify my guiding intention for the year. I don’t need New Year Resolutions anymore – I had a New Year Intention.

Sign saying "Intention"

What will be your New Year Intention?

Background
A few years ago I spent the week between Christmas and New Year Day settling into my new home; I was thinking about and relishing the simple joys of my life. The time between making a life-changing decision that Fall and the end of the year had been filled with embracing joy. It occurred to me that for the New Year I was going to embrace this Joy – and seek it in all that I could. I had found a solution to the New Year Resolutions conundrum.

4 easy steps for a New Year’s Intention
In the last few years my New Year’s Intention have been Joy, Possibilities, Focus, and Intention*.  Admittedly, there were some years that were more successful in keeping with the spirit of these words than others. But in general, here is how I used my New Year’s Intention:

  1. Identify a word that best captures the essence of my goals and how I want to live the upcoming year.
  2. Like in sailing or driving, you have to constantly correct while moving forward. By having a word that represents where I want to be, I can always tack back toward that word throughout the year.
  3. When in doubt about what to do, I ask which action guides me in the direction of my New Year’s Intention.
  4. Enjoy the moments – those when I accomplish goals or am living a life that fulfills the essence of my guiding intention for the year!

I love having a New Year’s Intention to orient back to throughout the year. When I was too shy or tired to participate in events, I asked myself if I was being open to Possibilities. If not, then I needed to go and participate. When I tried a new activity I was afraid I wouldn’t enjoy, I shifted my focus to finding the Joy in it – and embracing that part of the experience.

My New Year’s Intention for 2014 is Building – and I can’t wait! If you choose to set one for yourself, let me know. I’d love to hear about it!

And Happy New Year!

– NJ
* Excuse the redundancy; I wanted to call the New Year’s Intention something that captured its weight more than “New Year’s Word”.
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