Intentions, Resolutions, Oh My…

I love goal setting. I love new starts. Almost every Sunday, for as long as I can remember, I would say “this is going to be a new week, and this week I am going to get my act together.” Most weeks, I’d say it with excitement. The new week meant that it was an opportunity to get it right; often times, it meant a new diet.

January 1st was my “Monday” on steroids. Every year was going to be the year that I was going to be leaner or thinner. It is wild and sad to think of how many years, the only real improvement I wanted to make had to do with the dumb scale. Some years, I became faster, smarter, leaner, and a better person. Some years, I tried to improve, only to find myself quitting my new diet by the second week of January. Every year that I set a hard and fast resolution for myself and failed by Jan 15th, I would find myself disappointed and ready to quit. I had 350 days to screw around, and I could try again the next year. However, deep down, I would be frustrated and discouraged, and I would wonder WHY I couldn’t just stick with whatever that dumb resolution was.

A couple of years ago, I quit doing New Year’s Resolutions. I actually quit giving stuff up for Lent too. The disappointment I felt every year that I “failed” was far too great to do again and again. This year, I have been reading about Intentions instead of Resolutions, and I think I like the idea of being intentional.

Intention – an aim or a plan

Resolution – a firm decision to do or not to do something

I think the FIRM decision was my problem. I would rather AIM to be better and push through for 365 days, then to stick to a FIRM decision, fail with the firm rule, give up after 15 days, and not improve for the next 350 days. One gives us more latitude than the other. For me, one was a sure recipe for failure, and the other meant I could mess up, try again, improve slowly, and potentially be a better me by the end of the year. I also figured out that there was more to me than the number on a scale. I could improve other aspects of my life. At the end of any given year, I may not be 10 pounds lighter, but maybe I could be smarter, stronger, kinder, more gracious, more generous, and a better human.

Instead of focusing on “losing weight” or “sticking to a diet plan,” I am going to continue to focus on my values. I am also going to stick my middle finger up to the diet resolutions that were such a big part of my life.

This year, my intentions include quality family time, reading, learning, supporting my community, and implementing various types of physical activity. These intentions are going great nine days into the year.

The intentions that could use more attention are going to church, meditating, writing more, and creating adventure & fun. Since I haven’t gone to church, meditated, or gone on an adventure this year, I would be a failure if these were resolutions. I have already missed today’s arbitrary deadline on this blog post, but I am not just blowing it off for the week; I am creating the blog, and I will publish it – even if it is late. Since these are my intentions, I can try, try again. I can also be late, and I can show myself some grace.

As much as I like the idea of goals and goal setting, I LOVE the idea of incremental improvements because I am focusing on my core values. If you are out there, and you already screwed up that dumb resolution, consider stopping for a minute, asking yourself WHY you chose THAT particular resolution, and then create a plan to help you get to that WHY. Find a plan that isn’t boxed into a hard, firm decision. Maybe over the course of the year, progress, despite the imperfections, will get you closer to that goal than if you had tried to be so strict and so hard on yourself.

(Now, if resolutions are working for you, PLEASE stick with them!!! The goal is that we all find what works for each of us. I am simply sharing another way of thinking for those people who are like me and struggle with those annual resolutions.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! May you have a year that is filled with laughter, love, failures, progress, success, and happiness.

Our New Year’s Eve Celebration included family, friends, food, football.

Published by mondaymorningwithmona

I am a Texan, runner, military spouse, reader, a giver and a good friend.

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