For a lot of us, the end of the year is a time of reflection. We think about what we’ve done during the past 12 months, how we’ve felt, and whether there is anything we want to change or work on in the new year. These desires for the future are commonly referred to as New Year’s resolutions, and they are notoriously hard to follow through on for many people. How many times have you set certain goals for the new year only to have them fall apart within the first few months?

It can certainly be difficult to make changes to your normal routine, especially major ones, but if you change your approach to New Year’s resolutions you may find that you have more success. Let’s explore how to set more mindful intentions for 2022, and help you start the year off right.

Focus on Setting Intentions, Not Resolutions

A resolution is typically something that you want to fix about yourself or your current situation, and this often inspires negative thoughts. For example, you may want to lose weight because you think you have gotten fat from overindulging this past year. There is often a negative energy attached to this kind of resolution, and not much of a plan for seeing it through. This doesn’t exactly set you up for a positive, mindful experience in the new year.

An intention, on the other hand, doesn’t have any kind of negative energy attached to it because it doesn’t focus on fixing something in your life. Instead, it inspires you to live better, to focus on the actions you can take to achieve your desires. For example, an intention could be something like “I intend to eat more nutritious meals this year because I deserve to look and feel healthy”. This gives you something positive to focus on throughout the year, and a sense of meaning and direction in your life.

Reflect on Your Intention

It can be easy to get caught up in other people’s New Year’s resolutions, especially these days when they often flood our social media feeds. If we’re reading through and find that some of them sound particularly good, then they may influence our intentions, whether we realize it at the time or not.

Therefore, once you’ve determined your intention, it’s important to make sure that it is something that you truly want for yourself. You’re more likely to follow through on your intention if it is meaningful to you and your life. Take some time to reflect and ask yourself why you want this intention and how committed you really are to seeing it through. Try to be specific – something like “it will make me happier” could use deeper exploration. Why would it make you happier? And how?

Don’t Be Discouraged if You Get Off Track

Life happens. Don’t get down on yourself if you’re not living and breathing your intention every single day. If you do feel yourself getting off track, remind yourself that this is difficult, practice some self-compassion, and then reflect on your intention again. Is this still something that you want? Does it still resonate? If so, recommit to your intention and keep on moving forward. Every time you pick yourself back up and carry on, you increase your chances of success.