Setting Intentions Instead of Affirmations for the New Year

Dec 17th, 2015

success with new year resolutionsThe practice of setting resolutions or affirmations for the New Year is an annual exercise for many. We list everything that we think needs to be changed, set affirmations that “should” change our minds, and absolutely believe, for example, that come January 1, kale smoothies really will taste better after a one hour workout. Unfortunately, statistics show that most will not be successful in our resolutions – only about 8% fully achieve their stated resolutions.

Knowing that we are powerful beings with brains that are made to create a successful life, it is curious that resolutions don’t seem to pan out. Is there too much hype? Does the fitbit increase our anxiety to the opposite effect? Does anyone truly love (or even like) kale?

Some mindful living gurus have suggested that perhaps we are approaching New Year’s resolutions and affirmations incorrectly. One suggestion is that our lists for change are too long. Lasting change occurs via small steps; small, incremental successes power us to take the next step. Instead of massive change, pick one or two areas to focus on.

Another suggestion is that using intention versus resolution is more productive. Our minds resist affirmations that we may want to be true, but know are not true.

The fact is that practicing affirmations could increase, rather than alleviate, inner-conflict. It causes some people to push away aspects of themselves that aren’t lining up with their expectations, or to judge themselves harshly for not always having a positive disposition. At times, it becomes a set-up for self-blame by exaggerating the truth that thoughts make a difference into an all-or-none extreme.

This affirmation-mentality can create a double-edged sword. When things work out, it affirms our personal power and our connection to God, possibly even leading to a quality of hubris. When things don’t go our way, however, we can tend to become confused and disconnected, believing that we’re at fault for any imperfections in our life. Worse yet, it can lead us to blame others for the tragedies or illnesses they’re experiencing — becoming a strategy for distancing ourselves from the fragile nature of life. Karen Horneffer-Ginter, Ph.D. on Huffington Post

Authenticity is key when crafting intentions and this is where the grey area with affirmations can occur. Positive speaking and thinking also needs to be followed by positive action to truly effect change, so choose those areas where success may be achieved quickly to spur you on to the next intention.

Declare Your Intentions for the New Year TruthBomb

Danielle LaPorte has some great ideas for intention-setting, desire-speaking and they will work well even with a kale smoothie.

So speak the truth. Affirm your desire. Declare your intentions. Recall your successes. Your psyche will believe you. Your body will feel you. Your soul will thank you for the straight-up communication. Here’s how:

You’ve got an important meeting. You’re scared. You really want this to go well. Look in the mirror and tell the truth: I’m scared. I really want this to go well. I most desire to feel energized, creative, leadership and love. So far, your unconscious trusts you. You’re in integrity with yourself. This is actually helpful.

Now if you really want to get your energy up, state some beliefs out loud: I believe in the goodness of humanity. I believe that I’ve got what it takes. I’ve got the best intentions and I’m full of creative ideas.

Keep it up. State some facts, some evidence of your greatness — recall your successes: I nailed this the last time. I won the debate competition. I gave the best wedding toast ever heard. The team raved about my last round of ideas.

There’s more where that came from. You can give voice to what you’re doing that’s working in your life right now. I see that I am already living this in my relationship with my best friend. I am courageous with my partner. I’ve been having my most creative ideas ever this week.

If you want to keep stoking your fire, pour on the desire: I want this job. I really want to feel at ease. I desire for this pain to lift. I desire to be swept away by compassion. I intend to finish first in my league.

And then really go for it and state your intention: I am going to give this my all.

Super charge your New Year with a new approach. Think intention. Think positive, but follow it up with positive action to reinforce your desire to shift.

How are you kicking off your New Year? What is your one best intention for 2016? Follow it up with action.

For more information about empowerment, team building and transformation, contact Karen at 954.232.4486 or

Karen Pfeffer
Karen is passionate about sharing powerful programs on communication, empowerment, team building and transformation. With a father from Kansas and a mother from Puerto Rico, Karen has a unique cultural mix that has inspired her to challenge stereotypes and “push the envelope” at every opportunity. She co-founded Fire Power Seminars with Connie Phelan in 2006 to empower individuals, organizations, and companies to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

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