Resolutions Are So Yesterday! Try Setting Intentions Instead

 In Better Life, Goals

I’m excited to have a great friend and mentor as a guest for this week’s tip.  Darcy Luoma is an amazing life coach, speaker, trainer and especially an amazing person.  


I used to go into the New Year armed with a list of resolutions just like everyone else. I was going to do all the things we’ve all said we were going to do: be healthier, work out 5 days a week, give up sugar, call my grandma faithfully, save more money and spend less time on social media. 

And by early February, there I was curled up with ice cream and Facebook wondering where it all went wrong.

Stop resolving

Even the word resolution doesn’t feel quite right. It has this finality to it. It is supposed to be the end. But if each year is a journey, why do we declare its end at the beginning? And so, after many years of failed resolutions, I read an article about intentions and decided to do things a little differently. I realized that setting a single intention for the year could help me make the changes I wanted in my life and keep me from feeling like a failure.

So what’s the difference? Whereas resolutions usually focus on behavioral changes, intentions are more changes to your mindset. I think of mine as a guiding principle that I try to live into all year. For example, in 2015 my intention was to Create More White Space—unscheduled time on my calendar. Rather than being specific about what behaviors that might entail, setting the intention helped me evaluate different opportunities and choices that came my way throughout the year by asking myself “Does this get me closer to my intention of more white space or further?” Decisions got much easier. It was probably my most successful intention ever, and really revolutionized the way I live and work. The nice thing is all that carried over into 2016, and I still have lots more white space in my life, even though it’s not my ‘official’ intention for this year.

Good news!  You can have an intention of your very own! Some people prefer a single word, around which they can focus their choices and energy.  If a word feels too limiting, go ahead and pick a short phrase—but keep it specific and understand what you’re really trying to achieve! If you keep landing on things that feel more like goals or resolutions, try to understand your WHY behind each one, and you might just discover your intention.

Darcy Luoma, MSOD, MCC, ORSCC, CPCC, BCC, is a dynamic speaker, a certified executive coach, and an organization development specialist who helps individuals, teams, and relationships be more effective with less effort.  Learn more at For her latest newsletter with the full version of this article, click here.

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