Even though I haven’t set a New Year’s Resolution for many years, as January 1st draws nearer I inevitably ask myself, “Am I going to set a resolution this year?” The answer, after some thought, is always, “No” as I’ve never been very successful in maintaining them. And I’m not alone. According to The Statistic Brain, only 9.2% of us feel that we successfully complete our resolutions. So why set myself up for failure, is my view.

Instead, I usually reflect on what I’ve accomplished in the past year and what my hopes are for the coming one. In essence, I’m setting an intention.

To set a resolution, you first must focus on a problem. To resolve something is to fix a problem. According to The Statistic Brain, losing weight is the number one intention people set, followed by life/self improvements and making better financial decisions. In all of these, there is an implied problem and the outcome is the goal.

Setting an intention is different. An intention is an aim, a hope we have for ourselves. An intention guides us towards how we would prefer to be. The outcome is not as important as the process; if I wander from my intention, I can gently remind myself of it and refocus. I can bring myself back to my intention without feeling like I’ve failed. An example of an intention might be to try to be more present, or to practice courage. It might help to write it down so that you are able to remind yourself throughout the year of your intention and bring your focus back to it, if need be.

An intention is softer and gentler than a resolution. Setting an intention rather than a resolution feels like a kinder thing to do for myself.

So how about you? Have you set an intention before? If you were to set an intention for 2018, what might it be?