Resolutions or Intentions?

The Oxford dictionary defines:




  1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
    "she kept her resolution not to see Anne anymore"




  1. a thing intended; an aim or plan.
    "she was full of good intentions"


Every year at this time we hear about resolutions and people ask what are resolutions are for the next year, and each year millions of people set resolutions, and typically by the end of January, they are forgotten. The gym is always busiest in January, the diet industry makes billions in January, and we vow to declutter, lose weight, get healthy, and more. But, it just doesn’t work.


Well first of all this is the season of rest, this is the time we should be hibernating, rebuilding our immune system, and rejuvenating our bodies with meditation, sleep, so much sleep, and time to reflect, and contemplate. It is not the time to set big goals and jump in with both feet and give it our all. As we’ve seen from past history, that lasts from a few hours to a few weeks, and then we get overwhelmed and drop everything.

Instead, look to the cycles of nature to bring balance to your life, Spring is a rejuvenation and get things started time, right now sit, contemplate, and set some intentions for the full year.  

Instead of “I’m going to go to the gym 5 days a week starting Monday”, try “I intend to get healthier this year, what are some things I can do to help with that”

Make a list, of things that can help you feel healthier. Maybe walking, going to the gym, drinking more water, eating less sugar, add all the things that can help you feel healthier.

Don’t make the list, decide you need to do all the things, and jump right in, and fail.

Make the list, and pick one thing you can do to start, maybe it’s drinking more water. Okay, so baby steps, find your water bottle or favorite glass and put it out so you see it in the morning. It’s now morning and you see the water bottle, you fill it up and put it on your desk. You take a few drinks throughout the day. 

Ok, you have already drank more water, but maybe you want to up it a little bit more. Each day, fill that water bottle, put it on your desk, and drink it when you think of it. Maybe after a few days, you add a timer to remind you to drink water every hour or 30 minutes. Keep doing this until it is a habit. One step closer to getting healthier.

Maybe in a week or two, what’s another thing you can do? Walk more, ok so find your walking shoes and put them by the door. The next day you see the shoes and you think, ok I’ll go for a walk after I do these 3 things. You get to the end of the day and you haven’t walked.

Okay, well you get up the next day and think I’ll put my walking shoes on and then do this one thing and then go for a walk. And again you get to the end of the day and you haven’t walked.

No worries, don’t beat yourself up, you are retraining your brain, and it takes time. 

You get up the next morning put on your walking shoes and go for a 5-minute walk, and then think of a dozen things you should be doing, and head back. Great, you are already walking more.

Each day you decide to walk for a minimum of 5 minutes, and if you go longer great, but you can do 5 minutes. It becomes a habit, you are already out and so you keep walking longer and longer.

This is what I mean by setting intentions. Resolutions are so final and absolute that we are doomed to failure because a) That is not how our brains think (the multi-billion dollar diet industry knows this) and b) We are setting these “resolutions” at the wrong time of year, and c) we have been taught to believe it is all or nothing.

Each time we take 1 step towards what we want we should celebrate that, but instead we beat ourselves up for what we haven’t done. We didn’t walk 5 miles today, no, but we got our shoes out and started thinking about it. Awesome, great job we are further along than yesterday.

Whatever your intention for the year is, start with your list, and then do one thing towards one of those items. By Spring when our energy starts to rebound and we are ready to get moving we will have all these things in place that have become habits that we feel better about ourselves, and have more energy to keep working towards what we want for ourselves.

What are your intentions for this year?

Mine is to create more, I create every day but mostly on my computer. I want to get back to my painting and it has seemed so overwhelming to find the space, set everything up and have to move it around all the time.

Here is my list of things to help, or what feed into that intention.

  • Clean office to make room to paint
  • Find canvases
  • Reorganize supplies
  • Get rid of anything I don’t need
  • Find my easel and put it up

The biggest piece for me on this list is cleaning the office to make room, this will stop me right away if I think of it as I can’t create unless I clean up the office.

So, I break down my cleaning list

  • Recycle all the boxes (I can always get more if needed)
  • Put bins back on the shelves
  • Sort packages of papers and collage items to sell
    • Package collage items to sell
  • Get real with what I use and what I don’t and get rid of what I don’t

I started today by grabbing some recycle bags as cleaning out one corner would seem like quite a win at this moment, it may get done today, maybe tomorrow. But, I am one step closer.

But, that doesn’t mean I can’t create just because I haven't cleaned up the office yet.

Okay, I may not have room for a large canvas (my preferred substrate). I love creating on large canvases. But, that is only for right now, it doesn’t mean I won’t ever create on a large canvas again.

Right now I can still create. I got out my art journal and put it with my paint. Ok, one step closer. I might even make a small quick sketch just to make some marks and feel like I have created, or that might be a tomorrow project. But either way, I am feeling like I am moving forward. 

Set your intentions, make your list, and start the process toward your best year yet.

Oh, and then go take a nap, this is our hibernation time, and unfortunately society has forgotten, so chances are you will get caught up in the hustle again next week.


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