Setting intentions, not resolutions |

Setting intentions, not resolutions

About the Author

Tamsin Edwards is the office manager at Elevate Wellness Center ( Call us at 530-541-WELL (9355) to book your appointment today. Join us for 30 Days of Self Care this January - follow us @elevatewellnesscenter and join in!

The advent of the new year is traditionally a time to undertake some self reflection on all that the past year has dealt us, and to consider our goals and dreams for the next.

How often do you begin the new year setting resolutions that may be unrealistic, unachievable or difficult to implement – that may end up causing you more stress and frustration than is worth the end result? Around 80-90 percent of resolutions fail because of overambitious goal setting, pressure from your peers and lack of time. What if, before you set your resolution in stone, you asked yourself a few questions?

Will the change you want to make help you feel more fulfilled?

Do you have the support you need to help you realize your goals?

Are you making this resolution for yourself, or someone else?

Do you have a goal that you believe is truly achievable?

What if, instead of resolutions, we set intentions?

“Look at the why behind the what you want to change. Looking at your motivation will provide fuel to keep the fire of intentional change burning all year long”. – Lodro Rinzler (The Huffington Post)

Get curious about your goals. Look internally and consider the behaviors you want to get rid of or change. Pay close attention to what your body needs and then aim to be intentional with the practices in your life that are either positively or negatively affecting it.

Why have your resolutions failed in the past?

What is it you are trying to achieve and why?

How does it feel when you hold the idea of it in your mind?

Try a short meditation practice: Sit in quiet contemplation. Let each of your intentions come into your mind. Spend some time allowing your response to surface.

“Don’t judge your response or try to change it. It’s fine to have any response, even if you might label it negative. The purpose here is to get your attention to loosen up and go where the mind naturally wants to go. If you find that any response feels too strong or causes distress, open your eyes, take a few deep breaths until you feel centered again, then go back to the next intention. Don’t force anything.” – Deepak Chopra

Setting intentions involves establishing practices that help you maintain them. How are you going to ensure you stick the behaviors you want to adopt?

Think about those you can surround yourself with that will support you in your venture. It’s easy to only think you need help when something bad is happening, but positive guidance during the process of creating something good in your life can be extremely beneficial. Going it alone makes it much harder to resist temptation, lose sight of the end goal and ultimately give up. Have a brainstorming session. Ask for advice. Share ideas.

Sometimes people set goals that are too big to conquer in one year. Start small. The cumulative effect of one baby step after the next is movement, flow, fluidity. And fluidity is the opposite of stress. Which is a good thing! Think about what your body and mind needs. You might want to develop a fitness routine so that you can look better, feel better and focus more, but sometimes that’s not what you really need. Exercise, when pushed too far, might do more harm than good. Some days you’ll just need to walk outside among the trees, or swim in the lake. Some days you’ll want to exercise your mind, not your body. There might even be days that lying with your legs up the wall in a dark room is what you truly need to relax and feel good about yourself. Nourish your organs by letting that blood flow back through your body in the upside down state.

Instead of writing down everything you WANT to achieve, note down the tasks you accomplish (however small) as you actually fulfill them. Having a list of everything you’ve attained creates much more positivity than continually looking at a list you may never complete.

Lastly, be sure you are setting intentions for yourself, and not others. Doing things to please others in order to gain love or acceptance, or giving your energy away too freely for another’s benefit will only breed resentment. Do this for yourself, nourish your inner being and put forth your intentions into the universe so that you can become a better partner, parent, friend, and human being.

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