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Why do so many New Year’s resolutions fail?

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

The new year represents a new beginning. So much so that the tradition of setting resolutions dates back 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. It was said that during their New Year celebration, they would make promises to their gods in hopes they would earn favor in the coming year. But doesn’t the beginning of each day presents the same new start? Doesn’t a daily commitment seem less daunting than a lofty annual goal? I would ask you to consider daily intentions over a New Year’s resolution to obtain your aspiration. Looking at the differences between the two acts can help us understand why intention setting may offer more positive changes for you.

Resolutions are a specific goal. Lose weight. Quick smoking. Save money. You either succeed or fail. Which (by the way), 50% of people make New Year’s resolutions and only about 8% are still holding on to them by Valentine’s Day. Intention Setting is a broader idea. It grounds you in the present and is rooted in internal factors we can control, rather than external ones we cannot. As an example, instead of “I will quit smoking or lose weight,” the daily intention may be to make healthier choices for yourself today.

Resolutions can be negative. Representing deprivation. Giving something up. Intentions are more positive, creating abundance. I had a friend that quick smoking some years ago. She took the money each day that she would have spent on her daily pack of cigarettes and put it in a jar. The money saved was assigned to something she wanted, but found to be a bit of a luxury. The money growth was the motivation and took her awareness off the difficulty of giving up the habit of smoking.

Some steps to help get you started:

Find what brings you joy. Set out to do what makes you happy and moves you toward the desired outcome.

Write your intention down. Hang it somewhere that is visible to you often.

Share your intention with your support circle.

Create a mantra and bring it to mind first thing in the morning and when you close your eyes at night. A mantra doesn’t have to be an esoteric Sanskrit phrase, but a simple word or sentence that illustrates your objective. Not save money, but “create financial freedom”. Not get more exercise, but “practice self-care”.

Once you set the intention for the day, let it go. You planted the seed. Now watch it grow.


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