It's a tale as old as time: The year comes to an end, and we look back to go over what we have done over the past 365 days. We identify things that we want to change in our lives to grow and become a better version of ourselves over the next year. We decide the course of action to make this change and label it as our New Year's Resolution.
The first week of the new year arrives, and with it, the pressure to achieve our resolution follows. We resolved to lose weight or stick to a healthy diet. So we join the gym, stock our fridge with healthy foods, and we get to work.
Time goes on, and eventually, we find ourselves going off course. Maybe your work schedule was a mess and you skipped two or three workouts one week, or you indulged in that second or third slice of pizza knowing you shouldn't have. The result? We feel guilty. We feel like we failed our resolution so early that we should just give up.
Resolutions have always come with an uncompromising sense of "all or nothing," which is why so many people end up feeling discouraged and give up on their resolutions just a few days, weeks, or months into the year. If we want to make a change successfully, we need to approach it with a more effective and forgiving strategy. So what is the ultimate method to avoid feeling New Year's resolution failure? Setting intentions.
Intentions are not resolutions. Intentions do not set the goal or fix the habit, but instead, they create the path. We get stuck in the pattern of our daily practices that are hard to break, but bringing a moment of mindfulness into just one of our daily actions gives us an easier way to move towards what we want. Choosing one intentional action a day can remedy overthinking all of our daily choices, dissolve our worry that unintentionally did something to cause us to fail, and place us on a better path to progress.
Ask yourself this:
What is one thing that I can do today (and not tomorrow) to move towards what I want and that creates a life in alignment with the things that I value?
Say you choose to do one thing a day that supports a healthier lifestyle. Now, you can choose what the one thing is that you will do. Maybe you go to that group fitness class. Maybe you ask for water instead of a soda. Don't judge the action or the immediate result of what you choose to do that day.
Now you can go out and complete it any way you see fit! You can go to that group fitness class or eat an apple. Just as mindfully as you set your intention, be mindful not to judge the action or the immediate result of the action you chose. The action you choose is whatever you can do on that day, knowing that tomorrow is a brand new chance to try again and create the next step in your path to success.