No New Year’s resolutions: try setting intentions instead

Before you start setting a bunch of resolutions for 2019, we have a better idea. Try adding some new routines that focus on your well-being into your life. You may not realise how beneficial they are—and how much more effective they are than resolutions—but actually, routines are the key to your emotional and physical health. Keep reading and discover why you should explore new traditions, not resolutions, this year.

 

According to an often-cited study conducted by the University of Scranton in the United States, over 50% of people make serious New Year’s resolutions, and only 8% of those people actually keep them. Losing weight or stopping a bad habit like smoking are the most common promises people make when confronted with a new year. But then why do we abandon our gym routines or nicotine gum somewhere in mid-February?

 

Dr. Roberta Anding has a strong opinion on this subject. “January 1 signifies a new beginning,” she writes in The Huffington Post. “However, each day allows for a new beginning, and hence it is a reset.”

 

Intentions, not resolutions

Resolutions are, at their very core, setting us up to fail. They imply that if you can just go down one size, if you can get that next promotion at work—your life will be perfect. These goals also rely on external factors that we may have limited control over. And then we feel badly about ourselves when we give them up. Rather than making resolutions for 2019, it’s better to set intentions from within. Instead of measuring your life by your successes and failures, try starting some new habits to enrich your life.

 

They have the power to ground us and help us find happiness in even the smallest of moments. They require us to slow down our racing minds and be present in the moment. When we take the time to focus on what’s happening this second rather than where we want to be in 3 months from now, we’re creating new neural pathways in the brain—which leads to long-lasting change for the better.

 

How routines last longer than resolutions

New routines start with setting an intention, and these intentions lead to action. Because modern-day life is so fraught with overextension and overscheduling, it’s easy to forget how important self-care is. When you just set a goal instead of really thinking about the purpose—or intention—behind it, you’re not practicing true self-care, and you cannot expect a positive result.

 

Here’s a concrete example of how a routine will last longer and be more successful in the long term. Imagine that you’ve vowed to eliminate sugar completely from your diet. Then, during a particularly chaotic day at work, you find yourself rooting around your office for that last bastion of emergency chocolate. You binge, feel sated for around two minutes, and then immediately the guilt feeling sets in.

 

Rather than beating yourself up, put your energy to good use and take a walk around the block. For dinner tonight, eat a delicious salad with fresh, sustainable ingredients. The next time you get an unhealthy craving, remember to take things one step at a time, and you won’t give into it. And with that, you’ve just created a new habit. One that you can practice the entire year, whenever you feel stress levels rising or self-doubt creeping in. It really is as easy as it sounds.

 

The year of new traditions for your well-being

If the above example sounds good to you, we’re just getting started. Here are some other traditions we recommend to help you slow down and make 2019 your best year yet.

 

Instead of signing up for a gym membership you’ll stop using in a couple of months, start a home yoga practice. Rather than letting work stress get to you, try meditating on the things you’re grateful for at your job. If travelling more doesn’t fit your schedule or your budget, sign up for volunteer work that brings you in contact with other cultures.

 

Make 2019 the year you incorporate more healthy routines into your life. In the end, you’ll be much more richly rewarded than simply setting resolutions, and you can enjoy these new habits for many years to come.