“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Every year a vast number of people get excited and motivated to make New Year's resolutions.
When you think back to last year at this time did you set resolutions? Did you keep them? I know I didn’t meet my own expectations.
The fact is, many fail keep those resolutions past January. What is clear is that most New Year's resolutions revolve around things you know you should do anyway, such as losing weight, eating better, exercising every day, having good posture, or living a life that fosters well-being. This year, I encourage you to try something a little different and try setting intentions instead.
The definition of resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something combined with the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
Again, the question to ask is whether you achieved your resolutions? If not, did you feel guilty or even shameful about having set them? If the purpose of setting resolutions is to make a firm decision and actively solve a problem, how are you left feeling when you fail to accomplish these expectations you have set for yourself? Do resolutions create more stress and yet another way to beat up on yourself if/when you don’t meet them?
Intentions are different…
The ancient Vedic texts state that “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
The definition of intentions is a thing intended; an aim or plan, and the action or fact of intending. Some may think an intention is not strong enough to create change. From a different perspective, intentions allow you to be more creative, aware, and mindful of what you would like to change rather than simply what you think you should change.
Resolutions seem to ask you to be perfect, something you can never achieve. Resolutions focus only on the outcome, not the journey. Intentions are more inviting. Intentions ask you to look deep inside yourself, to become more of a perfectly imperfect human being. Intentions allow you less human-doing and human-thinking.
Intentions are also more freeing asking nothing more in return than you practice. Intentions do not hold you to a specific outcome, simply head in the direction of ambitions. Goal setting and intentions go hand-in hand and your goals are synonymous with your intentions. Set goals, work for them, and there is no necessity to beat yourself up if your accomplishments are less than your desired goal. Take comfort in the journey and embrace your progress.
When you set an intention, the idea is to manifest something that you want to do. It is a call to action and often marks the beginning of a dream or desire. Intentions are about the longings that have been haunting you. Your intentions can involve all aspects of your life, including health, relationships, love, self-improvement, or career, and affect your emotional, physical, or psychological self. An intention is a positive call to action about something you want to do, rather than something you don’t want to do but think might be a wise idea.
Whether you follow a Paleo diet or not, setting some positive intentions for 2021 can include things such as
- Move more - Move daily
- Take care of yourself
- Be kind to your self
- Make healthy choices for yourself
- Do things that make you happy
- Drink more water
- Be good to people
- Be kind
- Laugh every day
- Eat more vegetables
- Get enough sleep and relax more often
- Get your finances in order
- Get outside more
- Spend time with friend/family – in-person or virtually
- Read more
- Believe in yourself
- Practice mindfulness
- Learn a new skill
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Setting an intention is about giving direction or meaning to your life. This has huge relevance in regards to how life and the world has changed with the challenges of the past year. It also could mean changing an attitude about something as a way to transform or change. The nice thing about setting intentions is that you can set them daily, weekly or monthly. Unlike New Year's resolutions, it’s not necessary to initiate changes to be kept all year long. When setting an intention, your attitude is the most important part.
Setting An Intention
Choosing a few, or more of these suggestions will support you in connecting with what you truly want and what you can and are willing to shift and change
Begin by making a list of your intentions. In a journal, or on a paper, write: “My intention is ...” Writing seems to be more effective than typing, but using your computer or phone will work too.
Make a list of what you want to do or accomplish. Be specific. Use empowering words and thoughts. Avoid words such as “should,” “always” “must” or “never.” When thinking about your intentions, focus on looking forward, rather than backward
During the course of a day, repeat your intention often, either to yourself or out loud. Think positive thoughts about your intention and put your intention out into the universe. Share your intention with others, as this deepens your commitment and holds you accountable for your intention. It also makes it easier for you to manifest and put into action.
Commit to your intention. Do something that shows your commitment to your intention. For example, if you want to start eating more vegetables, prepare vegetables at all three meals.
Remain centered, present and grounded. This can involve turning off all distraction, breathing deeply or getting outdoors and connecting with and feeling nature. Channel your energy.
Light a candle. Lighting an intention candle is a powerful symbol, bringing light to your wishes. It illuminates the nature of your intention.
Meditate. Meditation will help you transcend your ego mind by allowing to you enter the silence that leads to a state of pure consciousness.
Journal. Every day, write down your thoughts about your intention. Choose gratitude each day. Start or end each day with a gratitude reflection. This is bound to inject more joy into your day and your year. What are you grateful for? What makes you happy? Focus on the good and the things you have to improve your mood, and your physical health will follow suit. Journal these thoughts, noting all you are thankful for and the ways you see your intentions beginning to take shape and become your reality.
Be spontaneous and embrace the present. Human consciousness is a constantly evolving state and is always changing. It can be challenging to embrace the present moment and often chasing the unknown future is what occupies the mind.
Stop trying to predict what’s coming. When you try to determine what your future holds, you may actually end up destroying that very future you are looking forward to! Your tomorrow has its own beauty and life. But if you have already decided what your tomorrow holds today, you aren’t doing it any justice. Let tomorrow take its own course. Relax. Look around. You are here. That’s enough for now!
Make the commitment to yourself to no longer beat yourself up this year. This will make creating as life of your fulfilled intentions that much more effortless. Do your best to give yourself grace, kindness, and patience. Start giving yourself more compliments, and become aware of negative self-talk — choosing to put an end to that chatter.
A large part of the battle is simply taking a few moments to set your intentions. The irony may be that you need to have an intention to revisit and review your intentions throughout the year. Write them down. Share them with someone who will help you keep on track. Maybe focus on one intention per month. The focus here is to set the intention, take action to set things in motion that are consistent with the goal, then allow the pieces to come together in their own way and in their own time.
Whatever your resolutions or intentions, here’s to your health in 2021.