The Resolution-Stress Cycle (10 Examples of Resolutions Versus Intentions)

The Resolution-Stress Cycle (10 Examples of Resolutions Versus Intentions)

Learn why the resolutions you make most commonly fail, dump you into "The Resolution-Stress Cycle", and how to turn that all around

Did you ever notice how often the resolutions that you make in your life actually fail? I did! If you are saying “yes” then know that you are not alone. We commonly make resolutions around New Years although the lessons learned here can be applied on any day of the year. Research actually shows that over 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. They just don’t ever come into fruition. This perceived failure can be very stressful and can dump you into what I call “the resolution-stress cycle” so it’s time to learn what you can do instead to turn that all around.

So here is how it goes. You feel stressed about where you are in your life so you make these resolutions that ultimately fail, and then you feel like you fail. Your brain starts the negative self-talk, “you are the biggest failure”….”you do this every year”….”fail fail fail over and over again..” Then you start talking to yourself, “I am such a failure”. That brings on more negative thoughts about you and your current life such as guilt and shame which just adds more and more stress and you get caught up in the whirlwind of “the resolution-stress cycle”.

So what is a resolution anyway? Well it is a finite expectation, a hard and fast goal usually related to something that you want to fix about yourself or your life. Resolutions focus on a specific concrete outcome, an endpoint requiring perfection which is frequently out of reach and unattainable.

So you may be wondering about 2 things about now:


#1–How do I get out of the resolution-stress cycle? (if you are currently in it)


#2–How do I prevent it from happening in the 1st place ever again?


Great questions! And the good news is that I have the answer to them both and that is this: instead of creating resolutions at the end of each year (or any day of the year), instead create intentions (so instead of creating resolutions, create intentions)

So what are intentions? Intentions are broader ideas reflecting the direction you want to go for in your life, where you would like to aim. Intentions are more inviting and freeing as they focus on the journey, not a specific endpoint. And in that journey, you will find personal growth and abundance which will propel you and move you forward in the direction of your choice.


Let’s go over some potential examples of resolutions vs intentions:

  • I am going to go to the gym and take fitness classes 2x/day every day vs I am going to take more fitness classes
  • I am going to lose 50 pounds vs I am going to lose weight
  • I am going to drink half my body weight in water every day vs I am going to drink more water
  • I am going to get all of my charting done at work vs I am going to bring less work home at night
  • I am going off of all social media vs I am going to limit the number of hours I spend on social media
  • I am going to sleep 8-10 hrs/night vs I am going to get more sleep
  • I am going to finish reading all of the books I have partially read by my bedside vs I am going to get into bed earlier to allow myself to read more
  • I am going to volunteer every single weekend vs I am going to increase the amount of time I volunteer for organizations
  • I am going vegan vs I am going to increase the amount of plant based foods I eat
  • I am never going to say mean things to myself vs I am going to be kinder to myself with my words


And so you get the picture…right? You may be having some ideas in your own mind now about how you can change your resolutions into intentions for your greatest good. To help you move forward on your journey in the direction you want to go here are a few more tips. This is what I want you to do: convert any resolutions you have to intentions and from this moment forward, only create intentions…then
write them down /put them in your phone/tablet/computer where you can see them, look at them every day at least once each day and
decide what steps you need to take to get there – create baby steps – because it has been reported that when you create those steps, you are 3x more likely to succeed.

So get to it!

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Sherita D. Gaskins-Tillett, MD

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