I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. I love the idea of a clean slate and getting myself set up for another year of organization and goal setting. The New Year is always filled with anticipation about what the following months will bring, and I can get caught up in the big plans I have for myself.
I kept a resolution ONCE. In my whole life, I was able to maintain one New Year’s resolution. It was when I started going to the gym. I was able to keep this one because rather than going to the gym solo and doing my own workout, I jumped right into classes and had a group of accountability partners from day one. This resolution turned into a habit, and I became a gym-goer and a much healthier person as a result.
Exercising daily made me feel better and healthier, and led into eating better and experimenting with new healthy foods. Feeling healthier led me to focus on my whole body, including my mental wellness. I started reading books on happiness and focusing on my mindset.
That one resolution actually led me down a path of personal development and self-discovery. I’m very grateful for that phone call my sister made to me that day in early January, exclaiming that she had joined the gym and wanted me to join with her. It took some convincing on her part because I was NOT a gym person (what constitutes a gym person anyway?? Whatever it is, I knew I didn’t have it) and there was no way I had any intentions on working out in front of people.
I now have a different mindset around the idea of resolutions. I have found that I much prefer treating every day like January 1, where I get to decide to be intentional each day. I don’t need to resolve every day that I will do x, y, and z; I just need to start each day being intentional about the kind of person I want to be and what I want to accomplish.
While resolutions tend to be all or nothing and focused on something we want to fix, intentions have a positive energy around them, and are more about things we want to create.
If I tell myself that I will be intentional about having more patience with my kids, it’s not the end of the world when I get upset and lose said patience. I can notice what caused me to be impatient, and just the act of noticing is being intentional and present in the moment. I am more likely to have an easier time of it as the days and weeks go on, because I’m deciding to notice my patience each day. I’m not resolving to be the mom that never loses her temper, I’m just being intentional about how I handle myself in those times.
This idea of intention has changed my life. I am not only more patient with my kids, but I am more caring toward and understanding of my husband, and I’ve learned to give myself more grace when I don’t reach all of my own expectations.
I’m also living a much healthier lifestyle. I don’t get upset with myself when I miss a day at the gym or eat too many sweets, because I focus on the creation of a healthier me. My intention is to live a healthier lifestyle by exercising and eating more of a plant-based diet. I have not sworn off junk food and meat, but I am creating healthier habits by experimenting in the kitchen with vegan recipes. I also have not declared myself a vegan, but am quite intentional about eating a LOT more vegetables and trying new foods I have always been too ignorant to try.
You can start every day with the intention that it will be a great one. If it ends up being just meh, there’s always tomorrow, and your intentions can remain unchanged.