Now that it’s the New Year, our thoughts often turn to letting go of the old, making new plans, and forming New Year’s resolutions. A new year is a great opportunity to reflect on the previous year; to review what you’ve learned, what worked and what didn’t, and how you’ve grown through the inevitable challenges life presents.
One of the best ways to begin a new year, a new project, or even a new day is by setting a clear intention. By taking time to do this very simple act, we can start to reprogram our entire lives with clarity and a positive outlook. It’s important to note that intentions are not goals; goals put pressure on us and have an external outcome, whereas intentions align us with our purpose.
How to set an intention
When we decide to set an intention for our lives, it is best to do so in a positive, present, and affirmative manner. We want to avoid negative intentions, such as, “I will not eat sugar,” but instead, “I will fuel my body in the healthiest and most natural way possible.” In this way we are affirming a positive lifestyle, not creating a sense of guilt, resistance, or inadequacy.
1 – To get started in creating your intention, write a brief paragraph on what you can change in your day-to-day routine to make your life more fulfilling. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What are you passionate about? What do you want to cultivate more of in your life?
- What is going right in your life? What seems to be working well?
- What is not going right and where can you make some positive changes?
2 – Meditate (sit quietly and breathe) before you answer these questions and remember to listen to and trust your inner voice to discover your intentions.
3 – Meditate again after you’ve written out your intentions so you can still your mind and set these intentions deep within your heart.
4 – Create a word or a short phrase that sums up your intentions and is easy to remember (like a mantra), and put it somewhere that you see often. This way, you can make choices throughout the day that keep you in alignment with your intention and therefore closer to getting to where you want to be.
5 – Trust that your intention will unfold naturally and in its own time. If you force the outcome, it may not be as good for you as the one that comes naturally. Stay centered and refuse to be influenced by other people’s (or your own) doubts or criticisms. Trust that things happen when the time is right.
6 – Commit to setting aside a mere five minutes each day to simply breathe and be still. Choose a time in the morning or evening when you can be quiet for a few minutes to concentrate on your breath and then set or remind yourself of your intention for the day or week or month. Make a habit of this, write your intention down and put it up where you can see it, allow it to become your mantra and then watch how it affects your life positively.
Here’s to a new year; may you have a healthy, happy and abundant 2018!