• Ariana Friedlander

Resolutions, Goals, or Intentions, oh my!

Research shows that somewhere between 80%-88% of people who make New Year's resolutions fail to fulfill them. In fact, most people give up before the month of January is even over. Statistics like this coupled with my own personal experience (AKA many failed resolutions) have led me to stop making New Year's resolutions many many moons ago.

That said, the transition from one year to the next is an opportunity to set my sights on creating positive changes in my life and business for the year ahead. Giving myself the time and space to reflect on the past year, envision the year ahead, and create plans to align my day-to-day with the big picture has enabled me to improve my productivity and increase my sense of fulfillment in life and work.


If you're like me and cringe anytime someone asks about your New Years' resolutions, pause before you reject the notion altogether.


As Judith E. Glaser always said in our Conversational Intelligence certification program, "Words create worlds." It's important to acknowledge that we have physiological responses to words and phrases. Behind everything we say or hear, there is a deeper meaning that has been carved out over the course of our lives as well as that of our ancestors.


Phrases like New Years Resolutions or Goal Setting or Setting Intentions all carry a lot more meaning to each of us than meets the eye.

Years ago when I started leading the Annual Planning Workshop, one woman raised her hand during the goal-setting portion. "Goal setting stresses me out," she confessed, "I just can't do it. Do you have any advice for me? I really want to make a plan for this year. Does it have to include goals?"

I was all too eager to answer her question as I have felt similarly. There are times where things rub us the wrong way and we need to push through that discomfort and other times where we do better abiding by what feels best for us. Setting goals, resolutions or intentions is one of those areas where I have found there is truly not one right way to do it, there is the best way for you.


If you experience resistance to goal setting or resolutions or planning in general, it's worth investigating where that comes from. What's the story you're telling yourself? What past experiences have informed that story? How do you experience that resistance in your body? What's that resistance telling you?

Reflecting on the source of your own resistance is the best way to move beyond it. Are you afraid of disappointing yourself? Are you afraid of success? Are you innovative and continually striving to balance staying true to your values and purpose while leveraging lessons learned from experiences (something that traditional goal setting or planning programs don't accommodate)?


There's no sense in forcing something that does not sit well with you on a fundamental level. So no, if goals don't inspire you, you don't need to set any to craft an awesome plan for 2021.


Do what feels best for you - it could be setting intentions, making commitments, choosing a word for the year, or making resolutions. Whatever method or framing inspires you to follow through on turning your aspirations into reality is best. It should not feel so heavily burdensome you become one of the 88% of people that give up before you even started in earnest.

Do you have aspirations for 2021 that you want to keep? What if you could amplify your ability to succeed with just 20 minutes of journaling? Register for the next Journal Jam on January 13th and start 2021 off with momentum to keep your hopes alive this year.

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