It is customary to take a moment at the beginning of each new year to reflect and make plans for the year ahead. As a yogi, I see every day that I step onto my mat as an opportunity to reflect on my life, adjust my goals, and change my practice. It isn’t easy to achieve goals, make resolutions, and maintain healthy habits. Self-improvement techniques are not universal. To make positive changes, it is essential to understand the differences between plans, resolutions, and affirmations.

Let’s examine the differences between goals, intentions, resolutions, affirmations, and more in detail. Knowing the differences will help you select the best tools to achieve your desired changes.

What is a resolution

Resolutions are decisions to do or not to do something to positively change your life. You may resolve to stop a bad habit or behavior or adopt new healthy practices. A resolution tends to be general and vague. It is also usually set over a long period. A resolution could be to lose weight in the new year or to eat healthier food.

What is a goal

When you set a goal, you must take actionable steps to achieve it. Placing a significant goal can make it impossible to complete. It is better to start with small, manageable goals. As you gain experience creating and achieving your goals, you can move on to bigger, more complicated ones. The plan should be formulated and refined using the framework of five components. These parts can be remembered by using the acronym “SMART.”

Be specific. Your goals should be identified and defined. If you aim to engage in a specific activity, such as Yoga or meditation, specify the styles, techniques, and locations where you plan to practice.

Measurable. You should be able to easily measure your goal’s progress. If your goal is improving at arm-balancing yoga poses, you can measure it by the number of breaths you can hold, the Crow pose, and the Side plank.

Actionable. You should be able to clearly define your goal and the steps that you will need to follow to achieve it.

Relevant. Your goal and the steps you take to reach it should align with what is required to accomplish your goal. If you aim to do hot Yoga, you might purchase yoga outfits as a step. Shopping for clothes would be less important.

Set clear time limits for your goals. You should set a specific deadline. It is important to set aside specific days for working on your goals. For example, you can go to Yoga on Tuesdays or Thursdays. You can also practice Yoga stretching every 90 minutes during your working day.

What is intent

A positive intention serves as a gentle and brief reminder of what you want to concentrate on in the next phase of the day. This requires reflection and consideration and an evaluation of your current life situation and what you want to achieve. Setting an intention at the start of a yoga practice is common. The intention will remind you where to direct your energy, thoughts, and focus throughout your yoga practice. You can focus on the intention whenever your mind is distracted. You can choose to set an intention either in yoga class or in your daily life. You can have an intention that exists on its own or set it to help you achieve and resolve your goals.

What is an affirmation

A positive affirmation is short and positive. It is meant to reinforce a belief within the person repeating it. You can influence your subconscious by repeating affirmations throughout the day. Affirmations provide encouragement and support for you to achieve your goals and resolve. Affirmations can reframe your thoughts and guide you through difficult life situations. Affirmations can help to change your way of thinking and how you live. Avoid negative self-thoughts, and overcome any low expectations that you may have. Replacing any externally imposed negativity with positive affirmations is important, especially if other people have doubted your abilities.

An affirmation can sound like hope or wish, but it should not be written that way. For example, saying, “I wish I was more kind to other people,” does not constitute an affirmation. Instead, it would be “May I show kindness and compassion towards all living beings.” If you feel discouraged often, try to do this in a structured or organized way. List the negative thoughts you often repeat and replace them with positive verses or words. The verses will replace negative sentences with positive sentences.

What is the best one for you

Resolutions by themselves are rarely productive. Most people who make new year’s resolutions don’t keep them because they aren’t actionable or precise. Using a resolution as a catalyst or prelude to setting up definite goals is better.

Anyone can use affirmations to create a positive outlook and help reframe negative thoughts. Affirmations can also help you identify and reinforce your positive qualities throughout the day.

Everyone who wants to change their lives should have clear, attainable, and realistic goals. The goals should be backed by a plan that includes smaller, actionable steps. Intentions and affirmations are powerful tools that inspire, motivate, and encourage you to achieve your goals.

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