“Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.”
-Deepak Chopra, M.D.
This year, I’ve had several people ask what my “New Years Resolution” was. I found it hard to answer that question. At first I said, “I don’t really have one.” I really started to feel bad and think about why I didn’t have one 2018 resolution. It then dawned on me. I couldn’t choose just one resolution to guide my year. For me, setting a “resolution” never plays out as hoped. I forget about it (like many do) by February and go on living my life just as I had before. While the whole “New Year, New Me” works for some, it just doesn’t seem to fit my lifestyle. I am continually working to improve myself, and the 1st of January shouldn’t be the only time of year that I reassess my progress.
Rather than giving in to picking a resolution that I’d soon give up on, I sat down with my journal, filled with scribbles from self-improvement books I’ve read, inspirational quotes and affirmations I changed over time and started write. This year I would focus on intentions: words, concepts, and themes to guide me in the new year, rather than 1 finite goal to focus on. I started jotting down words to guide me in 2018, and narrowed it down to my most important 5:
Presence | Authenticity | Balance | Wellness | Love
Choosing only 5 was so difficult, but I had to be intentional in selecting what I felt moved to focus on. I then thought through what exactly each meant to me and then the reason it was important to me.
- Presence: I will practice mindfulness; Focus on living purely in the now
Wow, is this a tough one for me. I’ve read The Power of Now twice and continue to be amazed by the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. I hope to achieve the level of presence he teaches about one day. I continue to live 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, and up to 5 years in the future. I’m not sure how often I’m ever fully present sometimes. I even find myself feeding off of the adrenaline of being able to use “now” to manipulate the future (you know, the whole ‘creating hypothetical futures, worrying about them, and trying to fix them’ thing).
- Authenticity: I will remove the masks I wear and connect to my authentic self.
Like so many, I find myself wearing a mask. Sometimes with the intention of fitting in. Sometimes out of discomfort. Sometimes out of habit. It’s something I’ve improved upon tremendously over the past few years, but I continue to keep it in my short list of intention words, as I have a long ways still to go. I want to fully accept myself for the being I am, express my feelings and emotions freely, and with openness, take the advice of and learn from others without feeling discouraged.
- Balance: Based on values and importance, I will allocate my time and energy accordingly.
For years I’ve found myself looking at my calendar wondering, “do I get a weekend from my weekend?” I over-commit without spending the time to assess my intentions for choosing to do things . I stress myself out trying to be Wonder-woman: cooking elaborate vegan meals, crafting, cleaning, working, setting up get-togethers, seeing friends, spending time with my partner, studying 10 different books, and sleeping all within 24 hours. Then I find myself saying, “I don’t have enough time to meditate,” or “I need to cut this workout short.” By assessing my commitments to others and myself based on my intentions, I hope to achieve a greater balance for the months to come.
- Wellness: I will continue to educate myself on wellness and incorporate them into my daily practice.
I’ve really taken control of my health over the last 3 years. I wouldn’t consider my 2014 year self someone over the top unhealthy; however, I made a lot of unhealthy decisions and carried several unhealthy habits. I’ve worked hard to learn and grow around wellness and hope to continuing to use wellness as a guide to the decisions I make on a day-to-day basis.
- Love: Above all I will let love guide me: love for myself, others and the beautiful world around us.
Because how can there be hatred, war, discrimination, suffering or anything less than peace, enlightenment and fulfillment in the face of unconditional love?
And with this, I had my intentions for the new year. I plan to revisit, revise and even change this often throughout the year, as intentions needn’t be simply a “New Year” thing.
Creating your own Intention Setting Practice:
- Make a list of words.
Think deeply about what has been resonating with you. What motivates you to work towards being a better you. What words describe you aspirations and desires? Write down the words that come to mind. Here are some examples to get you started:
Acceptance, Action, Authenticity, Balance, Clarity, Compassion, Courage, Creativity, Curiosity, Empathy, Energy, Flow, Freedom, Generosity, Grace, Gratitude, Health, Joy, Love, Mindfulness, Passion, Patience, Peace, Power, Prosperity, Purpose, Respect, Responsibility, Oneness, Self-Care, Simplicity, Spirituality, Wellness, Wonder
- Choose 5 words.
Choose the 5 words you feel are most valuable in guiding you towards the life you are trying to create.
- Elaborate on the 5 words.
Starting with the first word, rewrite each word along with what it means to you. Think or write down why you are choosing the word. What’s brought this word forward?
- Finally, create reminders for yourself.
Write the words down in a note on your phone. Create a vision board incorporating your intention words. Set alarms for events on your phone’s calendar with the words listed. Write it in notebooks you frequently use. Recite them as part of a daily affirmation each morning. Put sticky notes in hidden places. By reminding yourself of these words, you’ll ensure they don’t get lost like most 2018 resolutions will.
And, if you’re someone who likes a little goal setting/New Years Resolution setting, here’s a printable worksheet you can use to write down your word(s) and set some goals for the New Year:
Feel free to comment below and share your 2018 intention words!