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Intentions Vs. Resolutions… New Year, New Me.

Jan 6, 2023

Our intention creates our reality.
— Wayne Dyer

You’ve heard it and are probably guilty of saying it yourself, New Year, New Me…

Come January 1st, we say the same thing as we find ourselves formulating New Year’s resolutions to reach specific goals or to in some way better ourselves and our lives. Studies have found that while roughly 41-45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, unfortunately only 8-9% are successful in sticking to the goals they set.

With such an alarmingly high rate of us not following through with our resolutions, one has to wonder why so many fall by the wayside. How do we go from being pumped and full of excitement at the beginning of the year to abandoning our resolution mid-year, if not sooner? (in some cases even weeks into the new year)

Some would say it’s laziness or a lack of disciple or strategy. Others would argue that we hit the ground running so hard that we quickly become overwhelmed trying to achieve grandiose goals or unrealistic expectations, (like losing 100 lbs. in 6 months) that we end up falling off the bandwagon or giving up before we even get started.

If we are honest, we can admit that our New Year’s resolutions become a perpetual cycle in which year after year, we tend to dream big, or try to do too much at one time, which often leads to us losing our resolve and then beating ourselves up when we fail. It’s a never ending cycle, wash, rinse, repeat…

Dare I say that the problem is found in the word resolution and our perception of the word?

A recent article from Inc. defines a resolution as “a demand that we place upon ourselves, where there is no room for failure. Yet, failure is pretty much inevitable.” Based on this definition, resolutions are fixed with no wiggle room for error. No wonder so many of us don’t follow through with our resolutions, we are setting ourselves up for failure by placing impenetrable demands on ourselves. Such a mindset doesn’t take into account that New Year’s resolutions often involve substantial lifestyle changes, and change is hard and takes time.

You can’t be rigid if you want to see the success you want for yourself; you’ve got to shift your mindset. I know it’s cliche, but Rome wasn’t built in one night.

In 2023 rather than setting resolutions, let’s set intentions. Intentions differ from resolutions in that resolutions are usually things that we wish to change about ourselves or in our lives. In contrast, intention is an attitude, a plan, or course of action.

New Year’s Resolution vs. New Year’s Intention

Resolutions are typically rooted in negativity or unpleasant experiences; Intentions are usually motivated by abundance.

Resolutions can feel like a race to the finish line, but when you set an intention, you stop thinking about the end result and start channeling your energy toward your desire. It focuses on what you want to bring about in your life, not what you want to change. Intentions are more fluid and allow for refinement and adjustments; it’s about growth, not perfection.

Even better, because intentions are rooted in love and self-compassion, if you happen to find yourself straying (which can be expected), you are less likely to feel like you are failing, you reset, readjust and recommit to the journey.

Because intentions tend to be spiritual and are associated with our hopes and dreams, there is a greater likelihood of success without the risk of failure.

Setting a Powerful Intention

The Why

With a clear mind and an open heart take some time to do some soul-searching to tap into what you want and what you want more of in your life (not what you don’t want, but what you do want) and why? Dig deep into the nooks and crannies of your life- your relationships, your work-life balance, health, wealth, creativity, self-image, etc. and consider what areas require attention. Envision what you want to cultivate or achieve, who you want to be, or how you see life through your mind’s eye. Now, put that in the forefront of your mind and choose a word or a phrase that encompasses what you see.


Make it Yours

Commit to your intention by making it a part of your everyday thinking. Write it down and keep it where you can see it. Revisit the word or phrase you selected regularly. Mediate or pray on your intention whenever possible. Get creative and use your word or phrase in an affirmation or mantra. I’ve even gone as far as creating theme songs for my intentions. Whatever you do, make it personal to you. The more you make it about showing up for yourself by demonstrating more self-love, self-respect, and self-care, the more successful you will be.

A goal is a journey, not a foot race, so celebrate yourself whenever you reach a milestone. Even the smallest of wins should be celebrated. Maybe your intention is to live a healthier lifestyle, and before you know it, your clothes are fitting looser, and you have more energy than you’ve had in years. Don’y bush it off, reward yourself for the progress you’ve made. Go ahead and buy that dress you’ve been eyeballing for a while; you deserve it. Soon you’ll see that the small wins end up being goals achieved.


Tabaka, Marla (2019). Most People Fail to Achieve Their New Year’s Resolution. Retrieved from

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