Are you already thinking about your New Year’s resolutions? Not to be a wet blanket, but statistically, about 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February. And on the brighter side, who says you even need to change who you are in the first place? “I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions,” says life coach Jeannine Morris Lombardi. “People think, ‘Go big or go home,’ and they set goals for themselves that are sometimes unattainable.” When we don’t meet them, it’s all too easy to feel disappointed or even ashamed.
Instead of setting resolutions for 2023, imagine what it would feel like to start the year from a place of self-acceptance. Easier said than done, yes—but Morris Lombardi says that exercises such as journaling, meditation, and mindful movement can help us lean into self-love. With this mindset, your 2023 vision can be both optimistic and expansive, building upon who you are instead of seeking a “perfect” version of yourself. Here, a three-step guide to ditching rigid resolutions, creating intention, and moving toward the life you want to live.
Step one: Reflect
When Morris Lombardi coaches clients, she encourages them to reflect on the year that’s just passed. “Journal about your accomplishments, about where you felt stuck, and about things that you’d like to evolve,” she says. Ideally, this is a pen-and-paper process done solo, in a comfortable place. “Really take time to reflect on what you’re proud of from 2022 and what you want to bring with you into 2023—and what you want to leave behind,” she says. “I would take 30 to 60 minutes to ask yourself these big questions.”
Step two: Imagine
After reflecting on the past year, keep journaling. This time, answer the question “How do I want to show up in the world?” If helpful, Morris Lombardi says, you may want to write about people whose characteristics you admire. “I’m very big into mission-driven work, and when I think of a person who embodies competence and mission-driven work, I think of people like Michelle Obama,” she says. “It’s not somebody you’re supposed to be,” she says. “It’s just somebody who has attributes you hope to emulate.” As you consider how you want to show up in the world, think about who you want to be for yourself, your friends, your family, and your community.
Step three: Set intentions
“Let go of resolutions,” Morris Lombardi says. “Resolutions are typically very large, and there’s no road map.” Instead, she advises her clients to set clear, simple intentions that can propel them toward a well-defined (and achievable) goal. Think sentences, not long paragraphs. “The intentions are the most important part,” she says. “It carves out more of a plan that you can then manifest.” For example:
Reflection: I accomplished a lot of great things last year, but the pace isn’t sustainable. I feel like I’m running on empty.
- I intend to prioritize thriving, not just surviving.
- I intend to value rest and relaxation as much as activity and “doing.”
- I intend to check in with myself to see if I’m starting to feel overwhelmed.
Goal: I will dedicate one afternoon each week to restoring my energy.
And FYI, it’s okay for those intentions to change with time. “Continue to revisit the intentions throughout the year,” Morris Lombardi says. “We’re a work in progress, and our needs are constantly evolving. While the year mark is a great opportunity to do this type of work, you should do this at least twice a year to keep checking in with your core mission and values.”