When you think about the New Year ahead, what goals come to mind? A family trip abroad? An island getaway for two? Or how about a career goal, like a new promotion or change of occupation? Maybe getting healthy is a number one priority, so perhaps your goals might include starting an exercise regimen and eating a healthier diet.
With every New Year, we have the opportunity for a do-over. It’s a chance to start fresh and chart a new course for ourselves. And with that invitation to begin anew, we tend to dream of new changes and new adventures that we want to experience, not only for our personal happiness but also for our personal growth. But the problem with following the usual tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is that, more often than not, we fall short with the follow-through. So for this New Year, why not change it up a bit by doing something that carries a little more power and promise? Don’t just make a resolution; Set an Intention!
What is an Intention?
Intention is the motivating factor or the underlying reason behind what you do. When you set an intention—whether for your well-being, your career, your relationships, or something else—it should be authentic and inspiring to you personally.
Intentions are different than goals, though they do work together. Goals are specific, external achievements you want to accomplish in the future. Intentions are independent of the destination; rather, they are connected to the feelings you want to experience in life. When your goals stem from deeper intentions you’ve set for yourself, this sets you up for a greater probability of success. Your intentions empower you, and they ensure that the journey towards realizing your specific goal will align with the emotional quality you deeply desire. To put it even more simply – if your goal is the what, then the intention behind your goal is the why.
How to Set an Intention
To set your intention, start by writing it down. When you write it down, you are taking the first step towards achieving that dream. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) is a courageous action that strengthens your conviction and commitment, by taking what was once just a notion in your head and solidifying it onto the page.
Once you’ve written your intention, then build your stepping-stones. Stepping-stones are small, manageable steps that map out a path of transformation. It’s important to break down your steps as specifically and clearly as you can. Give each step a due date so you hold yourself accountable for your progress.
The power of intentions and stepping-stones work together to keep you motivated and focused on your big dream, which is the surest way towards living the fulfilling life you want to experience in the New Year!
Let’s say your goal is to exercise regularly and be healthier.
First, ask yourself: “What is my intention?”
“My intention is to feel healthy, strong, and confident in my body.”Now work on building out and writing down your stepping-stones:
- Exercise intentionally three times a week for half an hour.
- Reduce refined sugar from my diet. Eat less processed foods, and choose more wholesome foods, like fruits and vegetables.
- Go for more walks.
- Go to sleep on time, so I can get enough rest to feel my best.
As you create your list, you can even break down each stepping-stone further. For example, building in more exercise could look like this:
- Yoga or stretching on Mondays and Wednesdays. Exercise with weights on Fridays.
- Walk three times a week. One day will be three miles around the neighborhood; two days will be two miles on a treadmill during my lunch break.
To give your intention and goal a super boost, write down a deadline (or at least create a time frame) for when you will accomplish each stepping-stone.
When you’re first starting off, you’ll want to read your intentions and stepping-stones to yourself often; look at them at least once a day, every day for the first month. One good tip is to read them every morning, so they’ll be present in your mind as you go through your day. It only takes a couple of minutes, and this regular reminder will help to keep you motivated and committed. After the first month, just check in with yourself to read over your intentions and stepping-stones once or twice a week.
We all know that achieving any dream or goal takes discipline and willpower. But you can do it, if you’ll put your full heart and mind to it! Remember, the key is to start by putting your intentions, goals, and stepping-stones down in written form. There’s power in putting pen to paper, or fingers to a keyboard!
I wish you all the best in your New Year, New You journey, and I’d love to hear how it’s going for you!