Happy New Year! Many of us enter into this time marking the end of one year and the beginning of another year wanting to create change, in whatever way that may be. Perhaps we want to lose weight, start meditating, find more balance in our lives, and so on.
It is enticing and refreshing to think about the New Year as an opportunity for a fresh start and a clean slate. When we think of this, many of us focus on making a resolution: a specific goal that we are destined to achieve in the New Year.
Personally, I am not a fan of resolutions. When we state our resolutions for the new year, we are setting ourselves up to achieve or not achieve, viewing ourselves as perhaps not enough the way we are. Once January comes and goes, how do you feel if you have not tackled your resolution fully? In my own past experience, it has not been good; it has created a let down that leads to more judgment of myself and can contribute to a sense of failure.
With this being said, there is another way to start anew with a goal, one that actually creates more of a positive focus and approach. Intention: to set an intention is to make a plan, a way to move forward that does not necessarily have to be reached by January 10th to feel a sense of accomplishment. Intentions are still goal-focused but in a different way. This plan or intention does not give you the same feeling of not being enough. Essentially, it is planting a seed in your mind to focus on, and then giving you the opportunity to reflect on how it is going. Intentions take time to develop and turn into habits. Intentions are not something that occurs overnight.
Here are a few suggestions for setting your intentions. First, gain clarity about what you want to create and “why” you are intending to create it. If you are interested in losing weight, a very common example, perhaps look more closely at it to create what it looks like and why you want it. For example, your clarity might be that you want to create a healthier body by really focusing on good nutrition and healthier habits for your life. That is the clarity of an intention. What is your why? For me, it might be that when I eat healthier foods with more nutritional value, I feel better.
This is the clarity that takes us forward as an intention – not the focus on the weight but the underlying seed we can plant in our head as an intention for us to focus on in the coming days, months, and year.
As you move forward with your intention, be gentle. What I mean by that is take time to reflect on your day and look at how your intention might be playing out with eyes wide open. Being gentle means knowing that some days will feel better than others, and that is perfectly normal. We are perfectly imperfect beings. Give yourself permission to accept this fact. With intention, there is less feeling of failure if you don’t achieve and more acceptance and honoring of the self. This is a way of life. If we cultivate what serves us by creating specific and achievable intentions for ourselves, we will view ourselves with greater success and less failure.
With your gentle approach, be sure to celebrate your intentions and how they play out in your life. Take baby steps in bringing these intentions forward with grace and ease. Life is a process, not a destination. Let’s honor the journey with intention, self-love, and self-compassion.
What intention would you like to set?
Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year, full of practical, why-oriented goals!