Why You Should Scrap New Year's Resolutions And Start Setting Intentions

We need something simple that we can all do, that helps us navigate through the inevitable ups and downs of life over the coming 12 months, while staying focused on the things that matter most.
Stock photo of 2020 new year notebook with list of goals and objects on yellow background
Adrian Vidal via Getty Images
Stock photo of 2020 new year notebook with list of goals and objects on yellow background

As we step into this next New Year, let’s collectively make one big New Year’s resolution: to scrap New Year’s resolutions.

They do not work.

Legend suggests that New Year’s resolutions have been going on for over 4,000 years. Since the Babylonians apparently, but despite being one of the longest lasting traditions in western culture (who knew!), according to modern day research, they are disappointingly ineffective.

One study done in America found that just 8% of people actually did what they had set out to achieve at the start of the year and another study found that almost 50% of people who had written New Year’s Resolutions, had given up on them within the first month.

The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they are often a list of quite large goals that have been written down on a whim on 1 January.

‘Go to the gym and get fit’
‘Learn Spanish’
‘Cook healthy food’
‘Run a half marathon’
‘Go on more dates’
‘Stop drinking so much’

And if only 8% of people actually do what is on their list of resolutions, then for a whopping 92% of us, this list simply serves as a reminder of all the ways we have failed.

And this is why, we believe that New Year’s Resolutions have got to go. We’ve given them a chance for over 4,000 years and now it’s time to try something new.

We need something simple that we can all do. Something that will help each and every one of us step into the New Year feeling inspired and full of hope. Something that helps us to navigate through the inevitable ups and downs of life over the following 12 months while staying focused on the things that matter most.

What could be that simple and powerful? Setting an intention for your year ahead.

Why setting an intention is important

Setting an intention for your year helps to anchor you to something that is important to you in life. Something that inspires you and helps to guide the choices that you make and the actions that you take throughout the year. An intention can become your practical inner navigation tool that can transform not only your experience of life but the course of your life. We have seen intentions lead people on all sorts of journeys, from finding love to changing career.

Here is how to set an intention

Step 1: Choose your intention

There are three ways to choose an intention for your year:

Choose an intention that has you cultivating something you want more of in your life in 2020 eg. ‘2020 is my year of fun’, ‘2020 is my year of self-care’ or ‘2020 is my year of creativity’.

Choose an intention that supports a big dream or change you want to make happen in 2020. For example if 2020 is the year you want to change career then it could be that ‘2020 is my of exploring and experimenting’ or ‘2020 is my year of learning’.

Choose an intention that is a statement of how you want to turn up for yourself and in all that you do in 2020 eg.’2020 is my year of saying ‘yes’ or ‘2020 is my year of stepping into my power’.

Step 2: Declare it

Declare your intention to a friend or loved one. Choose someone who you trust who is encouraging and supportive and tell them your intention for the year and why it is important to you.

Step 3: Commit to doing three practical things that will help your intention to flourish in your life

Once you’ve chosen your intention for the year write down three actions that you are going to take this month to help bring that intention to life.

So for example if 2020 is your ‘year of fun’ then you could think of something that would be fun for you to do this month and get it booked into your calendar. You could set up an alert on your phone that asks you ‘what is one quick fun thing I could do today?’ and finally you could buy yourself a gift that will help you bring more fun into your life, like a pair of rollerskates or tickets to a comedy show.

And every time you tick one of those mini goals off your list then add a new one. And never add something to that list because you think you ‘should’. Leave that habit behind with the New Year’s resolutions!

So there you have it. A brand new ‘New Year’s ritual’ for you to try out this year. One that really could change your life.

Selina Barker and Vicki Pavitt are the founders of Project Love and creators of the Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020 journal – the end of year guide that helps you to say a proper farewell to 2019 as it comes to an end and create a vision and a plan to help you to thrive and create a life you love in the year to come.

For more from Project Love visit loveprojectlove.com