Mainstream Living

Resolutions vs Intentions

New Year’s Resolutions often present a challenge. Even if one begins the year with a hopeful and positive attitude, many of us find our enthusiasm dwindles after a couple months.  The pressure of forcing these once exciting items into a schedule can feel frustrating, pointless, and burdensome. The reason we make resolutions is to make ourselves into better people, which can lead to long lists.  The end result is that people often end up feeling completely overwhelmed at the thought of having to change them all at once. And although self-improvement goals seem simple, they sometimes don’t fit into our regular lifestyle.  For example, a resolution to regularly attend a yoga class is different from just wearing yoga pants.

As noted by the Spiritual Gangster, instead of setting resolutions that can easily come and go, try setting intentions that will help you live as the best version of yourself every single day. The act of setting intentions helps to focus your mind, prioritize what's most important and start making transformations from within.

Resolutions = firm decisions to do or not to do something; focusing on achievement and doing
Intentions = gentle reminders to get back on track; focusing on a way of being

Not sure how to get started?  Here are a few ideas from Well Plated by Erin:

  • Put my phone away during meals with others. 
  • Ask follow-up questions during conversations with friends instead of jumping right in with my own thoughts and opinions.
  • Respond to text messages in hours instead of days.


  • Focus on how lucky I am to have a warm home and coat instead of how cold it is outside.
  • Pause to say a mental “thank you!” before all meals, including breakfast.
  • Leave three negative things a day unsaid.
  • Send an email or even a Facebook message to someone who made a positive impact in my life.

Let’s feel good about being intentional in 2019.  Instead of writing a stiff list of to-dos, create a list of the values and characteristics that you want to characterize your year.  Cheers to the new year!

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