What if we set an intention and not a resolution? Would it be easier to keep? We have all heard about how hard it is to keep a New Year’s Resolution.
“Most resolutions are broken before January 15th”
“Only 15% of New Year’s Resolutions make it to February 1st”
“Only 8% of resolutions stick.”
An intention is different than a goal because it feels like more of a mindset instead of a specific target. If my intention is to eat healthier, I may focus on what I need to remove from my diet instead of the restrictions around how I am going to eat. An intention gives me more room to move. Let’s say I am going to change my diet and I decide that the first step is to remove the bowl of ice cream after dinner for a week. That may be an easier step to take than saying that I can’t eat more than 2000 calories in a day.
For me the difference between an intention and a goal is internal vs. external. If I set an intention to eat better, there is going to be a lifestyle change around that. I am going to live that every day. I will be more likely to pass up the donut because I won’t be white-knuckling. I may not have that same self-control with the donut if I set a resolution to lose 15 pounds by April 1st so I can look good in a bathing suit on my cruise to Bermuda.
I have found that by setting the intention, I am also not going to be as hard on myself if I fail to hold up my end of the bargain. If I set a resolution to lose 10 pounds by the end of January and I get to the end of that month only down 6 pounds, I may feel like a failure. I may give up on the healthier lifestyle that I have been living for the past month. If I have set living a healthier lifestyle as my intention and I see myself down by 6 pounds in a month, I may double down on my health. I may continue to eat a healthy diet and even add another exercise to my weekly exercise program.
We all want to be better. There are spaces in all of our lives where we can improve. If we focus on living better in those places and not holding ourselves down to an arbitrary number, we have a much better chance to succeed. If we focus on a journey of continuous improvement, the adventure will be much more fun and we will be more likely to realize that improvement.