I'm guessing at some point over the past few years, you've set a New Year's resolution which has been broken by February (or 2nd January). I wanted to try something different for 2021, so this year I'm setting intentions - not resolutions.
A resolution is a course of action with a firm determination - there's not much wiggle room. It is focused on change - but usually something that is 'wrong' with us or something we perceive as negative that we want to get rid of. If we break a resolution, we can feel guilty or that we've been weak or lazy.
An intention is a little different - it's an objective that guides our actions. An intention is self-directed and purposeful, with room to change and adapt to different circumstances (after all, who knows what curveballs 2021 will bring!). Intentions are a commitment to align our actions with our values and our purpose – they reflect who we are as people and make as feel energised, fulfilled and in balance. Intentions are the higher framework that are underpinned by our goals; enabling us to live our purpose.
Here are some examples so that we can see the difference...
Resolution: I want to lose weight.
Intention: I intend to nourish and treat my body with respect because I am worth it.
Resolution: I want to stop having panic attacks.
Intention: I intend to practice self-awareness so that I am better able to identify what triggers anxious thoughts and feelings.
I've outlined a few simple steps below to help you to identify your intentions for the year ahead.
What brings you joy?
Positive psychology encourages us to focus on the things that bring you joy, rather than the negatives holding you back. Get out a notepad and write down the things you’re passionate about. What brings you happiness and gives you a sense of purpose?
Write down your intentions
Once you have your list, come up with a short mantra incorporating some of the things you’ve written down. Instead of setting a resolution to lose weight, how about setting an intention like ‘I intend to practice self care daily’. Or, if your goal is to buy a house or a car, or that yoga retreat you've had your eye on, your intention can be ‘I will become more disciplined with my finances.’
Word of the Year
This is something that Stacey from Darwin & Gray posted about recently and I love this idea - it could be patience, loyalty, love, openness, the list goes on - choose a word you intend to make a focus this year, and write it somewhere you're going to see it regularly.
Keep it positive.
If you find yourself falling into the trap of listing things you don’t want to do or see this year, remember to flip your perspective. Instead of saying you’re not going to live with fear, think ‘I intend to trust more freely this year.’
Share with a friend.
Talk to a friend who knows and supports you and tell them about your intention - because while intentions may make us more responsible for our actions, we’re all bound to have slip-ups. A friend or mentor can help get you back on track when you find yourself thinking negatively or are struggling to stay in the present.
Let it go!
Check in with your intentions each day when you wake up…and then let it go. You’ve planted the seed—now don’t think too much about it! “For things to manifest, we can’t hold on too tightly”. If you’re struggling with this step, try meditation or yoga to help ease your mind and put yourself in a state of greater awareness.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and find out what intentions you'll be setting - drop me a note on Instagram or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you a wonderful 2021!