Often people set New Year's resolutions to usher in changes for the upcoming year. The idea is to thoughtfully refresh our habits and commit to making powerful changes through these resolutions. As great as this sounds, resolutions have a way of fading to the background a few days, weeks, or months into the new year. 

What Goes Wrong With New Year's Resolutions?

Resolutions can fail if you:

  • Try to tackle too many problems.

  • Omit the specific steps required to achieve them

  • Have no objectivity

  • Lack of a way to measure progress or accountability. 

If you've ever struggled to stick with your New Year's resolutions, try setting intentions instead. 

Intentions vs. Resolutions

An intention may seem like a resolution in a different package, but there's a key difference -- the force that accompanies an intention is much stronger than that of a resolution. 

In his book "The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way," Wayne Dyer defines an intention as "a strong purpose or aim, accompanied by a determination to produce the desired result." 

Resolutions also tend to focus on the result, which is typically a desire to fix a problem or not do something. In contrast, intentions describe smaller goals and focus on how you want to live each day. You end up embracing rather than fixing something about yourself.

For example, if you intend to accept whatever happens in your life (a "go with the flow" mentality), you could end up feeling more cheerful. This positive attitude could become evident to your friends, family, and coworkers, allowing your relationships to improve. You might even encounter opportunities in your career by maintaining a more positive outlook.

The idea is to let an intention become part of who you are to influence every action you take. It will feel foreign at first, so plan to practice your intention every day. Mantras, meditation, mindfulness, and positive affirmations can keep your intention at the forefront until it becomes a habit.

Select a "Word of the Year"

Try to express your intention for the upcoming year in a single word. Think of it as the year's theme or the "word of the year." Some possibilities include courage, moderation, balance, acceptance, truth, grace, or creativity. 

To help you choose a word, think about how you'd like to feel one year from now. Don't hesitate to crack open a thesaurus to find the precise word that matches how you want to feel about yourself and your life. 

Reflect on Your Past Accomplishments

If you need a little inspiration to discover an intention for the year, start by reflecting on your accomplishments last year. What are you proud of? If a magazine were to list your "Greatest Moments of 2021," what would it include? 

Think about the characteristics and strengths that helped you overcome challenges. By focusing on what you've already done well, you can more easily maintain enthusiasm and a positive attitude toward your plans for 2022.

Pat yourself on the back for last year's achievements and approach the intention exercise with confidence. Use the strengths and achievements you identified as a starting point. For example, maybe you took the first step in reducing your alcohol intake last year and would like to build on that progress. You could choose moderation or balance as an intention.

Confidant Can Help You Brainstorm

Sometimes it's much easier to come up with ideas or remember past achievements by talking to someone. Don't forget that your Confidant team is always there for you!