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  • Michelle Faust

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new"

The title of this blog is a quote from Socrates. It is the perfect introduction to my opinion of New Year’s resolutions. Does the phrase cause a knot in your stomach, make your eyes roll back, possibly even bring up a groan from deep in your throat? Here we go again, folks. That time of year when we beat ourselves up and make that mental list of all the things bad about ourselves and how we will resolve to be better. I believe that most resolutions fail because they are created from negative thoughts. I’m too fat, too lazy, too poor, too unkind, too selfish, too whatever. The promise to our self to improve behavior is not a bad thing, in fact, the act of most resolutions are positive. The problem is how we frame it in our brains. You say, “I’m going to lose weight this year”! Your brain hears, “I’m fat and unworthy”. That feeling of unworthiness will doom you to fail. The other problem with resolutions is that they rarely come with a plan or accountability.

So, how does one go about making positive changes in behavior that stick? By setting intentions instead of resolutions. It may not seem like there is much of a difference but to paraphrase from the Merriam – Webster dictionary; Intention is a determination to act in a certain way, what one intends to do or bring about, a purpose. And here is an interesting definition, a manner of healing incised wounds. Could it be that a resolution picks at the wound and prevents it from healing, whereas an intention is a process of healing and growth?

Intentions allow you to come up with a fresh plan and create new behaviors. Resolutions are simply an attempt to fix negative behaviors. Put your energy into a positive mode and love yourself enough to want to be an even better version of yourself. An intention must come with a goal, a plan, and accountability. It needs to be measurable and realistic. Rather than, I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year by eating less and exercising more, set a positive intention and tell yourself I want to lose a reasonable 4-5 lbs. a month because I want to feel better and be healthier and I deserve it. Then create a plan such as weight watchers, low carbs, South Beach diet, whatever works for you. State that I will walk 30 minutes a day at least 3 days a week. If I fall off the plan for a day, I will not mentally abuse myself, I will go back to the plan the following day. I will designate (name) to be my accountability buddy and we will have weekly check-ins to keep me on track. My end goal is 50 lbs., a higher energy level, and better health. It’s all about positive thoughts, a measurable plan, and accountability.

Maybe you want to be more productive and make more money this year. Great! You can do it. Visualize what that extra money looks like. See yourself in a new car or a vacation, maybe reinvesting into your business to grow. Put the positive spin on it, by up-leveling you are creating something new and exciting. Here is what your intention might look like. I will set my alarm every morning an hour earlier so I can either exercise to ramp up my energy or meditate to clear my mind for the day. I will put together a daily task planner and prioritize what is most important. I will spend 90 minutes a day on income-producing activities (creating new business). I will set quarterly goals so I can revisit and revise to do what is working best. I will budget and invest X amount of money for a coach to guide me and keep me accountable and I will seek out a mentor to help me learn.

These are just examples, but I hope you get my point. Intentions are born out of self-love and the desire to improve for positive reasons. Intentions are creating new and motivating behaviors, not fixing the old and broken. You must train your brain to think in abundance and positivity. The more specific your plan is, the easier it will be to stick with it. If you focus on your inner self first, by meeting your needs, seeking balance, and embracing your gifts, you likely will make 2020 a breakthrough year. Remember you cannot have 2 opposing thoughts in your brain at the same time. If you are feeling stressed, state out loud what you are grateful for. If you are feeling self-doubt, run down your list of achievements (you have them). If you don’t feel like a champion, congratulate yourself for staying in the game. We are as powerful and successful as we choose to be.

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