It’s New Year time again.
I love the energy and optimism of this time of year. We’re so hopeful for the future, we’re determined to improve things, to live better, to be better, to finally do those things we’ve been saying we will do.
It’s the perfect time to resolve to actually make it happen this year.
New Year Resolutions don’t have a great success rate.
Instead of an inspiring opportunity to harness the wonderful New Year energy, they’re more often associated with forced denial, failed attempts and fractured self-esteem.
But I don’t believe the New Year resolve is to blame for the high incidence of abandoned hopes and dreams. I believe there’s another culprit that can be an insidious saboteur of the human spirit:
The All-Or-Nothing mindset.
When our New Year Resolutions fail, often it’s not because we’re weak-willed, or ‘just not meant to do it’, but simply because we’re humans, not machines – when making powerful changes, it may take many, many attempts and re-attempts before these new practices become established.
What would happen to our success rate, if we removed the pressure to enforce our New Year changes without fail every day, from January 1st?
What if we accepted that it may take time to adjust to these changes, it may take weeks, perhaps months for new habits to form?
After all, humans have limited supplies of will-power, we have finite reserves of discipline. There’s only so much force and steely-willed determination we can summon before we become exhausted, disillusioned or unpleasant to be around.
Is this really the best way to craft our dream life?
If our New Year changes are meant to increase our success and happiness, how does being miserable and set up for failure support that goal?
And isn’t the quality of life en route to our goals just as precious and important as the (fleeting) moments at the Finish Line?
Whilst it’s true that 100% commitment can work brilliantly for some, (at least for a while), for the rest of us, there’s a more spirit-friendly alternative to the strait-jacket of All-or-Nothing Resolutions…
The Power of Intention.
Intention is powerful.
Intention is a fuel that will never run out. No matter how many times we may lose our way, if we hold fast to our intention to get to where we want to be, the odds are good that we will get there. Eventually.
There may be detours, but if our intention is strong, we will soon recover our path.
There may be failures, but if we ditch the pesky and unhelpful All-Or-Nothing Mindset, we’ll find it so much easier to simply try again.
Intentions don’t require deadlines; they allow you time to just begin playing with these ideas, they allow you space to gradually incorporate these changes into your life.
Intentions are lighter and less demanding than the Must Do mentality, meaning you’re far more likely to shrug off any slips or blips and have another go.
So if a day or two or more goes by, and you’ve missed or forgotten your new practices – your intention is still there, as strong as ever, ready to shore up your resolve.
You can tap back into your intention, revisit your reasons for making these changes, and begin again.
This approach to creating anything will carry you much further toward your vision than any number of failed All-or-Nothing attempts.
New Year ‘Intentions’ are undoubtedly a less dramatic, less aggressive route to ‘getting results’, but for many of us, they can be so much more enjoyable, not to mention easier to stick with. And when the journey is easy and fun, that way success lies.
So this New Year, instead of giving up on resolutions altogether, perhaps try the gentler, subtler tactic of The All Year Resolution.
Simply intend to create the fabulous New You that’s calling you.
No unrealistic deadlines. No forcing of will. Just an intention to devote this new year to working towards your vision.
And when you’re not chasing a fixed result by fixed time, there’s no failure. You’re just making changes, gathering feedback, adjusting and re-adjusting.
Less urgency = Less stress. (A significant health bonus even before you start.)
Even if it takes all year, you’ll still be closer to your vision than if you go all-out for a few miserable weeks in January, then abandon it for another year – or even worse, never attempt those life-enhancing changes at all.
And imagine how lovely life could be this time next year, if you make your resolutions an all-year focus.
So this year, why not play with the idea of The All-Year Resolution. It’s a kinder, more sustainable route to the improvement, success and happiness that you’d love to create in the year ahead.
As an added incentive, the more your reaffirm your intention to do something, the more you’ll find it ‘mysteriously’ popping into your head, or occurring at the perfect place or time. (This is the muse’s handiwork. 😉 )
It becomes ever-easier to live and act in line with your intended goals.
So I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the promise and potential of a fresh and sparkling New Year, with a yearlong intention to make the most of it.
No struggle. No force. Just a resolve to evolve.
Allow the phenomenal power of intention to fuel your hopes and dreams, and make this new year the magical success it’s waiting to be.
Wishing you health, wealth, peace and joy – in the New Year and beyond,