The Difference Between Decisions and Intentions

If you read this blog at all (and bless you, if you do) then you know I'm not wild about resolutions. To put it bluntly, I don't believe in them. I've read (and it's not confirmed, but somehow it seems accurate) that 92% of New Year's resolutions fail and nearly 50% fail by the end of January. Talk about trying to play against the odds. Why do these resolutions fail? My opinion is that resolutions (for the most part) are intentions and not decisions. They are grandiose ideas with no solid foundation and don't allow themselves to be attained simply because there is no action plan around them. They are not decisions no matter how strongly you feel about them when you make them in the first place.

What are some common resolutions? Over the years, I've made a number of them including (but not limited to) lose weight, be healthy, save money, spend more time with my kids, get less stressed at work, be a nicer person... the list goes on and on and on.

So why is this year different? I didn't make any resolutions. I've made a simple decision to take things as they come and live my life. I've taken a very basic idea and I'm applying it to several layers of my life. I'm going to be bold in 2012.

Wait, isn't this a resolution? No, and I'll tell you why. Resolutions are intentions. So, what's the difference between a decision and intention?

A decision is immediately followed by action. An intention is followed by more intentions. 

"I'll eat healthy starting next week." "I'll exercise more once I start getting up earlier." "I'll save more money after I buy this thing I've ALWAYS wanted..."

Sound familiar?

My January 1 "pep talk" was a decision. You know the scene in Philadelphia when Tom Hanks is on the phone and he hears that a file is missing? Do you remember what he did as soon as he hung up? He started talking to himself. He kept repeating "Every problem has a solution." It was his mantra. I've started doing the same (and I don't care if people look at me weird when I start talking to myself) and I have my own mantras. I've already tackled a few seemingly overwhelming moments by using these. I'm writing again (which is a huge accomplishment if you want to know the truth). I've made investments in myself and in my health. There are moments that make me stop and realize, "This is life. I'm LIVING again."

The bottom line? I've taken action. I'm not waiting for some magical moment to make me start. Looking back, it started a few weeks before the New Year but I was finally able to put it into words and began molding my life around it. I'm continuing to take action. And things are getting better. Maybe I'm not making HUGE advancements. But I'm comforted by the baby steps. A friend told me a few months ago that he hoped that "with each passing day your life gets a kernel easier for you." That has completely stuck with me since then. I've realized that I'm all about the kernels. They add up pretty quick.