Photo by Robert Heiser on Unsplash
Did you notice there was no mention of New Year’s Resolutions or goals? I haven’t been very successful with either.
A recent article on the AARP website made so much sense that I decided on a different approach. In the article, Diane Rabb, psychologist and author, explained that:
An intention is something you want to manifest in your life or a guiding principle you want to live by. While resolutions are hard and fast goals that are either achieved or broken, intentions are broader ideas - the beginning of a dream or desire for something that you want for yourself.
Resolutions tend to focus on smaller goals like maintaining good posture, exercising more, or cutting down on sugar. An intention has a broader focus - relationships, careers, self-improvement, or travel.
It’s wise to commit to an intention, making it part of your everyday thinking for optimal effectiveness.
Changing the conversation from an endpoint to a journey means a greater likelihood of success without failure. Instead of setting a goal that is likely to be broken, many folks turn over a new leaf.
Years ago, I learned that resolutions rarely lasted and goals fell short; setting intentions was an exciting alternative.
It has been a year since my husband of 62 years died of COVID and dementia. The year was fraught with highs and lows, laughter and tears, new experiences, and bittersweet memories. But it is a new year and time for a new beginning.
So, let’s look at two of my 2022 intentions: scrapping negative self-talk and aging well and see how that focus might work!
Scrapping Negative Self-talk
Self-talk is the critical voice inside your head. You might not realize you’re talking to yourself, but everyone does. This voice might tell you what you did wrong, observe something, or babble like a brook. Self-talk, which can be positive or negative, is crucial to your well-being and profoundly impacts how you feel and what you do. Being mindful of how you talk to yourself helps you change and affects your mental well-being.
I am a master of negative self-talk - from criticizing how I did something to ruminating over things I should have done better. It seems to have increased recently. Here is a list of 100 negative self-comments. Which do you use?
The AARP website offered Four Tips for Setting Intentions. I plan to use them to get started. The steps are as follows:
1. Choose a broad, less specific goal for an intention than you would like to work on: Eliminating negative self-talk.
2. Get specific about ways to achieve my intention:
Be aware of what you say to yourself: My self-talk is typically negative, but I am practicing to be more of a coach than a critic. Let Emmet show you how.
Ask yourself if what you are saying is true: Is telling myself, “I can’t do this, true?”
Put your thoughts into perspective: There are other options.
Then ask yourself — what is a more helpful thought: Numerous resources are available.
Practice thinking good things about yourself - seeing a glass as half full rather than half empty: Focus on what I have done, what I can do, and what I have learned.
Identify your strengths as part of your self-talk, and accept compliments for what you achieved. Saying thank you is a start and very difficult for me to do.
To improve positive self-talk, look, think, and act positively.
3. Plan how to incorporate those efforts into your regular routines. Start the day with daily intentions and use affirmations. Some people argue that affirmations don’t work; I believe that what we focus on expands; so, I focus on positives.
4. Note your intentions and successes in a journal during the year. Continue using my journal but expand on it.
Scrapping negative self-talk helps me age well and leads to my second intention.
1. The broad goal: To age well - to be the best I can despite my life circumstances.
3. Incorporate those choices into my lifestyle: Study more about the diet and dimensions of wellness, identify a purpose. Then take action.
4. Use my journal to record my progress.
Whether you set goals, make New Year’s Resolutions, or have intentions, Happy New Year and make the year a good one.