Creating Intentions For 2020
As the end of the year draws near, many feel an urge to make some significant changes. But instead of making a resolution this year, try setting an intention instead. Resolutions tend to be issue-driven and therefore focus on the outcome. While an intention is more about a desire to connect to an experience. Driving toward an outcome without a deep understanding of what we are really after usually won’t bring the shift in consciousness needed for enduring change. Often our new found priorities quickly lose steam.
So, how do we create a better, more enduring lifestyle change? First, we get clear on our intention, focus on the experiences we want to have, and then take steps in alignment with those desires.
SEE ALSO: The Power Of Sitting And Breathing
What is your intention? (spiritual level)
This is the ‘What’ of the equation. Think of intention as the quality of experience you want most in your life. For example, being in a state of gratitude or feeling in balance; this intention is the calibration of your ideal state of being. We create this short phrase or single word with the understanding that we won’t always reach it, but it gives us a touchstone to connect to regularly. It is a big-picture or soul-level desire that encompasses the experience we would like to bring into being.
Intentions are not detail-driven, because they don’t have to be. It is through this intention that we create an agreement with ourselves and the universal consciousness.
Why is this intention important to you? (mental & emotional level)
This is the ‘Why’ of the equation. This step tends to require the most thought because it asks us to get to the root of our decision making and then find the counterbalance. At this level we are asking, why do I want to experience my intention? What does it afford me? Most of our choices are driven by our mental programs and the emotions that surround them. So in order to seek a new experience we need to understand what is underlying the current one.
For this, I like to use the playful why. “Hmmm.. that’s interesting? Why did I come home yesterday and eat that pint of ice cream? What was going on in my life? Was there more stress than usual? Did I have a fight with my spouse? Another way to approach it is to look at your typical New Year’s resolution or your outcome-focused goals. If you want to lose 10lbs, what does that 10lbs represent?
Maybe that 10lbs represent setting better boundaries, or having a better work-life balance. You may realize that weight is really about self-worth. So your intention could be balance or self-love. Or maybe you find that you are making choices from a place of lack, and are looking for more abundance. Or perhaps a sense of optimism rather than focusing on the negatives. In this case, gratitude is a great intention.
How do you get that experience? (physical level)
This is the ‘How’ of the equation. These are the action steps you take that are in alignment with the other two steps. This is when you get down to the real details. These action steps should be small acts of personal power that you can follow through on. If gratitude is your intention, and you’re looking for a more profound sense of abundance or inner peace, then maybe one of your action steps is to have a gratitude journal or to stop yourself once a day to list five things you are grateful for. Action steps allow the expression of your intention and will enable you to have the experiences you named in #2. Every time we follow through on an action step, we build personal power. Start with three of the easiest ways you can change your behavior in alignment with your intention.
Why create an intention vs. a resolution?
The short answer is because life happens. When we have a clear intention, we can use it as a touchstone to navigate any situation. When we are outcome-focused rather than on the state of being, it is much easier to fall prey to the all or none mentality. When things don’t go according to plan, we can get caught in the trap of thinking that everything is ruined so we might as well give up.
So, if your day gets hectic and you don’t have time to write in your gratitude journal, you can stop and thank someone for helping you through the situation rather than berating yourself for not following through. When your action steps aren’t available to you, ask yourself how you can still be in alignment with your intention.
Tips on determining your intention
Many people are detail-oriented, and it is easy for them to come up with action steps but more challenging to formulate that into an intention. If that is you, take a broad look at the actions and experiences and see what they have in common. What is the thread that they all share?
Or look at the outcomes you hope to achieve from those actions steps. What do they symbolize? 10lbs represents a shift in consciousness that you are seeking e.g. greater self-worth. We can lose that weight by only eating cabbage soup for a month, but will that change be enduring? Does it connect to what is valuable and meaningful in your life? Some people find that working this process backward helps them gain clarity on their overall desire.
So when you wake up in the morning, hold your intention in your heart and mind. Breathe it in and through your body. Then as you mindfully move through your day, make choices that are congruent with that intention even if you aren’t able to carry out your listed action steps. Remember, you can’t cheat on a lifestyle change. This is the big picture, soul-level stuff.
If things aren’t going your way, just take a breath, then make a course correction. You’ll find that once you follow through on this agreement for a while, the experiences you desire will show up for you in magical and unexpected ways.
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