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New Years Intentions

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

You might think the words intention and resolution are similar in their meanings. However, if you take a pause, close your eyes and say the words out loud, I feel you will have a different experience of each one. Resolution gives the perception of success or failure as the only two outcomes. Most of my resolutions are a distant memory by February, leaving me with a slight undertone of failure (once again). The word “resolution” can bring on feelings of dread and thoughts of “I know I should,” and feels like a ball and chain that I am dragging into 2015.

One of my clients kept making the same resolution every New Year, pronouncing, “This year I will lose 20 pounds.” While this sounded like a reasonable goal, she dreaded the beginning of January because it meant changing eating habits, getting on the scale, and never feeling like she was accomplishing enough. As January passed, thoughts of, “Well, next year,” would knock her off her path and the resolution would be forgotten.

However, I feel the word intention implies a sense of energy and freedom, producing the open-ended impression that I can change my mind from a place of empowerment, allowing me to tweak my intention in order to keep moving. The process is similar to the coaching experience, always focusing on successes while examining challenges in order to adjust the intention as needed to keep forward motion toward a desired result.

Last year, I suggested to the same client that she make an intention instead of a resolution, although at first, she felt it was the same thing. Her new statement began last year with, “I am making an intention to lose enough weight so I can travel more easily.”

To set an intention for 2015, first a reflection on 2014 is necessary, looking at what worked, what could be left behind, and how 2015 can be different. Next, exploring what is possible, accepting what isn’t, then digging deep for why it is important to take action now. Making an intention allows forward movement with freedom to make the changes needed to keep going toward realizing the goal.


Steps to making intentions:

1) Non-judgment reflection on 2014 (what worked, what didn’t work)

2) Exploring what is possible in 2015 (envision the best year)

3) Choosing an intention (create an energizing declaration)

4) Connecting with someone (sharing your intention, asking for support)

5) Leaving what is necessary in 2014 (let it go and move on)

6) Discovering what is needed in 2015 (finding tools for likely success)

7) Making a plan of action for 2015 (designing tiny, doable steps)

8) Setting a day to begin (taking the first steps, no matter what)

9) Changing what is needed for success along the path (remain flexible)

10) Most importantly, “Never Give Up!”


Janis McDonald, Certified Professional Coach, Functional Aging Trainer, Private Gym, Small Group Training. Gym Phone: 152 0457


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