At Nutritious Life, we don’t believe in making big, lofty New Year’s resolutions. Mostly because, for many reasons, they have an insanely high rate of failure, as opposed to goals. Goals work because you can continually work towards something, rather than bombing an overzealous commitment. For example, it’s easier to eat less chocolate when you set a goal to eat chocolate only as a conscious indulgence, versus vowing to never eat chocolate again.
We should also always be trying to do better, not just to kick off the year, but all 365 days of it.
Still, January is a time that naturally feels like a new beginning, and making plans to live a healthier life is not a bad idea. So, instead of resolutions, we’re setting intentions. What’s the difference?
It’s subtle, but it can be powerful. Resolutions come from a place of “changing” something you perceive is wrong with you or your life and willing yourself to right it. When you start from a place that feels negative and then try to force a massive shift, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Intentions, on the other hand, are plans you make to align your life more squarely with your purpose. They come from a place of slowly, consciously evolving towards whatever your most nutritious life might look like. Intentions come from a place of promise and are about the journey, not the outcome.
To help you get inspired, we’re sharing the intentions the Nutritious Life team is setting this year to start 2019 on the right foot.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)
Team NL’s 2019 Intentions
Okay, this may sound really corny coming from a mushy person like myself, but my intention is to love more. Yes, yes—I love a lot, all the time. I love up my kids (I still eat them up like crazy even though they’re a teen and pre-teen), my man, my friends, etc. But…I also get cranky, irritable, and moody often from small things, things that sometimes matter and sometimes don’t. Regardless, the mood never helps and usually just compounds whatever is bothering me. I know (because I do do this sometimes) that when I zone in on something or someone I love (even about the annoying situation I may be tackling!), I feel calmer and happier and usually whatever was bothering me passes. I’m pretty sure that it makes everyone else around me happier too. Oh, and because I always need to have a list, a list of intentions is no different. So here it goes. 1. Loving more. 2. Reading more fiction (I read mostly business, self-help, and science) 3. Being diligent about daily meditation (I usually get in five days a week) and…
My 2019 intention is to be more mindful. Not in a “I will try to meditate more” kind of way, because that’s not me, and that’s never going to happen. And not in a, “I’m only going to do one thing at a time from now on” kind of way, because that’s also never going to happen. Rather, I’m just going to try to be more aware of the four things that I am doing at the same time, or maybe curb it to only three(!). Sometimes I’m shoveling down a snack while trying to finish a work report while trying to email my kids’ teachers while trying to make a grocery list…and an hour later I don’t really remember doing any of it, because I was thinking of what else I needed to cross off the list next. In 2019, I just want to be a little more present in everything I do, and be more mindful of what I am doing and how I’m doing it. I’m hoping the benefits will be the healthiest, happiest, most successful and least stressed version of myself to date. (I wrote this intention while cooking lunch, sending a text, and checking an email, so I’m hoping I remember my intention come January. Ha!)
One of my intentions for 2019 is to read at least one new book every month, from the library!
I use reading as a time to disconnect and recharge away from technology, and my intention is to become more conscious about actively carving out more time for it and holding myself accountable by having created a measurable goal. As for the library part? Curling up in bed with a tangible, hardcover book (and the physical feeling of turning the very last page!) is a somatic experience for me that I don’t get from an e-reader. There are even studies that have been done on it resulting in better sleep, and the benefits of feeling the material pages in your hands for increased understanding of plot development and the ability to retain the details (crazy!). It also contributes to a sense of belonging: the experience of scanning the bookshelves, reading the inner covers, taking home a book that’s been enjoyed by potentially many others in NYC…it’s a bit different than receiving your Amazon prime delivery in .2 minutes. My intention will give me more time to disconnect from my sprinting work-mode brain, as well as feed my constant desire to continue learning new things, sinking into stories, or discovering topics I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
My intention for 2019 is to be more flexible. I like to plan ahead, and I value my daily routine, and when my plans or schedule get thrown off I’ll be the first to admit I get a little (okay, a lot) moody. I’m totally aware of the effect this has on the people I care about, yet it’s still tough for me to take a deep breath and just go with the flow. Life can never be perfectly planned out. Just because the sandwich shop is out of my favorite order doesn’t mean we need to leave and go somewhere else. (Yes, that happened, and the place we went next was out of my boyfriend’s usual order. He dealt with it.) My 2019 intention to be more flexible means adjusting my morning routine when family comes to visit without making a fuss, understanding when weekend plans have to change because my boyfriend needs to work, and realizing that we don’t have to book our vacation flights seven months in advance so I can start to think about what time to leave for the airport. To me, being more flexible will mean being a better family member or friend to the people I care about by not being a total drag when things don’t go as planned.
Jill Cromwell Wang
I’m taking mine from something Amanda Freeman said at Masterclass: To do more worse, versus less better. I can often be hard on myself always wanting to be better at something and with two small children, marriage, work, family, friends, and my own personal interests and hobbies, it’s hard to do everything well. Instead of beating myself up over it, my intention is to embrace that I may not do everything perfectly, but I have a full life with a lot of things that make me happy and give me passion and purpose.
My intention is to work on living with more honesty. I come from a family tradition that tends towards doing what you’re “supposed to do” (i.e. the thing that looks acceptable to people on the outside) rather than what you really want, brushing things under the rug, and avoiding conversations about uncomfortable topics. (A lot of us do, right?) I realized recently that that the first step in breaking out of that tradition is learning to be honest with yourself. Once that’s in place, honesty with other people comes more naturally, and that leads to stronger relationships and more happiness overall (for you and the people you love). Part of this was inspired by a session at Masterclass, in which the founders of Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life had attendees “write a letter to yourself from your deepest truth, from clarity, from courageous honesty.” I did the exercise when I got home (I was working during the event!), and I was blown away by the results. For me, there was so much I knew about myself that was lurking just below the surface of what I usually acknowledge. Taking the time to parse that out was incredibly helpful, and I plan on doing that exercise more regularly to check in with myself and work on my overall intention.
My intention is to run again. I am a trained yoga teacher, and I could spend my life in a yoga studio, but running for me is more Zen. Maybe because for me it is very hard. I stink at it! It’s a mind-body experience I cannot get even from the ultimate breathy yoga class in 102-degree heat. I’m not naturally as fast as I am flexible. I am not naturally athletic or built to run, but it makes me feel amazingly and instantly more positive, productive, and empowered. It resets my health in minutes. A tiny bit goes such a long way. It makes me feel like I’ve covered ground when in my life I feel the opposite. It makes me feel like I am saving my pennies instead of buried in guilt when I don’t use the “$99/ month Barre or Cycle” packages, and I still feel puffy. It makes me feel very, very humbled. No matter what, running shows up for me as a tangible life reset for my mind, body, and spirit. Oh, and I listen to books on tape, so it’s a total win-win. And I am outdoors which I love and don’t get enough of. When you see me out there sweating, huffing and puffing like a sad little shuffler, I actually feel like Rocky inside. Ha!