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New Year Intentions vs. Resolutions

By Diane Dunton,


By now, most of you have seen or read articles on New Year's resolutions and how to be successful this year. My thought is this: if they have not worked in the past, then they probably aren't going to work any better this year.

Why do we make resolutions? What does 'resolution' mean? What would happen if we reframed our thinking and made intentions instead?

Resolution Defined

According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, a resolution is an act or process of resolving, answering or determining. In essence, it is to solve something. We make resolutions to lose weight, get a new job, be more attentive to our relationships, be more organized - just to name a few. The underlying focus is that something - past behavior - is not working for us and we need to solve the problem.

Typically, we come to terms with a problem, reconcile ourselves to solve the problem, and then create an action plan. But, if there is no consequence to a problem, then for most of us, we will not create an action plan to solve it. And therefore applying resolutions doesn't work because if there is no consequence, what's the problem? And so, the stated resolution - although a nice thought - goes by the wayside.

Intention Defined

So, what if we reframed our thinking and stated what we want to accomplish in terms of intentions for the coming year? An intention is something one wants to accomplish or bring about. The focus is on the future, not the past. The focus is on possibilities, not solving past problems. The focus is hope, not on what has not worked.

Positive Change

I like intentions. I believe in intentions. An intention is to bring about something. I believe if we state our intentions and put them into the universe, the universe responds. An intention is positive. An intention is hopeful. An intention is about possibilities. The universe will respond if we clearly state what we hope to bring about in the New Year. This may seem like semantics, but to me, it is a state of mind.

Instead of resolutions this year, write your intentions, give them to the universe and enjoy a prosperous and Happy New Year!

About the Author:

Diane L. Dunton M.S., president of Potential Released Consulting Services since 1996, has over 25 years of business and HR experience. Diane has received specialized training with National Training Labs, the Gestalt Institute, Center for Creative Leadership, the University of Michigan's Organizational Career Development and the Center for Reengineering Leadership programs. She has developed programs for over 25,000 employees and leads more than 20 workshops annually offering executive coaching, professional individual coaching and programs on leadership and strategic planning. She has appeared before conferences of up to 9,000 participants and her work has appeared in both U.K. and U.S. management publications, including the Society for Training and Development's Team and Organizational Development Sourcebooks (2003-2006).Learn more about Diane at's mission is to help job seekers find real, local, jobs in New Hampshire and reach their career goals.

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