As you approach the end of the year it’s a natural time to reflect.
A time to evaluate your life, relationships, career, education. A time to look at the goals you made and kept this year, and those goals you didn’t quite reach.
The concept of New Year’s resolutions dates back to medieval times when people would use the winter religious holidays to recommit to their faith.
In our current day and age, around 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. Typically things like “Quit smoking” “Lose Weight” “Work Out More” “Save Money”. Sound familiar? Have you made one of these resolutions in the past? I know I have! How long did your resolution last?
Research shows that only 8% of people actually succeed at their resolutions.
Not great statistics for success.
So why do we keep setting ourselves up for New Year's resolution failures?
I want to encourage you this year to take a different approach.
Yes… I said it…blow off those New Year’s Resolutions!
Instead, I want to challenge you to create intentions to live by for 2016.
Isn’t that the same thing, you ask?
Well, no, it’s not. Let me explain.
Most people choose a large broad resolution that feels unattainable, is difficult to implement and means creating radical changes in your life. If you want to go from a sedentary inactive life to working out five days a week in the gym, you’re going to have to shift gears pretty fast. It’s also going to be difficult to maintain.
You’re creating an expectation that you will go five days a week and there is no flexibility for weeks that you’re busy at work, get a cold and are wiped out physically, or have family obligations taking priority of your extra time.
Once you feel you’ve let down your expectation, why continue. You feel like you failed.
Shifting your thoughts to seeing your goals as a possibility that you will reach helps you create an intention.
When a goal is a possibility it’s easier to get back into the routine if life gets in the way of you meeting your goal for a day or a week. When you don’t complete a task that’s only a possibility you’re still able to maintain a positive attitude, restart again tomorrow or next week at working toward your goal, and there isn’t the sense of failure around skipping a day or two.
Say you really want to travel internationally in 2016, but recognize that you don't have the vacation leave or money to do so. Instead of setting a resolution of traveling (which requires money and time that may not happen), set an intention to be open to travel.
You can join a Meet-Up group that travels on weekend trips throughout California, seek out new friends that share your passion for travel, or look into opportunities for freebies or extra income that involves travel. By setting an intention to be open to more travel experiences it's shifting your mindset.
This year, create an intention around a small and meaningful activity that you would like to incorporate into your life. Find ways that naturally fit into your life that help better you and get you to your goals.
I’d love to hear what your intentions are for the New Year! Share with me here or send an email to email@example.com
Adriana Joyner, LMFT is a Sacramento Area therapist specializing in counseling for people healing from trauma and abuse, and gender support for those within the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.