Here I Come 2013: On Setting Intentions and Making Better Resolutions

Now,  that I’ve reflected on all that 2012 held for me. I’m ready to look forward to the new year. As I’ve mentioned before I’m an enthusiastic list maker, so I’ve made resolutions every New Year for as long as I can remember. In fact, I found lists of resolutions that I forced my mom, brother (and yes even cat) make when I was a little girl.

In recent years I’ve started to try to distill my long list of resolutions down to just one focus for the year. Which has helped me keep it in mind. Another approach is having a new focus each month (I talked about this last year with Gretchen Rubin’s downloadable  resolutions chart ).

The key to the success of both of these is that you are constantly checking in with your resolution– I posted my on my desk top, she puts a chart on her wall– it’s something you see every day. My over-arching resolution last year was to “try my best” I broke it down by month and I (of course) fell short a lot. But it was a helpful reminder when ever I saw it–like snapping a rubber band was I trying my best?

I’ve been thinking about the idea of repetition–mantra-like resolution making, and it made me think of the yoga ritual  of setting an intention for the class. Setting an intention in a yoga class is something you do silently, it’s usually a single word like “focus” or “peace” or “ease” that you come back to again and again for that hour as your mind wanders or as you struggle in a pose. Kind of a perfect metaphor for a year with your resolution, isn’t it?

One thing I’m like to change about myself is my tendency to interrupt people, so now when someone is talking and I have something I want to add to or ask about what they are saying I repeat in my head “stop, listen, let them finish.”

Sometimes the mantra/resolution/intention that I need to repeat is just “breathe.” It’s really simple, but the simple things are often the ones that work.

Here is a sample of  some of the other resolution advice that I’ve come across this week that I like:
From Fast Company:

1. Make a map and/or write a letter to your future self. Look back at 2012 and celebrate your successes and identify your failures. (Kate Note: this is similar to the reflection I talked about in the previous post) Map what you learned from both and think about what you want to change in the year ahead. Define what success looks like for 2013, setting audacious and achievable goals. Envision what you want the year to look like, literally. Write a list by month, write a year-end letter to yourself, or build a dream board, but don’t go into 2013 without knowing what you want success to look like. Map out how you’ll get there and what resources you’ll need.

2. Trash the small stuff. Like most people, you probably waste too much time on the small, insignificant, time-sucking, going-nowhere stuff. Make a list of the things you do that waste time every day and list what you’re going to do to change your behavior.

From Entrepreneur: 

3. Focus on the intention underneath the resolution.   What are seven to 10 reasons you have for wanting to take on that goal? Now, when you reflect back (once a week, once a month) on the “new year’s” resolution, you have some more objective line items to which to compare your progress over time.

From Entrepreneur again:

4. Make your goals challenging. While we often play it safe, fearing that if the goal is too difficult we won’t be able to achieve it, making goals challenging is the key to their success. By demanding more of yourself a, it forces you to harness your energy, engage with the goal and in exchange, experience the same sort of adrenaline rush as you get when crossing the finish line of a marathon.

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2 responses

  1. I have been challenged me to start the new year in the right direction by making resolutions and setting goals. I resolve not to take anything that contributes directly to my success for granted. Thanks for the post.

  2. […] and hopes for 2014, I still wanted to distill my resolutions down to one word. I’ve also been doing this for a few years — 2012 was to “try my best,” 2013 was “less […]

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