So, it’s a new year, are you planning on a new you? This tired adage is something that marketing agents have used for generations.

Set on convincing us that we need to change and that the best time to do so is at the turning of a new year, we can easily fall prey to believing that with a new date on our calendar must create a new version of ourselves.

Gyms start to fill with new members, language courses are bought in droves, and we pack our refrigerators with foods we swear we will finally learn to love.

In our sexual and romantic lives, we may swear this year we will finally find the kind of love and satisfaction we deserve. Maybe today we will stop hating our belly fat or finally commit to that meditation practice.

We try so hard for what feels like so long, only to find ourselves defeated and disappointed once again.

What if we stopped making resolutions? Perhaps there are better ways we can frame the ways that we want to grow and develop.

Ways that don’t force us to feel ashamed or guilty about who we are or what we do.

Here three alternatives to resolutions to start your year off right:

Setting Intentions

I love setting intentions for my year ahead. I think this comes from my first career being a yoga instructor. We often start yoga classes by setting an intention: relaxation, mindfulness, gaining energy, etc.

By doing the same for my year I am not setting a hard and fast goal I must accomplish, but instead looking for a perspective I want to take in all that I do in the year ahead.

Whether my intention is to live more authentically or to ask for what I really need there is no failing at an intention and only ways to grow.

Read: You Are Not Your Thoughts

Mantras

Mantras come from Hindu and Buddhist traditions and are used throughout the world in many religious and secular circles. A mantra is a word or phrase that is repeated to help the practitioner gain in focus and channeling their energy towards a goal.

If you had a resolution of getting healthier instead of saying "I want to lose or gain weight" focus on meditating on the mantra of, “I make healthy choices and nourish my body and soul."

Another example would be instead of saying that this year "I will finally find love," you could make a mantra of, “I am bringing the right people into my life, I am attracting love into my life, in every form.”

Read: 3 Mindfulness Techniques to Help You Break the Strings of Negative Thoughts

Words of the Year

Setting just a single word to create a vibe and focus for the year ahead can be powerful in and of itself. Mirakle Mayoral-Goodwin, a community psychologist and trauma-informed advocate, says:

“Setting a word for the year encompasses a central idea that you want to focus on for the year. Sometimes it is a word that you meditate on or perhaps it is a theme. Once you decide on a word or theme, you look for opportunities throughout the year to really focus on that word. When you put it out into the universe with intent, the universe will find ways of bringing your word to you.”

Read: The Illusion of Perfection

No matter what you decide to do to set your year off right remember that anything you focus on should enhance your life and bring you joy, not unrealistic expectations or anxiety. At the end of the day always remember that new years is only a date on a calendar.

You can add, delete, or modify your intentions, mantras, and words for the year at any time and start fresh.

Every day and every minute grants us a fresh start a chance to move towards our highest self.