New Year’s resolutions are so 2010. Resolutions always seem concrete and finite, don’t they? Maybe a little stressful? What happens when you’re forced to do something that comes from a place of strictness or deprivation? As soon as the holidays wane, it’s all-too easy to ignore or skip over rigorous resolutions.
Starting to shift your mindset away from resolute wishes toward softer, more creative intentions is in everyone’s best interest. Intentional actions are born when you listen keenly to your own inner messages that help to regulate thoughts and emotions. Because intentions are not set in stone, they should shift, adapt and gently evolve over time. There’s no rule, after all, that says you can only set intentions once a year.
The Difference between Resolutions and Intentions
Intentions don’t force you to do anything, like a resolution might. Intentions consciously bring you back to what you really want, focusing on who you are and how to get there with focus and clarity. Try resetting resolutions into mindful intentions this year.
Here are two examples of the mindset shift:
Old resolution: I’m going to lose 10 pounds this year even if it kills me.
New intention: I’m going to feel slimmer and stronger by using tools like Fitbit and my new personal trainer.
Old resolution: I’m going to find my perfect romantic match within the next six months. I’m sick of being alone.
New intention: I’ll do everything in my power to become the loving, successful person I deserve to be. I will attract the same.
Dalai Lama and The Art of Happiness
Tibetan monk and leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama believes that all humans can consciously train for personal happiness every day by meditating, tapping into beauty and forgiveness, and “seeing all the light in the world.” In his classic The Art of Happiness, A Handbook for Living, his Holiness writes, “The root of all goodness in life is tending to the soil in your own garden of gratitude and appreciation.”
Using conscious daily affirmations, you’ll slowly learn how to override any negative autopilot responses that no longer serve you. Daily affirmations help motivate bigger intentions with consistency they will become habitual. Start with positive self-talk, and potentially journal your answers to absorb or sort through later:
° What do I appreciate about myself?
° In what ways does my body serve me?
° What personal accomplishments can I proud of?
° How can I tune into more beauty and love around me?
Deepak Chopra-certified meditation leader and author of Crystal Bliss, Devi Brown offers these intentions to experiment with:
What compliment can I give myself?
Feel free to give yourself one simple compliment every day when you wake up. It can be silly or fun or just truthful, and don’t be humble.
What act of kindness can I do for myself?
Without depriving yourself, consciously answer how you can serve yourself from being healthier to laughing more, to opening your heart to new possibilities.
What steps can I take to appreciate my life more?
Tapping into gratitude and acceptance brings you closer to your real self, says Brown. Mindful practices like yoga, tail chi and meditation help set the stage.
How would one of your best friends describe you?
And what intentions would they set for you? Your loved ones see you clearer than you may see yourself, and more often without harsh judgement. With eyes filled with self-compassion, can you see yourself clearly from their perspective?
Mindful Apps for a New Year
Meditation has been called the science of clarity and compassion, and there are dozens of apps to help you set intentions and improve well-being. Two more ways to tap deeper into your own spirit and well-being? Learn what kind of music instantly soothes you, and also practice journalling to express your innermost desires.
Freddie Moss, managing director of Myndstream, a brain-soothing music service, says, “Music can enhance your meditations and intentions in the same ways a nutritionist can support the chef.” With practice, wellness tools can help you achieve resilience and well-being into the new year, and beyond.
Apps to help you set wellness intentions:
* Some have subscription rates or small fees
Begin by writing down or finding appreciation for your thoughts, who you really are, always focusing on the positive, says Brown. Once you kickstart intentions for gratitude and abundance, other mind-body benefits will flow. You'll start avoiding burnout at work, improving sleep and your mood, soothing daily low-grade stressors and lowering your levels of inflammation.