Resolving Not To Resolve: Changing Resolutions to Intentions


Every December, we look back at the past twelve months, count all the things we haven’t done, promise ourselves we will have that Spiritual Awakening starting in January, and set our jaws and write those New Year’s resolutions that we can MAYBE keep for three weeks. Do you really want to keep putting yourself through that every year? What if you decided that you didn’t have to? Because you DON’T – and you won’t waste all that good New Year energy, either. Here’s how:

This year, resolve not to resolve, and change resolutions to intentions.  I invite you to make a new New Year’s tradition for yourself: review, preview, and new view.

First, the review. Give yourself a good space of time: a couple of hours, an afternoon or evening if you can, some time during the last week of the year. Sit down and think about how this year has been for you, from the good to the bad, and include the weird. Write it all down, as if you were sitting with your coach and mentor (in this case, God and your angels and guides) and be as objective about it as possible.

Why? When you review the year quietly, thoughtfully, and objectively, you will begin to see greater patterns in your life. You will find places of true growth that you hadn’t planned on. You will very probably find out that times you thought were the absolute nadir of your existence aren’t as dark and horrifying in retrospective. You got through them – perhaps permanently changed, but you got through them. And for every task you completed, every hurdle you jumped successfully, every triumph, no matter how small – congratulate yourself. And thank all those wonderful people Upstairs who are your guides and teachers for being there with you.

Now preview. Think about your goals for the next year. Divide them into different sections: for example, physical (the material world), mental/emotional, and spiritual. Write down everything you’d like to accomplish. And I mean EVERYTHING. Then, prioritize them. If you could only do three in each category, which ones would they be? Then, which two? Then, which single goal in each area of your life is most important? Once you do that, you again may see a pattern. The four, six, ten things you wrote down under mental/emotional – what single thing do they all point to? You’ve probably found a goal you’ll be passionate about.

And finally – new view. This is where we take those resolutions and turn them inside out. Don’t concentrate on things where you’ve been unsuccessful before. Dump ’em. Just for this year. Instead, ask your heart what it really wants. Make affirmations instead of resolutions. Affirmations are part positive thinking, part reprogramming, and a whole lot more constructive that resolutions. Even the word “resolve” sounds like you’re dealing with a problem . . . not raising a hope and a dream. Here are a few that some friends have used over the past years (and they have all worked wonderfully)

  • INSTEAD OF I will go to church (synagogue, temple) every week TRY I deepen my dedication to Christ (YHWH, Allah, Buddha, the Goddess) and His (Her) Work for me.
  • INSTEAD OF I will donate x-dollars to charity no matter what TRY I settle into a giving path – locally, gently, with meaning. I make a difference in the world.
  • INSTEAD OF I will go to the gym every day – lose ten pounds – stop smoking TRY I love myself unconditionally, and take care of myself the way I would a cherished friend or lover.
  • INSTEAD OF I will learn a new language – join social clubs – volunteer at nonprofit organizations TRY I discern what single thing means most to me, and shape my life around it.

Changing resolutions to intentions can be miraculous, can’t it?  What we want to model here is that, while it’s certainly laudable to want to make our lives better, sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees – literally. We are so busy focusing on one particular thing that we think might make things better that we forget to look BEYOND the particular task to what we are trying to accomplish. If we leave the path open for the Universe to take part in our journey, rather than insisting we must know every twist, turn, rest stop and gas station ahead of time, then we usually find that the road is (a) more beautiful, (b) easier, (c) shorter, and (d) far more fulfilling that we could have traveled on our own. Many blessings to all of you – may this be a holiday of peace, joy, truth and beauty for all.