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For the New Year, Set Intentions, Not Resolutions


What will Your Intention Be?

Maybe you’ve been here before: you set a resolution for the new year, stick with it for a few days or weeks, and by the time spring rolls around you have already “failed” at keeping your resolution.

Why does this happen? When setting resolutions, it’s natural to fixate on something we consider problematic or negative about ourselves. We want to eat less of something (sugar, carbs, meat, etc.), do more of something (exercise, sleep, socialize), be more or less of something (more outgoing, less chatty, the list can go on); and all of these resolutions seem to indicate that who we are isn’t enough. And when those resolutions fall by the wayside, which research has proven that they do, we’re left feeling a little bit like we failed…and that we’re still, somehow, not good enough

Intention setting, on the other hand, is different. In the practice of yoga, we set an intention at the start of class. Sometimes this is guided by the instructor, but we are always free to choose one thing to focus on to help keep us present in the moment. In a class, that can be anything from letting go of self judgement to cultivating gratitude to sending energy to a specific person in our life who needs a little extra.

Whatever your intention is for 2019, consider it less about making yourself “better” and more about living in a way that feels better to you and others.

For the new year, an intention can be both specific and global. You can set an intention, for example, to practice non-attachment (known as aparigraha in yogic philosophy). This intention can mean that each day, you make a conscious effort to let go of attachment to the small incidents that crop up throughout the day and cause frustration. This intention can also allow you to make a conscious effort each day to let go of a past struggle or challenge that may be still holding you back.

Some examples of intentions include

  • Practice mindfulness
  • Spread kindness
  • Cultivate peace
  • Nurture gratitude

An intention will allow your life to flow. As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about buying a gym membership or special shoes or certain foods.

At Retreat in the Pines, we encourage the practice of setting intentions rather than setting New Year’s resolutions. Our yoga instructors and retreat hosts have a heart to help you cultivate a sense of contentment and living better, rather than thinking you need to be better. Take a look at our upcoming winter retreats. We’d love to have you as our guest and help you move through your year with a positive purpose.