Wednesday, January 4, 2017

#EditYourLife: The Resolution

Welcome to a new year and a new segment here on The Reclaimed called #EditYourLife.

The inspiration behind this new series: wanting to get my act together. I am not perfect, nor to I try to achieve perfection. Perfection has never been a goal (mostly because its both unattainable and relative).

The goal of these sessions is just to have real talk about some real stuff we face. I don't pretend to be some sort of life expert, these are just my own personal views on things. And whether you agree or not, I want to hear from you. Below every post here on The Reclaimed, there is a comment box, and you are free to comment (respectfully of course) on anything shared or spoken about here. This is our chance to grow The Reclaimed community and have a chat together, and I am really looking forward to hearing from you.

So, let's get started!

For this first edition of Edit Your Life, I want to tackle something that is usually very trendy around this time of year. No, not snow boots or the latest coat styles.

I am talking resolutions. Typically around this time of year, we a sit and vacillate on all of the things that we want to do and hope to achieve and deem this list our resolutions list.

Admittedly, I have never been one for resolutions. I never really made very many, and those I made were quickly forgotten long before even the beginning weeks of the year. I propose we scrap resolutions all together and go for something different; the Intention.

The Intention is defined as "an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result, a purpose". There is action involved in intention. There is determination. There are results. These things cannot really be said for the resolution. The intention focuses on the small steps to get to the end result, a mark that is missed by the inspiration less resolutions we all fail at annually. 

Here's what I mean:

My first problem is that resolutions don't last. They just don't. Resolutions within themselves have no power to change us. That can only come when we exude the force of will to do the things we resolve. We can buy all of the Lululemon, download all of the Insanity videos, and get the premium deluxe membership to the gym, but if we don't will ourselves to go workout, especially when we don't feel like it, then the resolution dies, and dies an expensive death.

The intention is different. When you set an intention, you also set your mind on a trajectory. You look at the thing you intend to achieve. You focus on the result. You may create a vision board for your office. You may write affirmations and hang them in your bathroom mirror. But tangible steps are taken toward the result. You don't resolve to lose 30 pounds and get disappointed if you only get to 23 pounds dropped. You intend to lose weight, and celebrate every pound dropped as a victory.

My second problem with resolutions is that they usual center around ourselves. Usually, when you ask someone what their resolutions are, they might say working out, losing weight, saving more money, cleaning our houses more. We don't ever really say "spending more time with grandma" or "taking our nieces on the weekends".

Intentions can (and should) be communal. It's hard to imagine in our doggedly individualistic society, but we actually were not meant to live in a vacuum. We were created to live in community with each other. We all have people in our lives that we care for. So, intentions should not be strictly focus on ourselves, but others. How do we intend to be better to each other? How can we do better for each other? Setting intentions to care for one another reminds us that we don't exist on our own for our own, but we are part of a larger tapestry of people who need each other and care for one another.

My last problem with resolutions is that they typically do not have a point. What I mean is that when we ask someone what his/her resolutions are, they will answer with a flat answer like "to lose weight" or "to save money". But no one ever says "to lose weight so I can feel healthier" or "to save money to donate to charity more".

Intentions do just that. When you set an intention, that intention is followed up by a "so that...". You intend to save money so that you can go on that much needed vacay, so that you can buy that house, so that you can help your sister get through school, so that you can start that business. And once you see that intention written out or you say that intention and hear your own voice professing it, it comes alive to you. Every time you go to order out, you will remember that you want to save for a house and will decide it would be better to make dinner instead. Every time you want to make an impulse buy, you will remember that family vacation you're saving for, and will keep the cards in your wallet.

Intentions are powerful tools that can get us to our goals more pleasantly than the pressure of stiff (and often unattainable) resolutions. May I suggest sitting down with that already made list of resolutions you may have and going through each and finding the intention instead.

What are your thoughts? LET'S TALK! Comment below!