January. It's the busiest time of the year for health, fitness, and nutrition industries. New Year's Resolutioners crowd the gym floors and group fitness classes and into all of the latest fad diets and the detox kit.
But now January is coming to an end and February is approaching. That means, instead of being full of new faces ready to get in shape, the gym consists of just the regular gym goers again. The realization that most diet trends are unrealistic and quite frankly impossible to follow for a long period of time is setting in. Plus, it's currently Girl Scout cookie season!
New Years Resolutioners aren't getting the quick results they hoped for and are falling back into their old ways. It can feel like you are failing big time when you don't follow through on your resolutions, and that is why I hate them. So forget them! Instead, you should be focused on setting mindful intentions for yourself.
Both resolutions and intentions are types of goal, however, there is a big difference between them. In my opinion, resolutions are harder to stick to. A resolution is an all or nothing kind of goal. Usually, there is a desired result and a set deadline. Examples include "I will lose X amount of weight in X amount of time" or "I will read 100 books this year." A lot of the time, to achieve these results, people make these sub-resolutions. Examples of these are, "I will work out every day" or "I will go on a strictly juicing diet" or "I will read two novels a week."
Let me let you in on a little secret: most of the time, the resolutions are achievable, but people don't end up following through on them because their sub-resolutions are unrealistic.
Intentions, on the other hand, are a more gentle approach to self-betterment. You can still set a measurable goal, but the methods for getting there will be a lot more reasonable. For example, if your goal was to lose that X amount of weight in X amount of time, instead of having those sub-resolutions of going all out in the gym and dieting, an intention would be more along the lines of "I will eat healthier and be more active." This way, if you do end up missing a workout session or eating a cupcake at a birthday party, it doesn't feel like you have completely failed your diet or workout routine.
Life is meant to be fun and enjoyable. It requires balance and the ability to have some flexibility in your regimen. I believe that having strict resolutions can inhibit you from having fun if taken to seriously. Hence, I prefer intentions. Intentions allow for a little wiggle room. You can still go on vacations where you take a few days off from the gym and indulge in some extra treats, but then go back to living healthier when you get home. You can read four books one week when you are taking a road trip and then not read during finals week when you are trying to study.
Like I said, life is all about finding your own healthy balance. Sure, there will always be areas for potential self-improvement and growth, but you don't have to be so hard on yourself about it. With intentions, there is also more room for self-forgiveness. No one is perfect, so why do we continue to strive for perfection?
Resolutions are based around perfection. Intentions are based around impurities. So ditch the resolutions and mold them into mindful intentions. Ultimately, you will see better results that way. They may not be as drastic as you hoped they would be, but a little progress is better than none at all. If you never give up, you can never fail. So keep working towards your intentions and you will always succeed!