My updates for the last few January’s have gently suggested that New Year’s resolutions are not particularly helpful because they focus on making judgments of presumed negatives’ whereas conveying intentions puts the focus on creating long lasting strategies leading to positive conclusions.
Both resolutions and intentions have similar objectives – achieving an anticipated outcome as a result of an effort we put forth. But a resolution is comparable to making a promise subject to circumstances that may be beyond your control. And when the result we anticipate does not materialize, it can be a distressing blow to our self-worth.
I see an intention as more in tune with on-going, underlying principles fundamental to a person’s core values. As such, it is open-ended, not derailed by initial failure because there is a Plan B and Plan C. It has to do with standards of conduct rather than prospects of immediate success, with the emphasis on a long lasting modification of behavior that is a gradual and often wearisome process.
Philosophical musing aside it is the degree of our commitment to the declaration, be it resolution or intention that will determine the outcome.
Grandiose pronouncements will not shed pounds, produce good grades or earn you a promotion. Here is a helpful and practical acronym to guide you to realizing your goal – P.A.M.S (Positive, Attainable, Measurable, Specific)
Positive – You want to generate good energy, not give in to petty impulses.
Attainable – It makes for a flamboyant moment in the sun when you declare that you will end hunger by the end of the year but that is a hot air pronouncement that cannot be achieved. Better to commit to volunteering at the local Food Bank to truly do some good.
Measurable – This is the gauge that turns puffery to progress. Compare ‘lose weight’ to ‘three pounds by Easter.’ There is too much room to wiggle without a benchmark in place to accurately report where you are versus where you started.
Specific – A resolution is without teeth if it’s ambiguous. The more defined the goal the more likely to have a shot at reaching it or at least making an honest appraisal of how far off you were from the mark.
For all your goals, short term and into the future, may this year be one of progress and growth.