As the year draws to a close, I wanted to wish you a very happy and prosperous 2024. I hope the year unfolds just the way you envision it, according to your hopes, dreams, and desires. You deserve to have an amazing year. I believe that, and I hope you do too.

And also to remind you that the end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on the chapters of our lives, acknowledging the lessons, joys, and challenges that shaped us in the past 12 months.

If you can avoid being trapped.

You see, as we gear up for the turn of the calendar, we’re often lured into the trap of formulating New Year’s resolutions, only to have them wither by February.

I didn’t make this up.

A Forbes study (October 2023) revealed that failing at New Year’s resolutions is so common that there’s even a slew of (unofficial) dates commemorating such failures—some sources cite “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day” as January 17 while others denote the second Friday in January as “Quitter’s Day.”

Forbes found that the average resolution lasts just 3.74 months. Only 8% of respondents tend to stick with their goals for one month, while 22% last two months, 22% last three months and 13% last four months.

I don’t know about you, but I’m no quitter. So, I have an alternative to the traditional approach to starting a new year for you to consider.

Set intentions instead.

Intentions that seep into the very essence of your life—intentions grounded in realism, sustainability, and personal growth. The is so important if you’re planning for retirement or if you find yourself in the middle of a big, messy transition where you feel lost, anxious, or uncertain (or all of that).

Right about now you might be thinking that I’m crazy because intentions and resolutions are the same thing.

Stick with me because I’m about to tell you why they’re really not.

Intentions focus more on cultivating a mindset or approach to life rather than achieving specific outcomes. They emphasize being mindful, present, and aligned with personal values. It’s deeper than just wanting to lose 10 pounds. It’s asking yourself why you want to do that.

Intentions are broader and more flexible than resolutions. They involve setting guiding principles or themes for how you want to live or approach situations, allowing for adaptability and growth.

It’s creating new habits centered around emotional and behavioral shifts rather than setting rigid, measurable goals that require specific actions or significant changes to achieve that outcome goal. Intentions also ease the pressure that comes with a New Year’s Resolution “all-or-nothing” mindset that pushes you into the quitter category if you fall short (even by a little bit).

It’s the difference between going on a fad diet to fit into a dress or pair of jeans by Valentine’s Day and a commitment to change the relationship you have with food so you take better care of your body.

Here are some things to consider as you begin to think about where you want to go (and who you want to be) this next year.

Reflection and Intention Setting:

Reflect on the past year, the highs and lows you’ve encountered, lessons learned, and ways you’ve grown. Rather than fixating on fleeting resolutions, usher in the new year by cultivating habits and intentions that nurture your physical and mental well-being as well as advance your goals.

Focus on making small, sustainable changes rather than drastic overhauls. Embrace consistency over perfection, understanding that stumbling blocks are part of the journey. Integrate these intentions into your daily routine so they become long-term habits.

When you focus on intentions rather than fixating on outcomes, you’ll be able to take steps every day toward your goal, you’ll drown out doubt, and you won’t get discouraged and become one of those statistics. Yes, it will be a slower journey. But, I promise you, it will be more sustainable and it will outweigh the allure of quick fixes (and disappointment when the quick fix doesn’t materialize).

Mindful Practices and Nurturing Wellness:

Be sure to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine in 2024. This could mean starting the day with reflective moments or practicing gratitude through journaling. Prioritize sustainable health habits like regular walks, balanced meals, and adequate sleep, focusing on nurturing your body and soul rather than pursuing extreme fitness regimens.

Practicing mindfulness will keep you focused as you create those habits that will have you living your best life. By design.

Achievable Milestones and Supportive Environments:

Break down larger goals into manageable milestones so you feel a sense of accomplishment. Celebrating smaller victories will keep you motivated to take the next step or take it to an entirely new level.

Be sure to surround yourself with a supportive community that uplifts and encourages you and is there to help you celebrate your wins (big or small).

So, as you look to 2024, I encourage you to consider setting realistic and achievable intentions that have your dreams, passions, desires, mindfulness, healthy habits, and personal growth as a foundation. Let these intentions resonate with your inner self.

Living by design, with intention, has been my overarching theme since I retired from my career a few years ago. The intentions and commitments I made to myself, along with journaling and fostering routines and habits aligned with my authentic self have allowed me to find clarity and purpose in this chapter.

If you’re in uncharted territory (or a big, messy life transition like retirement), I’ll be hosting a workshop on January 26th from 11am PST to 2pm PST that may just be what you need to put you on the path to finding clarity and purpose in your next chapter.

We’ll be talking about finding your authentic self when you aren’t that girl any more based on the lessons I learned when I wasn’t Hydro Girl any more. I’ll share insights and offer guidance on this journey of self-discovery and renewed purpose. And, at the end of the workshop, you’ll have a new structure to your day (because, face it, the old one is gone) that is based on a new chapter and lifestyle you’ve designed.

Grab your seat here. I can’t wait to see you there!