Resolutions versus Intentions
We find ourselves on the dawn of a new year and everyone asks, What's your New Year's Resolution, right? I, myself, am not a fan of setting resolutions, because they set you up for failure. Most websites that offer a definition of the word "resolution" seem to get their definition from Wikipedia, which is:
"A New Year's resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year's Day and remain until fulfilled or abandoned. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually"
That is depressing! nd, I don't think the intention of resolutions is to start the year off with a depressing thought but there it is. Resolutions "remain until fulfilled or abandoned."
According to staticticbrain.com citing from the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, 12.13.2013, "Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution is 8%."
And then the last part of the definition, " to reflect upon self-improvement annually." Isn't that flawed from its very definition? Why are we only reflecting on self-improvements once a year? What a waste of 364 other days!
Check out the following quotes; it is not a surprise to anyone that resolutions fail.
" A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other." ~Author Unknown
"The end of 2010 is drawing near A new year will arrive/Time to work on resolutions I made back in 2005."
"May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions.”
So why do we set resolutions? I think it is so people have an answer when someone else asks them what their resolution is! Let's be honest... if you are setting a resolution to lose weight starting (arbitrarily)January 1st because you are so concerned about your weight, why wouldn't you start being healthier the second you thought of the idea for your resolution? You had to know on December 28 you want to be healthier. You probably knew it after gorging on Thanksgiving Day and maybe you even had that thought on November 1st. So, what makes people wait and put themselves further down their own to- do list? Nothing magical happens on January 1st. In fact, the New Year has not always started on January 1; and it only begins on that date for cultures that have a 365-day solar calendar.
Let's look at the definition of "intention": In magic and affirmation, the focus of the mind, the sense of purpose that leads to action. An end or goal that is aimed at. An anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions.
Ellen Goodman wrote, "We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. "
I am thinking she might be on to something. When most people write their resolution, it is negatively stated..."I want to lose weight," "I will stop drinking," "I will stop smoking." The reflection of those statements shows us our flaws, for surely those comments reversed must mean, I am overweight, I drink too much alcohol, and I have bad unhealthy habits.
In a blog written by Leo Widrich posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 (look, it didn't even take him a week after last New Year's to write this), he states:
"50% of all Americans, for example, set themselves a new year’s resolution .
... according to the researcher Richard Wiseman, 88% of all those set resolutions from half of America and probably lots of other people in the world, fail. That’s 156 million failed resolutions and disappointed minds each and every year."
But, he actually goes on to explain why and here is where I believe our yoga practice comes in..." the key is to make any goal a habit first." He offers the following examples:
•Resolution: Quit smoking vs. Habit: Only stop smoking that 1 cigarette you have every morning after breakfast
•Resolution: Eat healthy food vs. Habit: Start substituting that 1 daily morning pastry for a banana
•Resolution: Lose Weight vs. Habit: Every evening after work, go for a 2-3 minute run or walk around the block.
•Resolution: Manage stress vs. Habit: Meditate for 2-3 minutes every morning after you wake up."
Notice how the resolutions are negative and VAGUE. In other classes, when referring to guides and spirits, I always remind students to ask specific questions. If I ask my guides or the Universe, what should I get done today? I will probably not come up with anything. I will keep wondering if what I see and hear are signs answering my question but I won't know which way to turn. Before Christmas, I misplaced a gift card I had bought for someone. Instead of vaguely asking the Universe where I had put it, I literally stood at the base of my stairs and asked if I should go up or down. (I did listen to my intuition, and found the card I had been searching for in a matter of minutes.) I think the suggestions leading to habit are so much wiser than blanket statements. If I say, I want to eat healthier, I may not have the knowledge to implement and I will grow frustrated and quit. If I say, I will replace one bagel with fruit once a week, then it becomes manageable.
"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." ~Hal Borland
Our task and our goal then must be to get clear with our intention, and we do this by centering, listening deeply, and becoming one with it." Larry Smith
See, in your mind's eye, everything and anything you would like to envision for 2014. ... possibilities being endless. And set your clear intention to turn possibilities into opportunities, one habit at a time.
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