Scrap Your New Year’s Resolutions and Do This Instead

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

No more New Year's resolutions

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I blog about this each year at this time. I don’t set resolutions because they put me in a mindset of struggle and hardship and they rarely work. At the Intentions Event that I’ve been leading in Silicon Valley for 16 years, we do an inspiring process as an alternative to resolutions, and it gets great results. Here it is:

1. Decide on a Theme

  • Your theme is your focus for the year. It can be anything from business growth to personal rejuvenation to smart financial decision-making to being known for a special talent that you want to demonstrate or that you’d like to acquire.
  • Themes sound like this: “This is the year of… “ or “This is the year for…” You can also use a more personalized statement, such as: “This is my year for…” Here are a few examples: This is my year for “…going where I’ve never gone before.” “…being deliberate.” “…being smart about money.” “…adding joy to my everyday life.” “…taking center stage.” “…family and fun.” “…getting my life in order.” “…making a difference in my community.” “…moving up in my career.” “…taking the stress out of life.”
  • Test out several themes before you decide. Then commit to one, or possibly two if one is personal and one is professional. Your mental energy is best directed when you keep it simple.
  • Write your theme down and post it where you will see it regularly.

2. Come Up with a Few Intentions

  • Intentions are your aims for the year and the realization of one or more visions of the future that you have for yourself. They are both aspirational and inspirational — aspirational in that they’re clear statements of what you’re moving toward, and inspirational in that when you read them your energy level raises significantly.
  • Ask yourself the question, “What do I intend for myself this year?” This is akin to the more familiar, “What are my goals?” I recommend using the word intentions rather than goals because for many the word goals can imply struggle. Keep in mind that there should be an ease associated with your actions, and not the feeling of struggle as you claw your way to where you’re headed, which is often the feeling associated with “achieving” goals.
  • Choose no more than 3 to 4 intentions for the year. As you create them, you can start with the statement, “In 2015 I’ll have….” and write in the result you’re intending for yourself. Here are a few sample intentions: In 2015 I will have “…reached my income goal.” “…launched my new business venture.” “…gotten the promotion I’m after.” “…taken the career leap I’ve been thinking about.”
  • It might seem like one or more of your intentions isn’t directly related to your theme. For example, if your theme for the year is “adding joy to my everyday life,” and one of your intentions is “I reach my income goal,” the connection may not be apparent. But if in the past you’ve worked day and night to achieve an income level, leaving everyone and everything that matters to you in 2nd, 3rd or 4th place and joyless as a result, then this year, as you strive to reach your income goal, you could approach it with the intention of enjoying every aspect of it vs. having it bog you down. When you approach it this way, that would be adding joy to your everyday life – consistent with your theme.
  • Write your intentions down and read them regularly. Post them where you can see them often, tell people, and then watch how fast you take directed action to make them happen.

Question: What’s your theme for 2016? What intentions are you setting? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/kotoffei

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