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Nearly one month into 2018 and chances are if you resolved to make a change in the new year, you’ve already failed. On average only 8 percent of resolutions are kept throughout the year. Not to be all doom and gloom, there is hope if you are ready to make a change for the better.
Created at the start of the new year, resolutions are typically formed from a negative standpoint, starting at looking at ways to correct perceived shortcomings. Relationship Coach Jonathan Bennett believes this is why the failure rate for resolutions is so high.
“A good example is weight loss as a resolution. Although getting to a healthy weight is certainly a positive step, for many people, that resolution is created, not as a desire to live a healthy, holistic life, but out of peer pressure, self-loathing, and insecurity. Intentions are usually broader and more inspirational,” said Bennett.
Intentions are an opportunity to align with a bigger value and do not have as specific of an outcome. As a result, intention setting has a higher success rate than resolutions.
Turning a new behavior into a habit can take up to two months and requires building those habits into a routine. “When setting a new intention, we have to actively decide what strategies we will use to deal with obstacles and the inevitable failures along the path of successfully reaching our goals.” said clinical psychologist, Fawn McNeil-Haber, PhD.
If you’ve started the year with a resolution, it’s not too late to turn that resolution into an intention and start on the road to making successful change in 2018.
How to Set an Intention
1.) Write your intention down
Writing down an intention is the first step towards holding yourself accountable. Instead of focusing on a specific goal (losing 10 lbs by spring break), pick something that is more open ended and attainable. An example might be “embrace a healthier lifestyle by working out more and eating more vegetables.”
While you don’t need to blast your intentions out on Facebook for the world to see, telling those who you are close with can provide a support group who will help you achieve your goals. If you can find a handful of folks with a similar intention you can work together and share challenges and successes.
3.) Create reminders
If you use a planner, write your intention at the top of each month or week. Schedule in specific times for you to work on your intention. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, schedule trips to the gym or to meal prep. If you want to learn more throughout the year, set aside an hour or two per week to read.
Making a poster or reminder of your intention that you can hang in a prominent place in your home can also help you on the path to success. Post it on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator for an ongoing reminder of the journey you set out on.
4.) Plan a reward
Instead of buying a new swimsuit when you hit your target weight, reward yourself by keeping up with your intention for three months in a row. It takes 2 months to create a new habit, so rewarding yourself every three months can help keep you on track and give something to work towards. Instead of focusing on physical rewards like new clothing or a cheat meal, consider taking a trip or spending the day at the spa.
No matter what your plans are the the year, it’s never too late to set a fresh intention and start towards creating positive change in your life. You don’t have to wait until the start of the year to set goals and get started.