Setting Intentions, A Spin On New Year’s Resolutions

Kelsey Pacetti
Kelsey Pacetti

“If you feel inspired to use the new year to help you reset or change habits: great. And yet, the old you has survived every terrible day, every hard thing, every awful circumstance, and every heartbreak you’ve ever felt. The old you is a fighter, and that’s worth celebrating.” – Emily McDowell

This year has been more than tough. We all have had our silent battles on top of a global pandemic. Be proud of how far you have come and everything you have accomplished, big or small. There are so many positive things to look forward to in the new year. With that in mind, I am encouraging you to skip making limited resolutions but rather set intentions for the new year. An intention is an idea that you intend to carry out, whether that be a goal, purpose, or plan. Practicing setting intentions will help you have a more meaningful day, month, and year.

I am sure many of us have felt guilt only a few weeks after making a resolution. Seeing what others have accomplished only breaks us down more. The best part of an intention is that it is ongoing growth for yourself throughout the year. Resolutions are often something we think we should or should not do. A resolution is very one and done with the expectation that they last all year long, and you deserve better than that. Growth takes time, and you should not worry about being perfect.

To help you get started on your intentions for 2021, here are a few ideas:

  • Show up for yourself: More self-love, self-respect, and self-care

Show up for yourself in ways that honor your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs as they arise. Maybe that means including a self-care activity that you enjoy in your everyday planner scheduled for a specific time. Maybe that means saying “no” and setting boundaries with loved ones. It could even be recognizing how you speak to yourself and trying to practice more positive self-talk. Whatever showing up for yourself looks like, know that the way you care for others is how you should care for yourself.

  • Bring light into other people’s life

This can be fun! There are so many ways to bring light, love, and kindness into the world. Pay it forward at your local coffee shop, paint kindness rocks and place them around your neighborhood, or text a loved one your appreciation for them. Something small like a rock or a text can go a very long way.

  • Embrace change and vulnerability

Try to gain awareness and understanding of yourself and the fact that change is inevitable. Oftentimes vulnerability can be perceived as a weakness, but I strongly disagree. Being vulnerable can open so many doors. Brené Brown once said, “When you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity.” The process will be hard, but it’s so rewarding in the end. The doors that can be opened through vulnerability are courage, authenticity, empathy, and so much more.

  • Hustle and work hard with the peace of mind that you are loved regardless of the outcome

This is not an easy one, especially when our thoughts tend to eat away at us. Many of us “should” ourselves, meaning that we tell ourselves that we have an obligation to do something different from what we are doing. Should might sound like, “you should be grateful to be alive” or “you should be more productive.” These thoughts tend to take over, and we may think that they are helping us get stuff done, but in reality, it is only judging what we have or haven’t done. Changing “should” to “could” reduces shame and promotes autonomy. Remember, how you speak to yourself matters. End your days knowing that you did your best and give yourself some love.

  • Live authentically and unapologetically

Be yourself! It’s easier said than done but keep trying to be yourself. The more you become comfortable with yourself, the more you will love yourself and carry yourself with confidence. Stop apologizing and start saying thank you. One example of this would be “I’m so sorry I’m late” and changing it to “thank you for waiting for me” and another “I’m sorry for being so sensitive” and changing it to “thank you for being accepting of me.” Just keep being your wonderful self.

  • Practice mindfulness

Being mindful and practicing mindfulness can play a huge role in many aspects of your life. I personally try to use the Headspace app or the MyLife app a few times a week. These apps help me relax and find a moment for myself. I used to have a difficult time (and still do sometimes) staying in the present moment. It can be hard not to think about what you need to get done or what’s going on tomorrow, or what happened yesterday. The more I have noticed myself doing this, the more I wanted to make the change. Whenever I find myself drifting to another thought from a conversation with a loved one or drifting when watching a movie. I tell myself that I am worthy of this time and continue to have fun or rest. Try responding kindly and notice the wonderful things happening around you right at the moment.

These are just some of the intentions I have made in the past; and that I am still working on to this day. As 2021 begins, make time to reflect on what is going well and what is not going so well. Take things one step at a time, and don’t try to do everything perfectly and give yourself room to fail. Remind yourself often that growth is a process. Start each day with love, empathy, compassion, and of course – intention. You deserve an amazing 2021!