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Resolutions vs. Intentions

Christmas is just around the corner and we’re getting ready to welcome the new year with new goals or resolutions in mind. A recent article from AARP encourages us to “Scrap the Resolutions and Set New Year's Intentions Instead”. I couldn’t agree more!

Resolutions are often focused on smaller goals like trying to maintain good posture, exercising more, cutting down on sugar, or going to bed earlier. An intention is a guiding principle for how you want to be, live, and show up in the world — whether at work, in relationships, during your meditation, or in any area of your life. An intention shouldn’t be confused with a goal — it’s not something you attach an expectation or evaluation to. It is something you want to align within your life. It’s an aim, a purpose, or attitude you’d be proud to commit to.

In my late twenties, I started learning about personal development and spirituality which ended up being two of the most powerful practices that I learned. One of the practices I still do, to this day, is the ritual of setting intentions. Setting intentions empowers us to decide what we want and how we want to experience life. Sure, life is unpredictable and will likely still throw us some curveballs. But ultimately, we are the ones writing the masterpiece that is our lives, and intention setting helps us do that.

Setting an intention at the start of a new year, on your birthday, when a new month begins, or at the beginning of your day or week can be a powerful practice because it’s the first step to embodying that which you want. Our intention creates our reality. How many times have you heard “What you think, you become,” or “Thoughts become things”?

If you’re focusing your mind on a specific intention during meditation, you are bringing it to your focused mind, your thoughts, your heart … and in turn helping to bring it into your reality.

How to Set an Intention

Your intention should be closely tied to your personal thoughts, values, and perspective on life. Intentions can be a clear and specific wish, or as simple as a word or phrase you’d like to align yourself with, like “open your mind and heart,” “love,” “vulnerability,” “strength,” “kindness for myself and others,” “peace,” or “freedom.” Try to keep the intention positive, so instead of saying “stop being a coward,” or “spend less time alone,” choose the intentions, “be courageous” or simply, “community”.

Here are some thought-starters to help you get started in forming an intention:

What matters most to you? Example: Family - Intention: “I enjoy family time.”

What would you like to let go of? Example: Resentments – Intention: “I forgive myself and others”

How do you feel when you are your happiest self?

What word(s) would you like to align yourself with?

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