Setting Intentions

In the past week, how many times have you heard, “What are your New Years resolutions?” or possibly, “Next year I am going to make (insert unrealistic changes proposed by social media or society here) in my life.” While many people are well intended in developing these resolutions, often they get caught up in trying to “fix” themselves…and in reality they don’t need to be “fixed” at all.

About two weeks ago I set myself on an internal adventure to discover what spoke to me the most in 2017. I surely went through a lot of change and realized many aspects of myself that grew (and are still growing!). I realized that the times when I felt my happiest weren’t when I was trying to “fix” myself. Instead I was most happy when I was reconnecting with my true inherent self – my wholeness.

Resolutions are often seen as a way to start over, create a blank slate, or “fix” whatever is causing an individual discomfort. However, I have come to realize that resolutions often don’t sit well with me and I haven’t made them for the past few years. They create a pressure of sorts that makes me feel as though I have a weight upon my chest. This pressure is attributed to the idea that by making a resolution I NEED to accomplish it or else I have failed.

Now, I have mentioned before that failure isn’t a bad thing. We learn and grow from it; but when you fail multiple times, it is exhausting. Think about being exhausted… symptoms can include a lack of mental clarity, physical distress, and a loss of self. To avoid these negative symptoms instead of resolutions, I have approached New Year’s as an intention-setting opportunity.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines intention as, “a determination to act in a certain way: resolve. What one intends to do or bring about.” But also, as “a process or manner of healing wounds.”

For some, this definition might feel a bit obscure (it certainly was to me when I first read it!). I found myself constantly challenging the notion of “how”. How would I resolve? How do I need to heal myself? Therefore, I decided to come up with my own definition of intention: Slow down. Pay attention.

When I slow down and pay attention I can choose more thoughtful and caring responses, and participate in whatever each moment presents. I reconnect with myself in a way that I otherwise wouldn’t and recognize that I have a choice in how I step into that moment. I reframe my thoughts to be more present, patient, kind, and generous.

The thing about intentions is that they are not meant to be big, burley, or overwhelming, as resolutions often are. Intentions are small, quiet, and meaningful. They speak to your soul and help you to discover and reconnect to your unique self. You may set intentions as you see fit; many a day or possibly one a week, but always remember that you are already whole. You do not need to be changed or “fixed.”

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