And just as quickly as the New Year arrived, it’s now March.
New Year’s resolutions are either in the back of your minds, going strong or broken (and that’s okay).
While I don’t believe in waiting for the perfect time and place to begin fill in the blank here, I commend anyone who is brave enough to take those first steps, (yes, baby-steps count too), toward achieving their goals.
For me, New Year’s resolutions have been nothing more than a familiar, disappointing cycle; I’m committed for a certain period of time, fall off the horse, and either too afraid to get back up again or somehow lose interest in carrying on.
This year I am mixing it up. Instead of setting resolutions, I am practicing intentions.Practicing intentions prompts us to focus on the journey instead of obsessing over the final outcome. Click To Tweet
Why do New Year’s resolutions often fail? Because an end-goal without a proper plan of how to get there is just a wish. Practicing intentions prompts us to focus on the journey instead of obsessing over the final outcome.
If you’re looking to make sustainable changes that you can actually follow through with, here are four intentions that are sure to transform your year—and life (at and outside of work).
Be more present.
When the knee-jerk reaction to doing anything remotely fun or memorable is to immediately share on social media, or the urge to answer every single text or email during social situations where, more often than not, it can wait, we lose out on the exact things that make a moment worth enjoying.
During a presentation at work, I pulled out my phone so I could respond to a very “urgent” email. Before I could press send, one of my colleagues tapped me and quietly asked that I “be more present.” Although I was annoyed at first, it made me think twice about the power of being fully attuned and immersed in an experience.
Research has shown that being present and exerting our ability to be mindful not only makes us happier but can also help us deal and improve our ability to cope with negative emotions like fear and anger.
If you find yourself itching to share your adventures on social as it’s happening, or fear not being able to complete those “urgent” tasks, ask yourself “What brings me happiness right now?” Once you know, hold onto that and enjoy it.
I intend to make a bigger effort of giving my full, undivided attention to anyone I am spending time with — because I would expect the other person to return the same level of attention to me.
Be more understanding.
We’ve all been in a situation where the feedback received was either difficult to take in or even unsolicited. (You know when someone who hasn’t been in your shoes, or has no idea what they are talking about, is telling you what to do). Sometimes when this happens, my response is to shut down because of how annoyed, defeated, or resentful I end up feeling.
While receiving criticism, constructive or otherwise, can be tough, hearing this from a colleague helped shift my perspective: “Regardless if you don’t like someone’s delivery of a message, most people mean what they say with good intent.”
We know it’s not what you say, but how you say it that can make all the difference. When we make a conscious effort to see past the delivery of a message and understand why something was said, we then can deeply reflect, respond appropriately, and learn from the situation.
There is a multitude of things that can influence someone’s actions or words. They might be having a bad day so their delivery came out rough. Or they might not know better. (Don’t get me wrong. I said might because some people can, and are, down-right rude). What I’m trying to say is why not try and see the best, before the worst, in people? And more often than that, we can read too much into things— especially over email when the tone isn’t as obvious.
Being understanding can help improve your relationships with others and your overall mood by reducing the urge to make assumptions.
I intend to actively listen to feedback and criticism, instead of letting my emotions get the better of me.
Be More Shameless.
Isn’t about time we (women especially) stop apologizing for things that are 1). not our fault and 2). we really aren’t sorry for? A Candian study found that women apologize more than men because they have a lower threshold for what they consider offensive. Neurologist, Tara Swart, suggests that women apologize out of habit possibly due to their childhood when they were made to feel wrong or fearful of punishment.
No one likes compulsive liars—or apologizers. Click To Tweet
Apologizing out of habit not only makes the apology insincere but is also a weakness that can negatively affect your personal and professional life. No one likes compulsive liars—or apologizers.
This year, I intend to own all of who I am, especially my opinions regardless if others agree or disagree with them. (Sorry, not sorry).
With that being said, embrace who YOU are. Apologize less and watch your own self-confidence soar.
be more committed.
If it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a hell no. Maybe is non-committal. Maybe-ing someone is a common default to avoid confrontation when we really want to say “no.” It’s a defense mechanism to fend off locking yourself into something when there could be something else better to say “yes” to.
Honestly, what’s the hold-up? Why not be more committed to:
- Speaking your truth?
- Advocating for yourself?
- Putting yourself first?
- Finishing what you started?
Repeat those bullet points above but start your sentence off with “Maybe I’ll be committed to (fill in the blank).” Feels different, right? Remember, baby-steps are okay. If you can’t nix maybe from your vocabulary just yet, then I challenge you to replace maybe with when.
Making an effort to practice intentions as part of your daily routine will make it that much easier to achieve any one of your goals. While resolutions come and go (once a year), intentions are life-long.
How do you keep yourself accountable? What are some of your personal intentions? Drop me a line in the comments below!