2022 has arrived, and with it many concepts and ideas about resetting/reframing what we all call “resolutions.” While I welcome this principle, there are a few things we need to consider in order to make resolutions really work for us. The idea of reframing needs to happen within a frame, just as the word implies. If we decide to go after things that are not helpful to us, or that mean nothing to us in the long run, we set ourselves up for failure. But the exercise of resetting ourselves is not about failing or succeeding, it’s about doing what’s good for us. Some of us will set goals because we feel we had some shortcomings last year; we feel a lack of something.
This presents us with a huge opportunity: to address what it is that we actually need. And this is a big fork in the path ahead of us. What are the things that we consider important enough to go after in the new year? Typically, the answer has to do with material things or physical appearance goals. The issue being that we set goals without investigating what lies at the heart of our desire. What made us consider these things? Do we feel poor, unhealthy, not taken care of? Once we determine what lies at the root, we have a chance to address the very cause of it. It may turn out that it has nothing to do with us not going to the gym enough, or that we don’t make enough money. The reason for dissatisfaction is almost always a thought pattern that prevents us from doing the thing that is good for us. If we just change what we do, we don’t address the cause of our doing. And so, come March, we will fall back into the very same patterns because our thinking has not changed. We will feel exactly the same by mid-year, as we felt on new year’s eve. What I am addressing here is the massive difference between doing and thinking- or activism (not the political kind) and being.
When we set goals that reflect an expectation, we are stuck in the doing process. Anything we do will be cosmetic in nature. It scratches the surface of the issue because doing is transitory. If, however, we set goals that are based on an intention, we move into the thinking process. Now our thoughts are challenged to move into a new direction which will reshape our actions. Consider this: “I want to lose 30lbs by the end of the year.” This is a goal that is deeply rooted in activism. It is what I call “object-oriented,” as it requires actions that will lead to that number decreasing. This is outside of your control because you don’t know if you will be able to lose those 30lbs. What if you get sick, what if the gym closes, what if you can’t afford the membership anymore or you sustain an injury that makes it impossible for you to work out? This is why expectation-based goal setting carries with it the principle of failing. It causes stress, and eventually, disappointment.
If, however, we base our goal on an intention, we don’t focus on mundane numbers but on a feeling that emerges from a change in thinking. We now express ourselves like this: “My intention is to do everything I can to feel good in my body,” or “I will take care of myself” – Do you see what happens then? You open yourself up to an abundance of possibilities that are reshaped anew every day. As long as you follow your intention the best you can, no matter what limitations or obstacles you encounter, you will be truthful to your promise. This will reinforce the power of change and inch you closer towards healthier thoughts, and thus, happier emotions.
If you’d like guidance on how to set your intentions, listen to our latest episode on the Human Value Entrepreneurship Podcast. Links are below.