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Setting Intentions for the New Year

Purple Bloom

As we wind down 2018 and set our sights on 2019, I invite you to plant your intentions rather than set a resolution.

To be resolute about a goal is to limit yourself within a rigid construct. For example: to lose 15 pounds, cook healthy dinners in instead of eating out, hit the gym every morning, or quit smoking. They’re often focused on some future state that, if achieved, will somehow bring us more joy or acceptance. (Spoiler alert: joy and acceptance are states of mind, not a checklist to be achieved.)

While I appreciate the importance of setting measurable goals, if a New Year’s Resolution isn’t reached (and let’s face it, most don’t make it past January) we have a tendency to beat ourselves up about it. Then we become so disappointed in ourselves that we regress more than we progress. (I’ve never craved a pizza more than after self-deprecating thoughts about my weight.)

Whereas setting intentions can build forward momentum that lasts much longer. It’s taking an action toward a general direction that allows for hiccups and purposeful responsiveness to whatever comes up. It’s a state of being rather than pushing toward some future state of perceived perfection. For example: to be kind, to love one’s self more, to lead with compassion, to practice self-care, or to be present in conversations with others.

Here are a few questions that may help you find an intention or two for 2019 that just might stick the whole year…and onward:

  1. What do you want to invite more of into your life?
  2. How do you want to engage with others?
  3. How do you want to treat yourself?
  4. What characteristics would you want shared in your eulogy?
  5. What brings you joy?
  6. How do you want to show up every day?
  7. In what instances and environments do you feel most at peace?

Once you’ve written down the answers to these questions, notice any common threads or what holds the most zing. Then set an intention for yourself for 2019.

Write that intention down on two pieces of paper. Post one somewhere you look at often. Plant the other in your yard or a potted plant in your home. It will be the metaphoric seedling you’ll water often and watch it grow and bloom.

May your new year be full of joy, peace and growth!