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Happy New Year to our readers!

A co-worker shared with me that they set intentions vs. New Year's resolutions. I found this very thought-provoking and asked myself what is the difference between intentions and resolutions?

When you think back to last year at this time did you set resolutions? Did you keep them? I know I didn’t meet my own expectations.

The definition of resolution is 1) a firm decision to do or not to do something and 2) the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. Again I ask, did you achieve your resolutions? If not, did you feel guilty or even shameful about having set them? If the purpose of setting resolutions is to make a firm decision and actively solve a problem, how do we feel if we don’t accomplish these expectations we have set for ourselves? Do resolutions create more stress and an avenue to get down on ourselves if we don’t meet them?

So what are intentions?

The definition of intentions is 1) a thing intended; an aim or plan, 2) the action or fact of intending. Some may think an intention is not strong enough to create change. It seems to me that intentions allow us to be more creative, aware, and mindful of what we would like to change. Resolutions seem to ask us to be perfect, something we can never achieve. Resolutions seem to focus only on the outcome, not the journey. Intentions are more inviting. Intentions ask us to look deep inside ourselves, to become more of an imperfect human being. Intentions allow us less human-doing and human-thinking. Intentions are more freeing asking nothing more in return than you practice. Intentions do not hold you to a specific outcome, just head in the direction of ambitions. Some may think that intentions are not the same as goal setting. To the contrary, goals are synonymous with intentions. Set goals, work for them, just don’t beat yourself up if your accomplishments are less than your desired goal. Take comfort in the journey and embrace your progress.

Here are some healthy intentions to consider for 2018:

  • Move more - Move daily
  • Take care of yourself
  • Be kind to your self
  • Make healthy choices for yourself
  • Do things that make you happy
  • Drink more water
  • Be good to people
  • Be kind
  • Laugh every day
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Get enough sleep
  • Get your finances in order
  • Get outside more
  • Spend time with friend/family
  • Volunteer
  • Read more
  • Believe in yourself

Half the battle is just even taking a few moments to set your intentions. The irony may be that we need to have an intention to revisit and review our intentions throughout the year. Write them down. Share them with someone who will help you keep on track. Maybe focus on one intention per month. The focus here is to set the intention, take action to set things in motion that are consistent with the goal, then allow the pieces to come together in their own way and in their own time.

Whatever your resolutions or intentions, here’s to your health in 2018!

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Learn more about movement, fitness and health in this space each week or by visiting, or calling 478-5833. Dr. Maria Fermoile is a doctor of physical therapy at Alliance Health in Fresno. She will be happy to answer questions submitted to

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