Why You Should Create Intentions (and Not Resolutions) for the New Year | By Lexi Reich

Last Updated: May 4, 2020By

I was sitting in a coffee shop with my best friend from childhood sipping a soy green tea latte. Snowflakes were melting against the wall-length windows and we were reminiscing on the highs and lows of our 2018, which was spent mostly apart from each other (as we attend different universities).

I ripped out two pieces of paper from my journal and asked my dear friend if she wanted to write down our New Year’s Intentions together. She said “No, thanks.”

As a yoga teacher, I love setting intentions: for my classes, my own personal practice, for my semesters in college. Having the opportunity to set intentions for an entire year sounds like an epic way to spend New Year’s Eve, in my opinion.

I told her it would be a fun bonding experience to share what we were excited for in 2019 together. She agreed, but explained to me her resentment towards “resolutions.”

“Why use the first of the year to change when you can change right now?” she asked.

Of course, that’s a valid point. Many people do set themselves up for disappointment setting unrealistic goals for the New Year they never get around to starting. “But it’s all about the mindset,” I said back.

The mindset I’m talking about is the difference between intention and resolution. Even simply looking at the dictionary definition of resolution reveals that it is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” An intention, on the other hand, is “an aim or a plan.” Sounds more realistic — and exciting — to me.

“Let’s see what we have to look forward to next year,” I offered. “And make a plan for how we are going to enter it all as our best selves.”

“And make a plan for how we are going to enter it all as our best selves.”

  1. Authenticity

How can I be my truest self in all aspects of my life? That means tuning in to who (and who not to) surround yourself with, knowing when to say no (and when to say yes), and checking inside to see if you’re nourishing within constantly. Am I shining my most authentic self when I scroll through social media before bed when I could be reading a new book or calling a friend? Check in, check in, check in.

  1. Mindful Eating

A New Year’s Resolution would read “Lose 10 pounds.” A New Year’s Intention looks like this: eat foods that nourish the soul. I want to challenge myself not to eat in front of technology, and instead pay intimate attention to the energy I’m feeding my cells. By comparing how I feel eating in front of the TV as to when I eat slowly and respectfully, it will be clear that making this a habit will be an intentional, clear choice. It will be something to constantly work towards and will improve my daily life. It is not intimating like “lose weight,” but an opportunity to deepen my connection to myself and my body with the food I eat in a positive, healthy, constructive way.

  1. “Seek Discomfort”

This has become my new favorite phrase. After discovering Yes Theory, I am addicted to this idea of constantly trying new things to better oneself. Life is too short to be comfortable, because that’s when it gets boring. How can I push myself out of my comfort zone and grow as a human being? My New Year’s Resolution is not to simply “Go Skydiving.” My New Year’s Intention is to try something new each week, big or small, that forces me to be fully present and overcome something inside, whether that be a fear, reservation, or lack of knowledge on something.

As an avid planner, I want to lay out what I want to experience and learn in the upcoming year, and find ways to achieve it all as I go. No stress, just excitement. Creating a colorful vision board of my three intentions will make me feel motivated each time I see them, not discouraged. That is an intentional way to enter the new year.

See the difference?

Wishing you a Present + Peaceful 2019!

Photos by Alex Deems and Omar Kaheel.


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