January - the time of year where many commit to resolutions for big changes in the new year.
Unfortunately, individuals who succeed at resolutions are far and few between. Studies show that people fail the common resolutions of losing weight, quitting smoking, getting out of debt, drinking less, etc., within the first two weeks.
Resolutions are typically extreme, future focused, and about the unknown which can be anxiety enhancing. For example, setting an unattainable goal to lose 10 lbs. in 4 weeks puts major stress on the body. Dieting alone causes eventual weight gain as it induces stress causing the body to release the hormone cortisol. Over time, high stress levels lead to chronically elevated cortisol levels which causes increased appetite and slowed metabolism. This is a set up for defeat and frustration.
Intentions vs. resolutions
I prefer setting intentions rather than resolutions. Powerful intentions are more heart centered and focused on your life purpose. They help us to stay in the present moment and keep us grounded. Connecting with your intentions sends a message to the Universe, to the world and to yourself about who you want to be and how you want to live and show up each day. Whereas resolutions tend to be structured and one-dimensional, intentions are as expansive and flexible.
Intentions are more easily attainable. Example of intentions include: “I intend to practice better daily self-care, eat whole foods, get more sleep, practice daily mindfulness through deep breathing and yoga, move daily, laugh and love more.”
To set intentions for the year ahead, first take the time to reflect on the past 12 months in gratitude for all the blessings received as well as the obstacles endured along the way. Accept any pain and difficulties as lessons learned. Honor your resilience, patience and courage gained. Forgive, forget and forge ahead. Jot down any themes or ideas that stand out. Then choose a theme and use with one of the following methods to create a positive and empowering intention for the year ahead.
Words have power. Positive words have an incredible healing effect if we focus on them. The One Word method is simple and easy and reaps amazing benefits.
Simply select a word that resonates and inspires you as your guiding theme for the next 12 months. The word may have surfaced during your reflection of the previous year, during a meditation practice or simply from repetitive messages. Focus on how you want your life to be rather than specific things you want to do or accomplish. Sit in silence and listen. A word, idea, theme may surface. Determine if it feels authentic and its significance to you. The unfolding is not important as that will take place throughout the year and in ways that you cannot predict. What is important is that the word intuitively connects with you, that it “feels” right to you.
For example, in 2019 my intention was FORGIVE. My need to forgive and let go of some really big things in my life initiated this intention, yet it unfolded in a much different way than anticipated. In the end, forgiveness of self was my ultimate need and lesson. In order to grow, manifest and realize my intention for JOY in 2020, fulfilling this intention was critical. I intend to find JOY in .... I intend to experience JOY at work.... etc.
Set visual reminders of your word intention around your space with post it notes on your mirror, computer, or rocks with your theme to set on your desk, by your bedside. Say your intention out loud or silently to acknowledge positivity in your life. Use your imagination and have fun with the ideas!
Identifying and writing purposeful intentions
Intentions can be as simple as identifying a One Word theme or as expansive as getting clear about something you want to cultivate in your life. Identifying and writing a purpose statement and how you can cultivate change is another powerful and critically important step to pursuing your dreams.
Writing out your intentions is a powerful and critically important step to pursuing your dreams. But if you’ve never written them before, the task can be a bit overwhelming. Following are samples to get you started. As you brainstorm, if another intention comes to mind, add it to the list. Get your creative juices flowing!
Repeat your intention daily for several weeks and then rephrase it slightly. The mind gets bored as time passes, and it will stop responding to your intention if you stick to the same one week after week. Simply modify or change the initial dialogue. For example, if your intention was to invite daily mindfulness into your life, you could change it up by saying, “I enjoy the daily calm I am experiencing through meditation, deep breathing, and yoga.” Try not to alter your intentions too often or significantly.
As you go through each day, pay attention to how you can incorporate these things into your life. Then do something each day to demonstrate your commitment to your intention. For example, begin each morning with five minutes of meditation, fuel your body with healthy lunch choices, or take the stairs more often to add movement into your day.
Benefits of setting intentions
Intentions create a reminder for how to live each day while focusing on who we are in the moment. They allow us the ability to be human, make mistakes and live from day to day while growing in health and wellness daily, monthly throughout the year. The positive focus helps us live in harmony and purpose.
Practicing intentions allows room for growth and setbacks. No matter what, life will get in the way. Schedules get hectic, stormy, and time eventually runs out. Be gentle with yourself. The idea of setting attainable intentions that are seated at the core of your beliefs offer you the ability to get up and begin again. No guilt, no excuses needed.
You have a brand new day to begin again. And the best part? Your daily practice eventually evolves into your daily lifestyle–much like brushing your teeth!
Health coaching is all about YOU. Meeting you where you are, discussing what feels most urgent to you, celebrating all the new practices that you will begin to incorporate and redefining the things that just aren’t working in your life anymore.
“Intentions compressed into words enfold magical power.”
If you would like help in achieving your goals, let’s schedule a complimentary session.
I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness which means I look at the "whole" self and how all areas of your your life are connected. In doing so we get to the root cause of what may be preventing you from reaching your goals and reaching vibrant health. And you receive ongoing support and guidance every step of the way. Let's get started today!