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General Articles

Try Setting Intentions Instead

By Alex Sutcliffe


Did you make any new year resolutions this year, and if so, have you kept them? If the answer's no to either of those questions, why not try something different? Instead of resolutions, which, let's face it, usually have an element of duty about them, try setting intentions, and making them positive, inspiring and specific.

Here are five tips for setting New Year's Intentions:

1. Use Positive Language

A resolution sounds like a should – a burden to take on or a pleasure to give up – there's nothing joyful or exciting about them. They are also inclined to be vague and unspecific. An intention, however, feels dynamic – it's something actionable that will keep you feeling committed and motivated throughout the year.

Notice the difference between a resolution, which sounds dutiful, and an intention, which sounds positive:

  • Resolution: I must cut back on alcohol

  • Intention: It is my intention to cut back on my alcohol, so I will go alcohol-free between Mondays and Wednesdays and manage my consumption for the rest of the week

  • Resolution: I must do more exercise and get fitter

  • Intention: It is my intention to take more exercise, and I will schedule brisk half-hour walks into my daily routine

2. Make Your Intentions SMART

Try following the life coaching tool of setting SMART goals or intentions, which are:

  • Specific – really get clear about what it is you want to achieve

  • Measurable – by how much do you want to increase something, for example, walking half an hour a day, or getting ten new clients

  • Actionable – something you can incorporate into your daily routine, or that is fully within your control

  • Realistic – avoid being overly ambitious, but make your intention something you really can commit to

  • Time-specific – by when do you want to have achieved your intention? Make sure to set a realistic deadline

3. Manageable Chunks

Cut any goals into manageable chunks, so that they don't seem overwhelming. 'I want to get a new job' is a big, daunting task. So chunk it down into manageable, measurable actions, such as:

  • 'This week I will rewrite my resumé, identifying my experience, strengths and transferable skills'

    'Next week I will research the companies that are a match to my aspirations, and send out three resumés'

4. Imagine How Good You'll Feel Once You've Achieved Your Intention

If you want to lose five kilos by a summer wedding, close your eyes and imagine the day, soaking up the atmosphere of the wedding, and the sensation of looking fabulous in your new suit, all those kilos gone. How great does that feel? Take yourself back to this feeling whenever you can – keeping your desire firmly in your mind will help you see it through.

5. Don't Beat Yourself Up

We all have failings, and you might let yourself down about something – that squidgy slice of chocolate cake, or overdoing the wine one evening – but let it go. There's no point berating yourself and giving up. No-one's perfect. Be kind to yourself, knowing that in the long-term, you are making serious improvements to your life.

A happy and positive 2019 to you all!

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Alexandra Sutcliffe...


a life coach
and hypnotherapist
based on
The French Riviera.


Visit her website:


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Monday, 28 January 2019    Section: General Articles
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