New Years Resolutions or Intentions…

Posted by Karen in Life Coaching tips

Tips for staying on track with your intentions for 2012

January, the month of starting anew, the month that fills us with hope that we will do all the things we really want to do, that we have been postponing until the New Year, that we have been procrastinating over.

January, the month that – we believe – will make us act upon our resolutions. The hope to stop smoking, to lose weight, to finally start looking for a new job, take up a course, find a partner, take up meditation, do exercise… The list is endless and my hunch is, some of this will resonate with you. It certainly does with me.

The thing though is that it never quite works like that. It works for the first two weeks – that’s when we see pretty full yoga classes, more people in parks exercising, more people coming to meditation classes – and then we fall back into our old patterns.

It is true though that January, the beginning of the New Year, has an inspiring and fresh energy about it – a sense of opening up a new chapter, a clean sheet of paper, new beginnings. And there is certainly nothing wrong with tapping into that.

But why is it that our New Year resolutions are so short lived, that all the things we want to do so wholeheartedly, drop off our agenda so quickly?

I think we often have too many New Year resolutions on our list. I also think that our New Year resolutions are often unmanageable, that they are too big and hence overwhelming.

When we write them down, they always sound – of course – great and with all the enthusiasm, fresh wind and inspiration that come with the turning of the year, we truly believe that we will do it all. But then we often don’t – and that’s disappointing.

So what can we do differently in order to do the things we so want to do?

This is what has worked well for me over the past years:

Instead of New Year resolutions, I’m getting clear about my intentions for the next year.

For me having intentions feels lighter, more manageable, less like one-off actions and possible to come back to at any time. By that I mean that intentions have a sense of stretching over the year, of swinging with me throughout the year. Something I can remind myself of.  What’s more, I know that I can make intentions at any time of the year.

So here is what you can do right now, at the beginning of this coming year:

1: Go for a walk in your local park or create some comfortable and enjoyable me-time at home and reflect on your intentions for the year. What is it that you’d like to commit to this year? Check whether you can see yourself doing it, what it might be like when you are doing it.

2. Take your journal or a piece of paper and write them down. Make sure they come out as actions that feel manageable and that you can do and achieve over a period of time (ie not one-offs that will make it hard for you to come back to).

3. Rather than writing a list, make a mind map ie put My Intentions 2012 in the middle of an A4 or A3 sheet of paper and dot your intentions around it – use a different colour pen for each intention. You can add some bullet points to each intention, the things that you need to do, do differently or reminders to help you fulfill your intention(s).

4. Keep your intentions top of mind. Have your mind map of your 2012 intentions somewhere visible to remind you of them, ie on your desk, on your fridge, in your diary/i-phone or in the bathroom etc.

Here are some of my intentions for the next year are:

  • Going on two meditation retreats and perhaps one or two weekend retreats
  • Spending a holiday or some quality time with my close friend Barbara
  • Doing a Biodanza workshop at least every other month
  • Having my focusing practitioner training top of mind for practice group and written work
  • Making more time for my close friends and work less

Let’s keep in touch – I’ll let you know how I’m getting on, and I’d love to hear how you’re getting on too.

Warm wishes


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