THE BLOG
12/30/2015 04:41 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2016

Intentions Are Better Than Resolutions: 3 Steps to Not Mess It Up in 2016

In the weeks leading up to and after each new year, we talk a very good game. We say things like, "This is my year," and "I'm finally going to create a gym routine," and "I will get a better job."

We look to outside things, people and places to make us happier, fit, richer or more likable. Wouldn't it be cool if it was just handed to you, because on Dec. 29 you said so? Of course it would. That's how we're (somewhat) conditioned now. Ask, order, demand and it is on your doorstep in less than 24 hours. What most of us fail to recognize is that we need to inventory our internal thoughts, feelings and conversations before we speak one word of desired improvement.

This is the reason why most people ditch resolutions before the end of January. They slip back into the coma of that old existence and thinking. It's oh so easy to do, isn't it? Your inner critic creeps in and more and more, you start listening to his or her bullshit. They say things like, "You failed before. Why even bother?" and "Bad things will happen if you try things a different way," and "No one likes a fatty."

Even though you set this goal or bought that gym membership, you tune in to your ego and eventually go back to Netflix marathons and pizza binges, because it is seemingly easier. But what if you told that ego to piss off? What if you stopped listening or changed the conversation entirely? What if you stated your intentions better and had a back-up plan for when this inner asshole feels the need to tell you that you suck at life?

Fortunately, all of this is possible if you are willing to do more than just say you want to be skinny and go straight back to the loving embrace of your doughnut. Put the doughnut down and grab a piece of paper and a pen.

  1. Inventory your current goals, purpose, desires. What did you do in the past six months to accomplish any of it? Now you know if you're all talk, half-assing it or a real go-getter. Rate your performance -- and be radically honest with yourself. No one is going to see this but you. Now decide if there is something you want to add or subtract from this list.

    Focus on your strengths here. If something didn't meet your expectation, ask yourself why and if it's a "weakness." If it's not in your wheel house of things you feel strongly about taking on, chuck it or find someone who can provide the desired result.

  2. Set your intention. One at a time will suffice for now. And let's be realistic shall we. Do not make it so unattainable that you set yourself up for failure. If you're feeling like an over-achiever, pick three goals at the most. Grab that paper and pen and write it down. Each intention needs its own space or piece of paper.

    "I intend to _______. I feel _______ and I am worthy of this or better." On the flip side of this intention write something that finalizes it for you. It could be amen, so it is, it is done, etc.

    Here is where intentions are vastly different and way better that resolutions: Ask yourself how it would feel to be, do, have this result, this new body, a better income? Not how do you feel in six months, but how does it feel right now? Act as if time doesn't exist and it's only here and now.

    Feel that when you write it and really feel that when you finalize it. Now, find something to keep them in. You will want to go back sometimes and remind yourself of how far you've come.

  3. Now forget it. Yep, file it under the stuff you're not going to obsess over or worry about. I know I said to keep them, but you do not need to re-read these every day to know that you want this. Focus instead on that feeling. If or when you hear that doubtful voice, let the negativity come into your thoughts. Now take a breath and ask yourself if you believe this nonsense. Now you jab, jab, right hook with the big guns of positivity.

When your inner critic crops up to call you a fat ass, always been one and always will be, you tell him, "Even though I have struggle with weight, I am living a healthier lifestyle now."

If that jerk tells you that you cannot be successful and your ideas are garbage, you tell him, "Struggle is not part of my life experience. There is no limit to the good things happening to me."

One of my favorite mentors says that what holds us in a state of stuck-ness or under-achievement, is worry, impatience, fear and distrust. So if we consciously intend to worry less (this means you, control freaks), be patient and forgiving with ourselves (because we're not perfect), lean into fear (with positivity and even a sense of humor) and trust our own ability (because we are awesome in our own way); it only makes sense that we will accomplish so much more.

What do you intend to do this year?

Lisa Schmidt is a Dating and Relationship coach in Detroit and the author of her own blog. Dating and relationship questions can also be sent to her directly Ask Lisa Here Or join her on a live Periscope stream here