Many of us often end a year feeling a little depleted, burned out, and burdened by the invisible labor of the holidays, making it difficult to focus on what taking care of ourselves should look like. However, as we start to think about ushering in a new year, it's the perfect time to reflect on the past year—both our wins and what we are grateful for, but also the places where we struggled. Some of us are hoping to become pregnant in the coming year. Perhaps you want to freeze your eggs, feel more like your old self postpartum, or have recently found out that you are expecting. Maybe you just want to feel less exhausted. There are many reasons why we feel the need to set our sights on a healthier, more balanced new year.
Often, we think about the idea of resolutions, but we want to shift the focus to the idea of intentions. So, what’s the difference between a Resolution and an Intention? Well, let's start with resolutions, which, let's be honest, often feel restrictive. The word resolution comes from ‘“resolve,” the idea of gritting our teeth, pushing through, fighting to accomplish a task, often denying ourselves of something.
Psychologically, this is hard going and hard to stick to, as smaller strict tasks are often difficult to keep up with every day. If we don’t meet them, we can instantly lose momentum, thinking we have failed to continue, making quick progress. In fact, of people surveyed, only around 10 percent say they have carried a resolution through to the year's end.
Intentions, on the other hand, are much more about mindfully crafting goals and aspirations, including those for our health. But rather than focusing on the negative aspects of things you “need to do/shouldn’t do,” it's about positively holding space for something we want to welcome into our lives—a general direction and purpose. It doesn’t hinge on making sure you hit targets; it's more about trying to head towards the place you’d like to be.
How to set an Intention
So how about you? How do you go about setting an intention for yourself and actively pursuing it?
Set Aside Time for Your Goals
Psychologists state a good way to head towards meeting an intention is to hold space for it. Often, this literally is about holding calendar space. If your goal is to move your body more, perhaps it's adding time to do it in your calendar. It doesn’t matter if you use that time to do a hardcore workout or perhaps just a few stretches. It’s more about the fact that you’ve intentionally made room for it to think about how your body is feeling.
Keep it Simple
Simplify your intention into a one-word mantra - ours is “Radically Better Nutrition.” It could be something like “Take better care of my health”, “lowering stress” or “being more present.”
Write it Down
Yes you need to write it down, save it on your phone, or have it at the top of your journal, even make them your laptop background. Studies have shown that people who write down their intentions are twice as likely to say they feel like they are closer to meeting their goal if it's on paper.
Attach your Intention to an Already Established Habit
If, for example, your intention is to be more mindful this year, then perhaps try setting aside 5 minutes to focus on breathing just before your morning cup of tea—a habit you already have firmly established in your routine, as research shows it's far easier for us to build on an already established routine than to try and create an entirely new one at a different time of day.
Be Open to Your Path Changing
One of the big differences between resolutions and intentions is that your path towards improvement does not have to be linear. You just want to set out in the direction of bringing about positive change in your life. If you get busy and forget, you haven't failed; you just have the opportunity to try working towards your intention again in a new way, on a new day.
Our Radically Better Intention
At Needed, we are leading with both our system of products and the goal of “Radically Better Nutrition” in the new year. We are here to support you in getting the nutrients you need, to help you avoid depletion and by giving you the tools and education you need to work out what sort of nutrition you need for your lifestage.
As outlined above once you set an intention you can take multiple paths in heading towards your goal. We are working towards our goals through various resources.
Using our research to consistently pursue both what the optimal amounts of nutrients are, and the best possible ways to deliver them.
We just launched our very intentional and more sustainable packaging.
We will continue expanding the work of “Needed Labs” and launch new products to help fill an array of needs. Continually assessing ways to make our products more sustainable.
We are also expanding our journal offering, with conversations and education resources to help you both with nurturing your body. But also community and more emotional conversations, about the different experiences many of us experience through fertility, pregnancy, and parenthood.
The Bottom Line
Irrespective of your goals for the year, aligning yourself with a positive path through a new intention can channel your energy effectively. It's about nurturing yourself, not imposing restrictions.