Perhaps because resolutions feel like an effort to “fix” something that is wrong.
They channel us into the cultural gauntlet of Not Enough, with its messages of not good enough, thin enough, rich enough, happy enough, and on and on. In this paradigm, we are always lacking. Joy and fulfillment are waiting around the corner if only we push ourselves to be more of one thing or another.
The problem is that a gauntlet does not have any corners - it is a straight line of rebuke and dissatisfaction.
Resolutions often revolve around changing a behavior: exercising more, choosing healthy foods, calling loved ones more regularly, drinking less, etc.. I don’t think it’s so easy to change a behavior without looking at what lies underneath.
What hunger or need do those sweets fill for me? What am I avoiding by opening another bottle of wine?
Why do I avoid calling my elderly mother who lives alone? What is uncomfortable in our relationship?
If we don't explore what is going on on the inside, it is unlikely that we will change what is going on on the outside in any significant or lasting way.
So, I have put resolutions aside. Instead, I will set an intention. An intention allows me to focus on how I want to be, rather than on what I need to do.
What are the qualities that I want to call forth in myself?
An intention helps me stay focused on the present moment and how I am showing up in that moment. It keeps me honest and aware. It keeps me out of the anxiety-producing realm of needing to get somewhere, needing to achieve something.
Holding an intention with consistency will eventually bring me into the world of doing.
What can I do to grow this quality in myself? How can I hold more space for it? What is the impact this intention is having? In what direction is it leading me?
I am beginning the year with the intention of HERE. Being here, where I am, instead of jumping ahead or falling back or continuing to circle the hedge. There will be some doing that goes with this intention. For now, I am simply being here.
Who do you want to be as we step into this new year? What do you want to grow and develop in yourself?
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.
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