Sunday, January 3, 2010

Good Intentions

Vintage postcard - less obsession with weight loss in 1915?

New Year's Resolutions: do you make them, or not? If you make them, do you brake them?

I've always liked the idea of New Year's Resolutions, in theory. It seems like such a positive concept: starting off on a fresh note, untainted by the missteps of the past, we set out to create a new sense of who we are by changing our habits. But old habits die hard, and so often within a few weeks, days or hours we're back into our old, destructive routines.

So I gave up on New Year's resolutions a few years ago after observing both myself and others encounter failure after failure. I came to realize that the error of our ways is not in the difficulty of trying to change our habits, but in the nature of the resolutions themselves.

According to the website, the most popular New Year's Resolutions are:
1) lose weight
2) manage debt
3) save money
4) get a better job
5) get fit
6) get a better education
7) drink less alcohol
8) quit smoking now
9) reduce stress overall
10) reduce stress at work
11) take a trip
12) volunteer to help others

While these are certainly all worthy goals, of the twelve resolutions, five of them are worded in a negative way - things we want to do less of. And the others, while written in either a neutral or positive way, are still very vague goals, and very impersonal. The truth is, I've been in the bad habit of making similar resolutions all the time in my life. "I'm going to eat less cooked food." "I'm going to drink less alcohol." "I'm going to spend less money going out." And like many of you, I generally fail to follow these resolutions after a few days. Not only are they pretty much impossible without a plan, they're also not helpful and not fun.

This year, instead of making resolutions about what I don't want to do or setting vague, unrealistic expectations for myself (which might even be based more on what society expects me to want rather than what I really want for myself as an individual), I'm going to set good intentions instead. Good intentions are different than resolutions. They're based upon a vision of being my best light-self - my most creative, fun, vibrant, glowing, abundant self - and they're things that I actually want to do. These are practical concepts that I can grasp onto immediately. And most importantly, these are positive changes. They're action-based, and I can start them immediately. The more positive actions I'm taking for change, the less room there will be in my life for the old behaviors that I'd like to leave behind.

Which brings me to the reason I'm writing this post - because after all, everybody and their mom blogs about New Year's Resolutions, and there's plenty of other good advice out there, so why should you read mine? According to a Quirkology study, women achieve better success with resolutions/intentions when they make them public. So I'm writing this post partly for selfish reasons - to make myself accountable to my readers for the goals I'm setting here, and also to create a space for you to state your intentions in a safe and nurturing environment. So, here are my good intentions for the next journey around the sun:

1) Design a new Wordpress blog and post 3 days per week on really fun topics, expanding my readership and allowing for the blog to become profitable as well as a labor of love :)
2) Seek out one new writing assignment/market every week.
3) Open myself up to the many possibilities of supporting myself through writing by repeating an affirmation daily.

1) Be grateful for every morsel that I eat or drink by stopping to say "I am grateful for this X."
2) Drink one green juice or green smoothie every day.
3) Drink a bilberry tea every day to improve my eyesight.

1) Email one old friend every week (I've set up an alert on my computer to remind me!).
2) Phone one overseas friend or family member every week (see above).
3) Invite someone from my broader social circle to join me in an activity that I love every week, or accept a similar invitation from someone I want to get to know more.

1) Spend one entire day outside in a beautiful place hiking/camping/swimming/skiing every month.

So there you have it, my 10 good intentions for 2010. I actually have a lot more, but this seems like a manageable amount for me to focus on at the moment.

What are your good intentions for 2010?

1 comment:

Vegan Fox said...

I just stopped by your blog and really enjoy your resolutions :)

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