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Intentions vs. Resolutions

As the new year begins, many take this time to evaluate their lives. It is a new year, a time to start over, a time to begin again. The first of the year awakens our desires to break old habits and seek what we believe will bring self-improvement and happiness. It is time to put into motion an action plan. Gym enrollments peak, diets are stated, people try to stop smoking or break other habits that hold them back. Resolutions are made with the idea that willpower alone is the driving force that will bring results. A belief that the stronger, the harder one tries to achieve their goals the better it will be. Often, New Year's resolutions are made on January 1st that are long gone by the end of the month.

According to a University of Scranton study, Dr. Kathleen Hilton states only 8% of people achieve their goals when they set a resolution. The biggest problem is that usually a resolution is an external motivation. It is driven by what one thinks they should do rather from what one really wants to do. The basis of the resolution is one of conflict, two opposing forces and impossible to maintain. The resolution lacks an internal desire. On the other hand, they are more likely to succeed when an individual chooses to pause, reflect and evaluates their goal.

Setting an Intention is an internal motivation which goes beyond willpower and effort. The goal that is set has a stronger foundation because it satisfies a personal need and a self-commitment.

Just imagine this scenario: Two patients are in a cardio support group, recovering from a heart attack. Both patients were told that their heart condition is life threatening. They were given advise to make changes in their lives that will improve their health. Each were given doctor's orders to follow a therapeutic diet and increase their physical activity, such as walking. Their motivation was strong and wanted to do what was needed to improve the quality of their life.

The first patient is eager to make the necessary changes. A plan is created that eliminates food slowly that were risk-inducing and began to find healthier food choices. This patient made small changes over time and thru trial and error, found recipes that were not only healthy but also pleasing and tasty. A new appreciation for life was created and a major healthier happier lifestyle. Mealtime took on a new meaning to be a time to come together with family and friends that fed the body, heart and soul.

The second patient went cold turkey by removing the foods that cause heart disease. No thought was given in what foods are suitable replacements or how to prepare meals that are also pleasing to taste. An approach of denial and lack of choice dominated a quick fix in eating bland meals. In doing so, the second patient was eliminating all pleasure at mealtime. Consequently, this behavior is impossible to maintain and is an experience of self-sabotage. In short, the first patient found an internal anchor of what brings pleasure and self-satisfaction. It allows one to continue a new behavior and maintain a life that moves towards success. The second patient choices were external, responding to doctor's orders. Rather than creating one’s own motivation, this patient gave away one’s own power of choice and decreases pleasure in life. In essence, the second patient was running away from the next heart attack, running away from the dread and displeasure. This is an example of negative willpower. It is like giving a monkey a hammer and the monkey hits the nail with unfocused aim. Sometimes the monkey hits the nail on the head but misses it most of the time. Whereas, the first patient shows a positive willpower. The mode of making the choices were consciously moving forward with purpose and focus is on one self as the center of life.

So this year be mindful and choose a plan that supports your absolute freedom. May your goal be lasting peace within. The results of that full combination is motion forward growth and pleasure. This year, find objects of attention that allow you to soar. The more you feel good, the more the cycle vibrates and evolves. Pause, reflect and ask for what you want rather than don't want. Be Well, Be Happy, Be Free.


Roseann Petropoulos is a Wellness Coach, a certified Reiki Master and Hypnotherapist. Private sessions are available to release and break the cycle of old habits. Roseann believes that our vibrational energy creates our thoughts and well-being. Create a new lifestyle. Call for a Free phone consultation: 732.894.3197 or


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