Why I chose to ditch resolutions and kick off my year with intention words

There’s been a recent trend over the last 10 years or so of slowly letting go of the notion of resolutions for new year’s and instead adopting a more holistic approach to goal-setting: choosing one word or a series of words to set the intention for the upcoming year. Truth be told, resolutions, goal-setting, intentions, they’re all – in their own right – importance processes to go through in order to grow. But here’s why resolutions don’t really work and why intention words are a surefire better way to start your year…

The past week and a half (the last 10 days of December 2016 to be more precise) have been particularly challenging and revealing for me. I usually take the time in the last 10 days to slow down, enjoy the quiet since I don’t do much during Christmas and New Year’s time, it’s just a time for me to catch up and tie loose ends together. But not this year…

Over the last few days, my body has grossly been communicating with me in ways that literally stopped me in my tracks. From tension headaches, to making sure I stayed in bed most of the day and just yesterday, on the eve of the new year, my feet all of a sudden have swollen up. At first I thought water retention and I’m just not hydrating enough. It’s been quite hot in Melbourne this summer solstice and maybe I wasn’t taking care of my water intake enough. But I’m also recognising that this is something at an emotional level too trying to get out of me. I need to honour that. So I am reading a lot of verses from my religious scriptures and doing some energy clearing in my space.

2016 was quite the heavy year energetically-speaking. It was a year of tragedy (Aleppo, mass killings and terrorism) and also a year of exiting (bye bye Obama hello Trump; Brexit to name a few). It is the end of a 9-year cycle which began in 2008 and now the major theme is completion as we enter the new 9-year cycle with 2017 being Chapter One. I’ve never really been into numerology but numbers have a huge significance in our lives whether we tune into them or not. I believe they carry vibrational energy and we are human beings that are always resonating at some vibrational frequency.

This is why I love essential oils so much because they hold high energetic frequencies and they are able to raise our vibrational energy when we are vibrating at low energies due to our negative emotions and feelings caused by our thoughts and limiting beliefs. When life coaches tell us they will help us become the best version of ourselves, really what they’re saying is they will help us vibrate at a higher level so that we can truly begin to shine and get unstuck from our limiting beliefs. Essential oils do the same thing which is why the Emotions Library can help you discover which essential oils to use to begin raising your vibration as you anchor new behaviour with the positive emotion you’d like to feel or to eliminate the negative emotion you’re experiencing.

Now let’s take a good look at new year’s resolutions and why they don’t help in raising your vibrational energy.

Resolutions keep you focused on “doing” and not on “being”

I used to set New Year’s resolutions every year and they usually sounded like this: Lose Weight, Get Closer to God, Spend More Time with Family, Be More Organised and Read More Books.


(Big fat yawn.)

I don’t know about you but this type of “To Do List” approach to life does very little to inspire me anymore. Not to mention the success rates were pretty depressing.

Fact is, we are not called human doings we are HUMAN BEINGS. The reason resolutions don’t work is that they address on one level of your life. The DO level. Entrenched in that way of operating, is if you DO this thing, you will HAVE that thing and then you can BE that other thing. No bueno folks. This is a surefire way to self-sabotage and feeling like you amount to nothing. Surely enough that’s exactly how I felt year after year after year. I would tell my friends or family that I felt like a failure as I had accomplished absolutely NOTHING that year and they would look at me funny thinking “what the hell is she on about, she did do a lot of things!”

The average New Year’s Resolution never addresses the BE level which is the core issue.

The best way to create positive change in your life is to BE the change you want to see.

When you begin changing the BE level, then the DO level will follow more easily and you’ll have whatever you set out to BE from the beginning.

Want to feel happier in 2017? Resolve to BE happier in 2017.

Want to have a better marriage? Resolve to BE the type of partner you wish to see in your better half.

Want to lose weight in 2017? Resolve to LOVE your body whatever its shape or size. The weight will slowly and eventually shed when your body witnesses you loving it more. And you sure as heck can’t cheat your body from the love it deserves. It will know if you’re faking it and hold on to that weight like life depended on it (literally). I’m still working on this one, it’s my biggest challenge.

