It is no surprise that over eighty percent of individuals who made New Year’s resolutions probably won’t make it past February. Most resolutions intend to improve people’s lives and make them happier, but many give up on their dreams prematurely. Many reasons explain the failure to keep them, but one comes to mind that could be the “make or break” of resolutions.
Whether you’ve consciously or unconsciously abandoned your resolutions after only a few weeks of trying, the good news is, you don’t have to wait until next January to make another attempt. March is the perfect time to give it another go, and this time try adding intentions.
Goal setting is excellent, but if you don’t equally focus on how you want to feel after reaching that goal, you’re potentially setting yourself up to fail here too. A goal describes what you want to do in the future. It focuses on external accomplishments and is something you can check off a list: “I went to the gym five times this week” or “I meditated three days in a row.” An intention describes how you want to feel. Its focus is internal, on your relationship with yourself: “I know I’ll feel great when I finish my routine.” or “I feel so grounded after I meditate.”
I’m French Canadian, and Christmas is a holiday that we celebrate with delectable foods, laughter, and board games. Thank goodness we finish the evening with sing-along songs and square dancing, which help us burn a few calories. I knew I wouldn’t feel good if I was going to eat all these fabulous foods. Before leaving for Canada, I set a goal to practice moderation and set some essential intentions for myself around that goal. I wanted to feel lighter in my heart than heaviness in my stomach. I wanted to feel the love of my family through big hugs rather than two dollops of my sister’s creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Did I enjoy those good foods? Of course, I did, but in moderation, because I focused on how I wanted to feel rather than the external temptations. My intentions brought me more satisfaction in completing my goal.
If you plan to set new goals this spring, consider balancing them. Intentions can be used as extra motivation at the beginning as you determine your impulses and drives to complete your goal.