A recent movement in the self-help industry has us setting New Year’s intentions, rather than resolutions. What is the difference and what are the benefits? – I hear you ask. Before we go into that, let me ask you a question: have you ever actually kept a New Year’s resolution? If the answer is “No”, don’t despair. This is the case for the vast majority of people. In fact, studies show that around 80% of people will break their New Year’s resolution, many within the first month! We big men might set New Year’s resolutions revolving around health, relationships, finance and careers. We might have every intention of keeping them. However, when real life kicks in we can quickly become frustrated at the fact that New Year’s resolutions are easier said than done.
The power of New Year’s intentions
Rather than falling into the old trap of breaking resolutions, this year we big men should instead be developing our intentions.
The new year may already be a couple of weeks old; however, now is as good a time as any to for us big men to make 2021 our b*tch
A major reason why people fail to uphold New Year’s resolutions is that they are setting too many and they are too big. For instance, we big men may want to lose a certain amount of weight, or make an extra $100,000, or some of us may want to quit smoking and drinking. In fact, each one of these resolutions is a major lifestyle change requiring considerable determination.
We big men can become quickly overwhelmed and feel dejected after the realisation dawns that changing oneself is a tricky business. Popular wisdom states that it takes around three weeks to break an old habit and forge a new one. However, recent research reveals the actual amount of time it takes is more like 66 days.
This is where the power of setting a New Year’s intention comes in. An intention affords the intender more allowances, whereas a resolution is either hit or miss: you achieve the desired outcome or not. An intention is about process, and doesn’t focus solely on the end goal.
How to make New Year’s intentions for big men
As intentions are centred in the here and now they require mindfulness to bring about a desired change. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- How do I want to feel?
- How, as a big man, do I want to come across to others (i.e. confident)?
- What do I want to achieve?
- Why do I want this? How will it change my life?
- What resources do I have to help me achieve my desired outcome?
- What steps do I need to start taking?
For us big guys, let’s take the goal of becoming a runner as an example. A New Year’s resolutioner might say something like “This year, I’m going to run for at least 5 km every other day!” A noble and worthy goal indeed. However, when the early mornings, blisters and shin splints begin to accumulate it will become increasingly difficult to stick to this requirement. Instead, if the goal of becoming a runner was re-stated as an intention it might sound something like: “I intend to dedicate part of my day to running.” Notice the difference?
Intentions give you permission to enjoy the process of self-improvement. They are ideas to live by rather than specific goals you may or may not meet. Setting intentions gives you power to create the life you want on your terms.
Declaring your New Year’s intentions to others is a sure fire way of enhancing the probability of success. Tell your loved ones, friends and colleagues. Join a group with members who are on a similar trajectory to you. This will give you leverage over yourself as you will have other people holding you accountable. Working with a mentor or coach is another great way to ensure accountability to someone other than yourself, it can also give you a structured system to follow.
We big guys can set ourselves up for success this year, whether that be in relation to health, relationships, finance or career goals by avoiding the trap of a standard New Year’s resolution. Most importantly, we have to enjoy the process of self-improvement (and look good whilst doing so). Hopefully, you now realise that intentions are ideas to live by that help reform our daily habits in order to achieve long-term goals.
By Anthony Cheadle