A better approach to the new year: intention setting with words 

This year will be the first year where I set my intention loud and clear with actual words that I consciously choose and speak out loud to God (or the Universe). This comes very close to a practice in my faith called du’ā  (“the plea” or “the supplication”). In my faith, this type of intention-setting is actually a form of worship. Some call it manifesting. Whatever way you choose to describe it, it’s essentially the same thing. It is a plea or desire arising from the core of your heart and then it comes forward onto your lips in the form of words and it’s directed towards a very specific entity, in my world that’s God and only God because He is the Hearer of all things, the Knower of all secrets.

This intention or plea is almost like a confession emanating from my heart because I know that I cannot achieve anything without God’s help and aid and also the strength to take the actions necessary to move towards my fate which I can change as I keep setting intentions and manifesting and asking for help. This type of goal-setting is way more powerful than a resolution and it’s an implicit affirmation that we have a Creator and he is the Controller of Affairs, the Hearer, the Seer, the Merciful, the Great, the All-Powerful, the Ever-Capable.

These words I would choose are what will guide me then throughout the year. They will be my touchstone and my daily reminder to always live my life at the BE level.

Notice I said that you still need to take action and perform the necessary tasks to move towards your destined fate or your desired outcome. I choose to act from the BEING level not from the DOING level.

I am really looking forward to seeing how this new practice will change my business and personal life. I am pretty excited by it!

How to choose your word(s) for 2017

I didn’t think too long about my words for 2017. They came to me organically and quickly because I was ready for them and I think that’s how you will know too when you choose your word(s). Here’s how I approached the birth of my 2017 intention words:

Get quiet over the next few days and really become present with yourself and attuned to your physical being. Does anything hurt or give you pain? Do you react to anything in particular? Does a certain person or conversation rile you up, make you upset or sad or react? Your word might be along the lines of Self-Love or Truth or Growth or Awareness.

Do you tend to cling to things, hoard objects and generally live in chaos thinking it’s organised chaos and isn’t that bad? Maybe your word should be Release because you’re scared of letting go of things and this word will inspire you way more than “get organised or de-clutter my house”. Now every time you catch yourself living in your clutter you will whisper the word “release” or look at it on your vision board and recall your intention to release and let go. You will realise that holding on to things is affecting your health and your diet, possibly the reason why you have that extra weight.

Here are my 2017 words and the essential oils I used to affirm them

I’ve grouped my words into doublets. I really enjoyed coming up with these and even more so the essential oils that I will make a staple throughout the year to help me anchor these words into my psyche and create new lifelong habits.

Awakening / Fulfilment

I choose to awaken my senses this year and awaken to the truth of the world we live in and my own truth.

I choose to practice self-awareness every step of the way and focus on my strengths.

I choose fulfilment over achievement.

The oils I’ve selected to use to assist me with these intentions are as follows (read all about them or head to my Emotions Library and perform a search for “fulfilled” and “blindness” – opposite of awakening):

Basil – The Oil of Renewal

Clary Sage – The Oil of Clarity and Vision

Douglas Fir – The Oil of Generational Wisdom

Frankincense – The Oil of Truth

Lemongrass – The Oil of Cleansing

Release / Minimal

I choose to release all qualms about my body. All hate directed at my body and all self-judgment that I am not good enough.

I choose to release negative emotions quickly and promptly while acknowledging and honouring their presence but letting them go respectfully and with ease.

I choose to be minimal and not hoard or hold on to objects and things and even people!

I choose to let it go. I choose to let it go. I choose to release.

Instead I choose to focus on life experiences and memories and being present in those moments.

The oils I’ve chosen to help me on this journey of releasing and being minimal (go to Emotions Library and search for “body”, “unforgiving” and “controlling”)

Cypress – The Oil of Motion & Flow

Geranium – The Oil of Love and Trust

Grapefruit – The Oil of Honouring the Body

Patchouli – The Oil of Physicality

What are your words? I would love to know! Please share in the comments below or your experience with previous years’ words!

