Why We're Setting Intentions Not Resolutions in 2023

by Livvy Giblin, 20th December 2022

New Years Resolutions are not revolutionary things. They’ve been around for millennia, and we’ve been setting them for over 4,000 years. So we feel like they could probably do with a little reboot, what do you think?

With the work we do here at Clementine, we spend a lot of time thinking about the moments that happen in our lives that can pile on to the already large amounts of pressure we feel, so that we can make sure we’re supporting people when they need it most. And naturally, the discussion of what feelings the new year brings came up. 

New beginnings can be wonderful things. A fresh start. A clean slate. Time and space ahead of us. The dawning of a new year can fill us with lots of hope for what could be. We set resolutions based on all of this, and we can often feel really good going into the new year because of it too.

But with it can also bring immense pressure to really *be* something, *do* something or *have* something that we feel currently lacking in. And having ambitions or setting resolutions is no bad thing - it can help keep us accountable and give us a goal to strive for. But there seems to be such importance placed on being a “new you” in the new year, and we see it especially from all of the messaging we take in from brands, social media, all media even. It can leave us feeling like we’re not enough just as we are already.

So what do we do? We pile on the expectations of ourselves. We set ourselves hard and fast rules so that we can reach the heights of what we’re being told we should be like.

But what if there was a different way to reframe this common cultural expectation? We’re all about refraining mindsets, so why not try this on for size in 2023… 

Intentions over resolutions

What if this year, rather than setting ourselves resolutions, we set intentions? Studies show that over 85% of new year resolutions fail, and that’s understandable, as it can be hard to go from 0-100, like from Christmas indulging to strict diet overnight. And some of the main reasons they do fail is because of setting unrealistic resolutions, self-doubt and setting resolutions without figuring out why you really want to make a change, if at all. And how to create a really robust plan to actually achieve these too.

Enter, intentions. And what we mean by this is, rather than setting yourself up for high amounts of pressure to keep to strict and often unrealistic goals, why not think about how you want to feel this year. You can set intentions that relate to all the things you’d usually set resolutions around: your body, your finances, your career, your creative endeavours, your relationships…

But rather than setting hard and fast rules like “I will lose 2 stone” or “I will get a promotion” or “I will save £10k”, why not reframe each of them based on how you want to feel and why you want whatever change you want, and focus on this first to lead you and help cultivate the actions you need to take to get there. Let’s dig into an example a bit here:

Ok so, let’s take the resolution: “I will lose 2 stone” 

How about this as an alternative: ”I want to feel comfortable and confident in my body” 

Once we’ve outlined that intention, we don’t even need to take action on it right away. Maybe we just let it sit with us. Let it soak in. Let us consider or visualised even how it might feel to be comfortable and confident in your body. Then, when it feels right, you can start thinking “Ok, well what will it take for me to feel comfortable and confident in my body?” 

And that may be taking a look at what you’re fuelling your body with, it might be thinking about an exercise or sport you use to enjoy, or would like to try, and seeing where you can do that near you. Maybe it’s going to the shops and buying clothes that you feel really good in. Perhaps it means reaching out to someone for help, or maybe it’s looking at ways to build a better relationship with your body. It may even get you thinking more holistically about what goes into feeling comfortable in your body. Maybe it means you prioritise good quality sleep, or start unfollowing accounts that bring about self-comparison. 

When we start changing the language around what we want for ourselves, it can completely change our mindset around the task at hand. “Exercise” might become “movement”, “food” might become “fuel” and so on.

And this is why it can be important to even consider these “resolutions” as “intentions” instead - when we go into something with good intentions, we can often hold ourselves a little more gently in our process to bring them to life. And more often then not, we’ll find ourselves getting more creative about all of the things that can help serve that intention. It’s more out-of-the-box kinda stuff. 

And our intentions don’t have to be super specific either. They could be things like “I want to have fun,” “I want to find rest,” “I want to feel more creative.” You don’t need to have it all figured out by Jan 1st too. Maybe it’s your intention this year to explore all of these things. To spend time cultivating a different mindset than other years to how you view progress, boundaries, your time. 

A good way to start with setting intentions is to get clear about the previous year. Reflecting back can really help us clarify what’s important to us, so why not try these before thinking about your intentions. Grab a pen, paper & a cuppa and think answer the following:
  •  List all of the moments that brought you joy in 2022
  •  List all of the things you feel most proud of in 2022
  • List what you wish you’d have done more of in 2022
  • List what you wish you’d done less of in 2022

Now that you’ve taken some time to outline what felt good (and also what didn’t, that’s important too) you’re much more likely to be in a great frame of mind to approach some intentions for 2023 by taking inspiration from the moments that brought you joy or pride, or that you just want to make more time for. 

So why not join us in our year of setting intentions over resolutions? We think it might make you have a refreshing perspective on holding yourself gently whilst also making the changes that feel best for you in your life. And while finding new things to do throughout the year is always worth while, it’s also important to think about what you don’t want to be doing to. We talk more about this in our new No-Year Resolution movement where we think about all the stuff we want to stop doing in 2023 so that we can clear room for all the things we do want to be doing. 

If you want some help setting intentions for the year ahead, we’re running a free virtual event on Monday 16th Jan 2023 at 7:30pm (GMT) where we help you review, reflect and reclaim you in 2023. You can register for tickets here.


Want loads of useful tips and tricks for bossing life?

Join our newsletter and get loads of great stuff straight in your inbox!

We respect your privacy and you’ll
only hear from us every 2 weeks.

Fab, you’re signed up!

Our newsletter will wing it’s way to you every other Sunday, bright and early so you can have a read in bed and start the week with a bang.

Sorry, An error ocurred:

This site uses cookies that store non-personal information to provide services to you and to help us improve our site.