Instead of making resolutions, let’s focus on intentions.

As I write this blog on Groundhog Day, I am wondering how many of you have already broken your New Year’s resolutions.  Similar to the movie “Groundhog Day”, are you still repeating the same thing each year…making resolutions, breaking them (usually within a few weeks or months), giving up on them, and then making the same or similar resolutions the next new year’s?  I have heard statistics say that approximately 90% of people fail to stick to their personal new year’s resolutions, and about 45% believe they will fail even before they begin the “resolution” journey. 

FYI – for you younger people “Groundhog Day” is considered a ‘classic” movie featuring Bill Murray and Andi MacDowell (30th anniversary this year)… go see it if you have never seen it…sorry, I mean stream it.

Several years ago I gave up on making New Year’s resolutions as I could never keep them (and then spent a lot of my time beating myself up and wallowing in self-pity…usually while eating everything unhealthy I could find in larger quantities than usual).  So, instead of focusing on specific goals (like losing x lbs, exercising x times a week, getting rid of carbs, cutting out sugar, stopping drinking, etc.), I now focus more on “intentions”.  Intentions are not about a specific goal, but more of a mindset. 

Diana Raab, a psychologist and author says “An intention is something you want to manifest in your life or some guiding principle that you want to live by,”  While resolutions are hard and fast goals you either achieve or break, intentions (to me) are more of an outlook on how you would like to live your life. You can have both personal and professional intentions (you may find that many times those intentions will overlap or complement each other).  Raab believes it is important to “commit to your intention,” and make them “a part of your everyday thinking.”

Switching the focus from a goal to a journey means there is a greater likelihood of success without the risk of failure…if you’re unsuccessful one day, you can say to yourself “I will do better next time” and you continue on without berating yourself or giving up on the quest.  

My overall intention is to do what I can to live my life to the fullest while being the best human I can be. 

This can be broken down into individual/ specific/bite-size intentions (not in any particular order)…. 

  • Be open to change
  • Be a better husband
  • Be a better boss
  • Have more patience with people
  • Run an honest and ethical business that people would be happy to work with and work for
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • See more of this magnificent planet we live on 
  • Give to those that are in need
  • Make the planet better
  • Live a healthier lifestyle while enjoying life
  • Be a better person and not be an A-hole

This list does not seem to change from year to year (it may get broken down differently each year), and as I get older, some take on greater importance, but they are all still part of my overall intention and something I am always working on.