Resolutions vs. Intentions

I know it’s January at the gym without looking at a calendar.


Because last Saturday my Spinning class was packed. Some faces were familiar but there were a lot of new ones. At the gym the classes are busier and everyone is excited to be there. It’s like the first day of school! (Except unlike school, some drop out after a month or two.)

As fitness instructors, we love this time of year. We hope to convert the new people (a lot of New Year’s resolutioners) into lifelong fitness fanatics. Also, it is too cold to exercise outside so those folks are forced to come inside.

Many see the start of a new year as a time to reboot. I don’t discourage anyone from making New Year’s resolutions – if it works, then great. It’s better than not making any needed changes at all. Unfortunately, individuals who succeed at resolutions are few and far between. And breaking a New Year’s resolution has become as cliché as making it.

Instead of resolutions I set intentions for the New Year. I take a step back from “I want to lose weight by going to the gym 3x a week” and move towards “I want to take better care of my body.” Yes, taking care of my body could mean losing weight but it could also mean feeling better emotionally. Intention setting increases my chances of succeeding by allowing for a range of actions towards accomplishing my goal – from getting more sunlight to eating less junk food. But more importantly, I don’t get derailed by a bad week and adjustments can be made easily. After all, there are many paths to complete a journey.

This year I want to be kinder to myself. Starting a new business while holding down a full-time job and an increased teaching schedule is exciting but hard on me physically and emotionally. So I am upping the ante on self-care. I began by listing in my journal items that I wanted to have more of in my life in 2014. Some of them were:

  • More sleep
  • More laughter
  • More time spent doing things I love
  • More silence
  • And, of course, more yoga

I am already at a good start by seeing my massage therapist after a long hiatus and buying a few pairs of SmartWool socks. But I need to try harder on getting to bed earlier. I won’t be giving up though and I can always look at my journal for other ideas on how to get back on track.

Now, it is your turn. What are your intentions for 2014? And what actions do you plan to take to support them?

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