Forget About Resolutions. Do This Instead

Each New Year can feel like a new beginning. This man-made structure of the calendar, with its ritual ending of one year and beginning of another, serves most of us as a cue to take stock and reflect on the past 12 months…and think about what we want to manifest in the coming 12 months.

Many people make a New Year’s resolution – or multiple resolutions – at the beginning of each year. The expectation and potential of the new year combines with the reality that we came up short the previous year and propels us to think optimistically. “This year I will do it! This will be my year! This time I will stick to my diet / fitness program / new work habits / stop procrastinating / stop yelling at my kids” etc. etc.

Typically, these resolutions involve things we want to change about our lives in the coming year. Many folks start out strong. Unfortunately, as studies (and our own experience) have shown, most people drop their resolutions by about mid-February. In fact, it’s a truism in the fitness world that most gyms make their money on the people who sign up in late December or early January. The gyms are super crowded during the first four to six weeks of each new year, frustrating the regular gym-goers who now must compete with the newbies for the equipment or the spot in the group fitness class. However, by mid-February, the gyms are noticeably less crowded. Most of the newbies have stopped coming or come only occasionally. The regulars get back to their own routine and can snag the fitness class spot or piece of equipment they want with no problem.

If resolutions don’t work so well, what is a solution? What’s an alternative that works?

I encourage you to switch from making resolutions to setting intentions. An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the idea, the form of what you wish to create. Based on quantum physics, it is thought that each of our ideas or intentions broadcast out into the quantum realm of possibility, like the ripples or waves on the surface of the water that emanate out in all directions from the rock that you throw into the pond. Those waves of possibility move out to the future, charting a potential path for manifesting the reality of the intention into your life.

Some waves “bounce back” to us in the form of a material change in our lives. How successfully we manifest our intention depends on the strength of the wave we send out. The strength of the wave – whether a small ripple, a large surfing wave, or a tsunami – depends on two things: (1) How definite and clear our intention is – in other words, we have a clear, well-defined purpose or achievement or way of being; and (2) how much desire or emotion we have invested into that intention.

The wonderful thing about intentions is that they are not tied to the calendar. You may have an overall intention of getting into better shape, or feeling more energetic, or finally achieving a goal that has eluded you. And that’s great! Define it clearly AND allow the feeling associated with the intention to wash over you. Get enthusiastic about it. Feel as if you have already achieved it, or it has already come to you or happened to you. Bathe in that feeling and that vision regularly.

At the same time, set smaller intentions for each day that help support or feed into your larger intention. This is akin to setting “process” goals – or things you will do daily, weekly, or monthly, on a consistent basis – that help you accomplish your more substantial goals. When you link your bigger intentions to your daily activities, you keep that intention front and center. Each time you complete a task or smaller goal that supports a larger intention, you send out additional waves into the realm of possibility, further strengthening the probability that your intention will come true.

To have a momentous year, you don’t have to” set the world on fire”. You don’t need “massive action”. You simply need to go inside, take stock, consider what you really want – the thing or things with the most meaning to you – set the intention, and imbue it with feeling. Then set your supporting intentions and take the small, daily, consistent steps each day to help bring to fruition that which you wish to manifest in your life.

You Can Do It!