However many years of failed resolutions we have behind us, I think most of us go with hope over experience and come January, are setting ourselves lofty goals for the year ahead.
The problem being that if you’re anything like me, as soon as you’ve ‘broken’ the resolution, that’s it – it’s all over.
Resolutions are often too much like diets (which you know I hate anyway); strict measures that we decide we’ve got to stick to, and therefore totally unsustainable. Sometimes of course, the resolution is the diet.
I’ve realised that my so-called resolution of last year – getting back into blogging – wasn’t really a resolution at all, but more an expectation, an intention – because it was something I wanted to do. It wasn’t for example “blog twice a week for every week of the year”, which I would’ve failed at and perhaps promptly dropped off the whole thing because in my eyes I had ‘failed’.
By simply setting out with an intention, it became reality. You could argue that it was a bit vague, that we should create measurable goals and after all, what’s wrong with aiming big? My answer is absolutely nothing! You might be someone who thrives from setting themselves detailed, very specific resolutions.
For a lot of us though, I suspect that half the time we make resolutions because we feel we ought to, without even asking ourselves if we really want those things. And for the other half of the time, maybe it’s stuff we do in theory want, but we don’t ask ourselves why.
If we dug a little bit deeper into the things we wanted to change and the reasons we wanted those things, if we set some intentions for the year ahead instead of resolution-type-hurdles that felt like a pass or fail, I think we could make more progress.
So this year I’m setting intentions…
- To get back into yoga. Because when I do it I feel the benefit in my joints, and in my mind. Yoga is one of the few forms of exercise that I’ve found to actually be pleasurable, but I slacked off once the evenings drew in last year. Whether it’s going back to a class or doing some short sessions at home with YouTube, this is something I really want to make a habit in 2019.
- To have a more careful attitude to money. This is the year when Aaron and I get serious about saving because we really want to buy our own place. I’ve always very been good at spending (!) and not nearly so good at holding back but recently I’ve been stricter with myself and I feel calmer as a result. The next few months are going to be about steadily building up funds for a deposit, in flex with life’s demands.
- To educate myself better. I mentioned in my last post (where I looked back on 2018) that I’ve realised I know embarrassingly little about the struggle of so many and live in a bubble of privilege. I’ve started to try and follow more different kinds of people on social media to understand more different viewpoints, and am going to do Layla F. Saad’s “Me and White Supremacy” workbook this month – linked here if you’re also interested.
- To make some changes that benefit the environment. I recently bought a Keep Cup which I take coffee to work in each day, but am rubbish at remembering to take it to coffee shops! This year I want to get better at using it, and when we buy our own house make some changes with the cleaning products we use, and start a food recycling bin. I’ve also just purchased some re-usable cotton pads so will let you know how I get on with those, but hopefully it’ll be the start of some good swaps!
I know a lot of people like to choose a word for the upcoming year, to be a point of focus. I’ve never done this before but I like the idea, so I’ve decided that my word for 2019 will be responsibility. It seems to underpin the intentions I’ve set out – I want this year to be one where I take greater responsibility for looking after my body and my finances, and for trying to be a better human in regards to my impact on the environment and my awareness of the world around me.
By setting these intentions, I’m hoping to have a productive year of gentle growth and change, without the strict guilt-tripping of resolutions that only last till March. What are your hopes and intentions for 2019?