Need help finding your 2017 words? I’ve compiled a list for you! Download my FREE resource guide outlining 30 intention words and their intention phrases and actions to help inspire you to come up with your words for this year.

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  • Becky Cracraft
    Posted at 00:05h, 02 January Reply

    What amazing work Heba , Thank You so much for sharing !
    Love the guidance !
    Life is so beautiful and in my latter years , I have come to realize it truly is the journey ( with its ups and downs) that brings us to a place of AWARENESS!
    That is my word for 2017
    Awareness of Truth – in my life- in the moment, in the space I hold
    Awareness of Love
    Awareness of kindness
    Awareness of unkindness ( to myself, to others, from others
    Some things in life we can’t Learn
    We can only BEcome. Derek Rydall

    BEcomng in 2017

    • Heba El Hakim
      Posted at 07:13h, 12 January Reply

      Thank you so much Becky! I love your word Awareness it is definitely in my realm of words too going along with Awakening 🙂 I love the saying “I didn’t change I just woke up”. Shine bright as you do Becky, thanks for your support xx

  • Safiyah Ahmed
    Posted at 19:54h, 04 January Reply

    I am new to the ‘word of the year” concept, and I think I find it more fulfilling than a list of “resolutions” that last a month or less!!

    I am experimenting with bullet journaling in a filofax this year and a lot of people are discussing how they use certain words for their journaling theme. I chose “Disciplined” for 2017, as it encompasses a lot of my weaknesses, yet incorporates some of my strengths!! 🙂
    I searched your emotions library for “Disciplined” and did not find it, yet “Gratitude”, “Forgiveness’ “Awareness” or “Meditation”, and self-care fall under the umbrella of discipline. I would love to know if you have any insight into oils that would be beneficial for me to wear/diffuse while I embark on this journey. Cheers 🙂

    • Heba El Hakim
      Posted at 07:12h, 12 January Reply

      Hi Safiyah! So sorry for my delayed response! I heard so much about Bullet Journaling, let me know how that works for you 🙂 I think the word Discipline is great! I am not sure how one can use oil to feel more disciplined but I have a really nice blend called Motivate that is meant to encourage you and also I would maybe search for “Focused” that would help bring some good suggestions. I also know Ginger is the Oil of Empowerment and discipline comes from feeling empowered I think. I will definitely be updating Emotions Library this year with new search terms and added oils and blends! Stay tuned and thanks so much for your support xx

  • Khursiah
    Posted at 09:36h, 29 March Reply

    I found your website through your article in Ramadan Legacy website. I’ve been stuck in a rut for so long not achieving what I wanted due to many factors (procrastination, being a disorganised person, lack of motivation etc). These are 4 words I chose to, InsyaAllah, help me to improve myself.
    Strong – I am a runner and it’s very important to have a strong body. Thinking about the word ‘Strong’ makes me searching for recipes,food and strength workout that will help me getting strong. I realised these may result in losing weight as well. It is liberating not thinking about losing weight as my main priority anymore.
    Neat and Simple – My bedroom is a disaster zone! I try everything to make it looks beautiful. Then I realised that I don’t want it to BE beautiful because it takes a lot of hard work and money. I just wanted it to BE Neat and Simple. I also make decision/be organised using these 2 words.
    Try – I am so lazy and it has impacted my self-esteem. I plan to use the word ‘Try’ to persuade me to focus and get any job done.

    I pray and leave it to Allah to facilitate me to achieve this year fulfillment :). Thank you very much for this article.

    • Heba El Hakim
      Posted at 07:12h, 12 April Reply

      Hello Khursiah!

      Thank you for your comment and I can totally relate to how you are feeling. I have felt like that before but it wasn’t until I began to really focus on feeling fulfilled rather than achieving that I began to gain more clarity on who I want to serve and that made all the difference in my getting out of a rut. My work became more purposeful and with intention. I like your choice of words: Strong, Neat and Simple and Try! Trying is the best we can do and if we don’t try we don’t get any results! So kudos to you for trying 🙂

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