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This Year, Forget the Resolutions by Ashley Kurtz

The New Year’s resolution often is defined by health and wellness. Everyone wants to lose weight, start running or cut down on sugar in their diets. But these resolutions can fall flat. They force us into a state of discouragement and fear of failure, where pressure is counter productive. In this 21st century life, we have more than enough external forces criticizing us or tiring our exhausted bodies and minds. Why should we add to that?

So, instead of making resolutions this new year, try making intentions. The concept of resolutions involves stress and the pressure to perform, while intentions are a more gentle way to set goals and establish habits.

The power of perception should not be disregarded. A resolution is the ‘action of solving a problem’. This implies a focus on fixing what is wrong with us. Negativity is not conducive to making real change. It is too easy to fall short of what is often an unrealistic goal.

The idea of making intentions is to change our daily mindsets. Intention is ‘the determination to act in a certain way’. We should become conscientious of how we want to live, without getting hung up on a specific outcome. Hoping to lose 20 pounds in a month and then becoming ashamed when that doesn’t happen is self-defeating. Instead, you should develop an internal drive towards becoming the person you want to be. This is the advantage of intention over resolution.

To set a New Year’s intention, first focus on a specific word or phrase that describes how you’ll act in 2018. Maybe you could intend to show love towards family and friends. Or if weight loss is important, you could intend to make healthy choices. The better articulated an intention is, the easier it will be to fulfill it.

Your second step is to remain mindful of your intention through daily reminders. If you keep a journal or planner, write down your intention. Place sticky notes around your house or at your desk. Then, do something each day to demonstrate your commitment to your intention.

Make a healthy choice at your favorite restaurant to fuel your body, take a breath before honking your horn to cultivate patience, or cancel lunch with someone who drains your energy to bring more ease to your day. With many reminders, it can be that much easier to give your old friend a call to catch up or to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Also, because habits generally are formed after two weeks of continual practice, you soon will find it completely natural to live in a more healthy way.

Reflection is the final step towards realizing your intentions. Again, the ability to shape our physical wellbeing by mental exercise cannot be underestimated. Check in regularly with your progress and evaluate how you have implemented your intention. If you feel that you could act better or make more healthy choices, meditate on what you can do now to change that. It is too often that we either get caught up in past failure or the anticipation of future disappointments. Most sources of negativity stem from a memory of a recent event or the exaggerated imagination of a potential future event. Stay in the present moment. The new year should be a time of renewal so take a step away from the frenzy of resolutions. Instead, take the time to find what kind of change is important to you.

Ashley Kurtz is the Director of Operations & Business Development of Access Physical Therapy & Wellness. Access Physical Therapy & Wellness offers free wellness screenings for those who wish to improve their overall health and wellness. To schedule your free wellness screening and find a location near you and to learn more on physical therapy and how it can help heal your chronic pain, visit AccessPTW.com.

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