Why Intentions over Resolutions

 I’m sure you know by now, most new years resolutions fail by the 3rd week of January so “Resolutions” as they traditionally have been talked about, don’t work. In fact, only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, according to one commonly cited statistic. Resolutions can often leave us feeling inadequate and unfulfilled.  My point is not to discourage you around making improvements in your life, I want to encourage you to really know why those improvements are important to you before making them.

Yoga philosophy is based on the idea that you have everything you need to live your best, happiest life already inside you. Our work is to peel away anything that is getting in the way. Author Danielle Laporte, in her book The Desire Map, speaks to this similar topic. Are we making our goals based on what we think we should want, or are we making our goals based on how we really want to feel. She asserts that if we set goals around how we really want to feel, those intentions will become reality and not feel like “work” because those intentions are innate to us.

What is an intention?

We set intentions before every yoga practice so that our intention will follow us off the mat and into our world. Here are some thoughts about setting an intention:

1. Spend time in quiet reflection. Reflect on topics like, What do you want to do and why? What types of activities make you feel truly satisfied in life and how often do you do them? 

2. Declare your intention. Put your intention out to the universe so it can be returned to you! When you do that, try not to come from a place of “lacking”. Let your intention come from your true nature. For example, if you goal is to have more wealth, then instead of saying, “I’m going to stop spending so much money” maybe your intention would be “I feel a sense of abundance and security”

3. Once you have set your intention and declared it, figure out the “what”. The “what” is actually the small goals that support your intention. What do you need to actually do to make your intention reality? 

4. This is a big one! Put the “what” on your calendar! We live in a busy fast paced life. There are a lot of distractions that can compete for our attention. The activities that will support your intention should be scheduled. Give yourself time on your calendar to check in with your progress and make any adjustments that feel right to you!

5. Research shows that people who have actionable, measurable goals are more likely to succeed than those who don’t. How do you want to measure your success? And does the measurement of that success make you feel good?6. Most importantly, Be Patient! We often let go of our focus on our intention because it doesn’t happen fast enough. You are worth the work and wait. Don’t give up. There are obstacles everywhere and sometimes its the difficulty and discomfort with the process that is our true teacher. A wonderful quote by author Randy Pausch in The Last Lecture says, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” by Alicia Barrett