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Resolutions vs Intentions - How Perspectives Change Results

Camille Strate

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So, what's the difference? Every year, millions of people set out to make such-and-such resolutions for the New Year, only to find that by the time February rolls around, they've lost their focus and those resolutions are gone with the wind. It occurs to me that perhaps the whole idea of such resolutions are self-defeating from the start and perhaps we might like to consider modifying this tradition.

Our Choice of Words ~The Meriam-Webster definition of resolution is:

1: the act or process of resolving: as a: the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones b: the act of answering :

So, the question you might ask yourself is “Am I trying to RESOLVE something or make productive changes?" Because by sheer virtue of your choice of words, it's my guess that your intention has nothing to do with RESOLVING. It's likely to have more to do with changing some habit you're not all that crazy about. So, let's look at the definition of ‘intention':

1: a determination to act in a certain wayIt appears that this is much more closely related to what we're aiming at, yes? Because for as long as I can recall, sitting down to make those so-called ‘resolutions’ each year has been an effort in futility because I wasn't trying to ‘resolve’ anything. I was attempting to change a habit. . . . to make a determination to act in a certain way. In other words, I wanted to replace bad habits with good ones. Problem was, I was approaching the whole idea from a very skewed vantage point. The end result was always the same ~ NO CHANGE AT ALL.

Choose Your Words, Choose Your Thoughts ~Here's why I think the choice of words has a direct affect on the end result. Our minds are programmed from long, long ago, by whatever we were taught or shown or even experienced before we even knew what was going on. Our little 5-year-old brains didn't know the difference between a good habit or a bad one. We didn't even know what a habit was, let alone whether or not it might be something to ‘undo’. So, moving through our younger years, learning whatever we learned from the environment in which we grew, we gathered all sorts of information that ‘stuck’ with us into adulthood. Problem is, most folks don't take the time to evaluate all that stuff. We just toodle along, struggling with this or that and never stop to think about how much those teachings are now affecting us all these years later. But if we did(evaluate), what might we change? How might that evaluation affect true change in our lives? What if. . . . we were to rewrite our little ‘rule book’ to suit where we are NOW as opposed to where we were when we learned all that ‘stuff'?

If you were to sit down with pen and paper and take some time to write down all the things you believe in, you'd probably find that many of those things have nothing to do with what you REALLY believe. For examplet I was raised as a Catholic in a small Italian parish where everyone believed that if you ‘sinned’ you were going to hell. At any turn, some ‘grown-up’ could be heard saying things like, “You are going to burn in hell for eternity" if you happened to do something in your childish ignorance that didn't suit them. ‘Sins’ were unavoidable because, it seemed, everything fun was sinful. What kind of God would make so many rules? What kind of God would banish his child to an eternity of hellfire for saying a cuss word? My child's brain just couldn't wrap around all that crap, so by age 13 I'd denounced the teachings of the Catholic church and began searching for something that felt more merciful. I wanted no part of such a vengeful, angry God. Just didn't make sense to me.

RE-Evaluation of My Bible ~

Somewhere in my 22nd year, I had a conversation with my older brother, who challenged me to do this exercise. He said, “Why don't you take some time to write down all the things you THINK you believe and then go over the list and see what you REALLY believe NOW. What, of all those things on your list, did you come to find as truth in YOUR experiences as opposed to what Mom or Dad or Father DeMarco or Sister Virginia TOLD you? When you're done crossing off all the things you carried with you from childhood that no longer make sense to you, then you can begin making YOUR list of beliefs. Those are the ones that will make your Life what you intended it to be. Not the beliefs that everyone expects you to have. "

It was probably the most profound suggestion anyone had ever presented. And I followed it. From there, my ‘bible’ was written. The rulebook I live by because of my choices, not someone else's. And, each year when it's time for ‘resolutions', instead I look over those beliefs and see what still holds true and what doesn't. Then I revise and move on. And you know something? it's ever so much more effective in fine-tuning my Life. Because my INTENTIONS are clear and I'm not trying to resolve anythinig. I'm merely looking at what needs to be added or removed based on what I've learned, experienced and/or abandoned over the past 12 months. Kind of like cleaning out your closets. Do you still have clothes from when you were 5 years old? Of course you don't. Do you still read the same books you did then? Probably not. So why do you cling to beliefs that no longer ‘fit'?

Making Choices Rather Than Promises ~Most of us know the difference between ‘right and wrong’. We know, by virtue of experience, that some things are wrong not because someone tells us so, but because of the effects on ourselves tand others. If we do something that's hurtful to someone we love, it's ‘wrong’. They don't have to tell us that. We KNOW. The same holds true for the choices we make for our Lives. When we consider what feels right to us, it's easy to see what choices will affect the best for us and those we love. It's not about making promises. It's about knowing, deep insde, that something is right or not. Once we see, there's no need to ‘promise’. Because the natural next step in realization is adoption. If you stick your hand in a flame and burn the flesh off, do you “PROMISE" to never do that again? Nope. You just KNOW that it's painful to burn your hand, so you don't do it. Same goes with your Life's ‘rules’. You know what feels right, you know what works for you, you know when you're being true to your Self. So, why do you have to make promises to BE WHO YOU ARE? You don't. So, the next time you consider sitting down to make your ‘New Year's Resolutions’ perhaps you might like to, instead, rewrite your ‘bible’. You were given a mind for a reason. God is not going to banish you to eternal fire because you choose to live by your rules. There is no hell. Unless, of course, you live your life by everyone else's rules. That, to me, is hell on earth. No thank you. I'll take my chances on my way. And I trust that if there is a ‘God', she's going to rejoice in my choosing to seize the day.

Camille Olivia Strate is an author, empowerment coach and critter keeper in search of the perfect pasture. Among her many passions is assisting people in returning to their ‘true selves’ by way of empowerment coaching. She believes strongly in ‘paying it forward’ and lives by ‘do what you love and the money will follow’. Her latest book, “Whispers" is now available in eBook format. Hardcopy to follow soon! Visit her personal site at

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