As a life coach for women, the month of January always brings the conversation of New Years Intentions. I prefer the word intention to resolution for a few reasons: Intentions are more flexible and adaptable. Resolutions carry the pressure of performance and obligation. And, our culture is just too fixated on the usual suspects when it comes to resolutions: weight loss, exercising more, spending less money…. you know the ones you’ve likely had and failed at in the past too. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Only 8% succeed in reaching their goal by the end of the year.
KATU contacted me right before the new year to come to my office for an interview about how to be successful with resolutions. Don’t look for the link…I’m not sharing it. The piece turned into an older white male doctor (don’t get me started) talking about the science of habits and only two sentences from me about self-compassion practice as an important resource for changing habits or working towards a goal. Basically: start the year with acceptance rather than resolution and let your intentions come from loving rather than shaming yourself.
What I do want to share with you are the words of wisdom from my Nurture Life Coaching Facebook community when I asked what they feel helps with New Years Intentions. Here are a few:
“Resolutions for me that have failed were ones that other people have sort of imposed their values of the resolution onto me, for example, running every day.”
“I keep a list of the steps and cross them off along the way, celebrating each tiny inch toward my finish line. I find that if I don’t do the work to challenge limiting beliefs or old programming around the goal, that those can end up standing in my way.”
“I feel like winter is not the time for new beginnings. I want to hibernate and collect my resources, I want to dream about the seeds of change I want to plant in the spring. Winter is cold and slow so it is hard for me to slog through making big changes, of course I can start the little one’s that may have more to do with putting energy into specific relationships but any that require bigger moves in changing my routine such as working out or cleaning up my diet, I save for the Spring. Spring time brings a surge of energy that expands and grows so it is easier for me to ride that wave to change habits and routines that require more effort.”
” For me, making a resolution feels like a “should,” and when I don’t do it, it feels like “failing” myself, like letting myself down. You get all this energy to do a lot, and then over time, none of it sticks! Then, in I think 2011, there were some studies on will power and I actually felt better about myself. Turns out, most people don’t keep their resolutions/”promises” to themselves because it takes time to create a positive habit. After all the studies on will power, I began setting intentions for myself, instead, which are based on how I want to FEEL rather than how I want to look or be.”
Oh and if losing weight is your resolution this year, please read this important advise from body positive activists.