The first of the year comes a little too quick after the holiday chaos, and if we’re all being honest, most of us spend day one hungover. The hype to immediately put all of our resolutions to work sets us up for failure and promotes a cyborg-status perfectionism. Let’s all embrace that we’re human, and resolve to dissolve resolutions.
We chatted with a few experts to weigh in on this, so this isn’t just a free pass from one enabler to another. Erica Spiegelman, author, addiction and wellness specialist, and motivational speaker, says right off the bat that we should consider resolutions as intentions.
“I believe in changing the language around this. It’s so vital, because intentions are more flexible and have a manifesting power. Intentions are positive, empathetic, and have a positive approach.”
Her advice? “Choose your word for the year—select a word that can carry you and inspire you throughout the new year. Choose activities that will support your intention and word. My word this year is balance. I will be mindful of this word I have chosen for myself and manifest this through my choices and self-care. It’s a very powerful way to create intention.
We can’t just become mentally ready to make changes because a date in a calendar says it’s the day to start. We have to tap into ourselves after the new year at some point and write down the goals we want to see happen: create more balance, less stressful encounters with family or friends, more physical exercise, less time on our phones, etc., and then visit these goals daily and they will stay in the front of our minds!”
Vienna Pharaon, licensed marriage and family therapist, echoes this notion: “Resolutions have very little room for grace. The moment you misstep, it’s easy for your inner critic to activate and tell you that you’re a failure, you’re pathetic, and your goals are useless. It sets off your year stripped away of your confidence and desire for either change or expansion.
Intention setting offers this grace. It suggests a direction that you’d like to move toward instead of one that’s required in order to have success or feel good about yourself. You don’t have to make grand shifts and then find ways to maintain them, you make gradual shifts that are allowed to ebb and flow toward the goal.
It’s wise to set yourself up for success by getting clear about what you want to bring your attention to. This is something you can succeed at. It doesn’t require a specific destination, but rather a commitment to mindfulness and awareness.”
Vienna suggests even shifting that idea from a word for the year, to a word for the season. It gives us the opportunity to move and grow with our intentions as life changes and shifts, and takes the pressure off the newness of January 1, since we have four of these throughout the year.
Emotional health adviser, Roxie Nafousi, is also not a fan of the high-pressure hype. When it comes to the term “resolution,” she feels it instantly makes us feel under pressure, and if we don’t stick to them for a day, we end up pressing the “fuck-it button” because we tell ourselves we have somehow failed.
“Resolutions can often feel like self-punishment: ‘I’ve overindulged at Christmas so this year I must deprive myself of sugar.’ Whereas intentions come from a place of self-love: ‘I’ve overindulged this Christmas, so now I’m going to aim to nourish my body with nutritious food the majority of the time.’ We can use that self-love to ease the pressures we put on ourselves and allow ourselves to be human; that means that not every day is the same. Some days we’ll feel inspired to reach our goals, and other days we might need to sit on the sofa all day and binge our favorite series and chocolate brownies.”
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