Intentions not resolutions: how to create good habits in 2016


It’s almost 2016 (eep!) and it’s that time of the year when the best of 2015 and 2016 to do lists come rolling out.

Do you make resolutions at the beginning of the year?

I don’t. Controversial, I know.

I prefer to set intentions. Ahem, you ask, how are those different to resolutions?

Intentions are about setting the focus for the year and aren’t as vague as resolutions. Intentions are about creating new habits and breaking bad habits. They’re much much more focused and specific, taking into consideration personality traits (i.e. are you a Questioner or an Obliger? An Abstainer or a Moderator?). Research shows that it takes at least 10 weeks to build a new habit, good or bad.

So rather than just resolving to lose weight in 2016, a more intentional approach would be to identify a realistic (to you!) and consistent plan of action (i.e. a green smoothie  with protein for breakfast each morning, putting 3-4 workouts or classes in the diary each week, going to bed by 10:30pm each night, etc) with each part of the plan helping to establish good habits and remove bad habits. A few checkpoints, be they monthly or quarterly, will help to course correct if the plan isn’t working.

The main thing is that your plan needs to be specific to your needs and wants, not something cookie cutter from an off the shelf programme. Only you know if you are the type of person that responds to outward or inward motivation, that needs to abstain from certain food or activities or can indulge every once in a while.

What are my intentions for 2016?

Time: My biggest intention is to be more aware of how I spend my time. I find myself drifting back into spending a lot of time surfing the web, reading trashy gossip sites. I want to be more intentional with my time, focusing on the things I need to do, like my coursework and research and use books (including the Kindle app on my iPhone) not the internet to unwind. My plan is to give myself 20-30 minutes each day to web surf and after that, any internet time needs to be focused and productive.

Exercise: I want to continue my habit of exercising 4-5 times a week, with a scheduled (and booked!) spin class on Mondays and 4 at-home resistance training sessions. I’ve just started Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide 2.0, which is nicely split into 4 workouts per week, running a total of 12 weeks. Getting from week 13 to week 24 is a good target for me, especially knowing that I was able to finish weeks 1 – 12 of Kayla’s guide with good progress.

Writing: I want to post at least 3 times a week on this blog – a mix of recipes, nutrition information based on what I’m currently studying and other wellness / self-improvement posts. I’ve finally made 2 posts a week a habit and want to experiment with 3 posts for the next three months.

What are your intentions for 2016?

Photo by kazuend

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  1. I’m creating a list of projects I can start checking off, interspersed with a few more life style changes that could do me some good. Happy New Year!

    Posted 12.28.15 Reply
  2. Hi there, love your intentions and the point about focus. For me, I realised some time ago that my resolutions were usually based on self-hatred of some form or another e.g.: [because i am fat and ugly] I will lose weight/eat less x/run x kilometers per day… now I think about what values I would like to develop during the year, ones that call to me in some way. Wellness is one value I will explore again this year… [I love and appreciate my amazing body and] I will feed it foods that make it feel great (for me that is primal/paleo). I guess applying intention to this I can think about how I will manage tricky things like work morning teas, quick breakfasts and such. So thanks. 🙂

    Posted 12.31.15 Reply
    • Such a great point about most resolutions being grounded in self-hatred. And one of the reasons why most resolutions tend to fail, sadly. Best of luck for 2016!

      Posted 1.1.16 Reply
  3. Love love love this post! I love setting intentions… whether its each morning, each yoga practice or workout. It doesn’t always have to be about changing something that you don’t like about yourself but could be something that you want to work on or improve! Best of luck to you! xxx

    Posted 1.7.16 Reply
    • Such a good point! Intentions are so important to set the tone of the day. Thanks for stopping by x

      Posted 1.8.16 Reply