Setting intentions not resolutions…
As 2017 starts to fade into the rearview mirror, it’s that time of year where so many make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never really believed in making resolutions. I’ve seen the gym fill up with such resolutions and be empty again by mid-February. I’ve heard too many promises and statements made by family and friends to lose weight, drink less, be more active, spend more time with each other and spend less money, that always fade out in a few weeks or never truly come to fruition. I’ve been a “New Year’s Resolution Avoider”. A non participant. However, I do see value in looking at the year ahead and setting goals, making decisions and determining my intentions. Who do I want to be? How do I want to act or react? What are my priorities?
I started this process by looking at simple definitions. Why did I not want to join in with the “Resolution” Crew? The definition of resolution: to reach a firm decision about; the act or process of resolving, such as: the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones, the act of answering, the act of determining.
Whereas, the definition of intention: a determination to act a certain way.
There is a wealth of written literature on the power of intention. Setting intentions (goal setting, and conscious change), making them known to someone else (accountability) and writing them down (planning), have been shown to be a powerful tool in attaining goals and allowing permanent change. As my spin instructor likes to say, “practice makes permanent”. Deciding to act, to respond, to be a certain way and practicing that will allow for a permanent change. As humans, we have a unique ability to choose, to decide, every day and every moment who we want to be, how we want to be and the way we are going to be.
As 2018 comes into view I want to set my intention to be Present, Brave and Kind. These are not new words for me. They are words that I use frequently as my mantra, as my intentions, as who and how I want to be. But I have not truly defined them for myself. What exactly does being Present, Brave and Kind look like for me? What can I do to encourage these lofty goals and intentions and actually incorporate them into my life?
In 2018, being Present, Brave and Kind defined for me, means the following:
Using social media and phone screen time between the hours of 9 to 5 to allow more time to explore myself, my relationships and my interests and hobbies.
Listening with an intent to understand, rather than respond, in all of my conversations, both personal and professional and including those with myself.
Ground myself in the here and now. Do my best every day, which will change day to day, but be in the moment and be the best I can in that moment.
Open myself up to increasing vulnerability and authenticity in my life. In my professional and personal life.
Write, share and speak more openly about where I’ve been, where I am and where I hope to go. This seems in contrast to the Be Present intention, but acknowledging the journey that I have been on and how I managed to get here is exposing vulnerability, weakness and overwhelming humanness, and that is brave.
Incorporate more honesty into my life, my responses and my actions. I don’t want to be an asshole, but I do want to be genuine and authentic. This means being honest with myself and those in my life. It means being real and being me. Putting aside fear, fear of missing out, of what others may think and of speaking my truth. Choosing to be me, to embrace joy and happiness on my terms.
Be kind whenever possible, and it’s always possible. This includes being kind to those in my life, those who cross my path, but also to myself. I am the hardest on myself and unnecessarily so. Kindness and self-care are not about being selfish, but about nourishment.
Giving the benefit of the doubt. If I get cut off in traffic, or someone budge’s in the coffee line, or a snarky work email is received, do I know why? Is the car driving really fast in traffic and cutting me off an asshole? Or is he trying to get his wife to the hospital? Is he late for work and doesn’t want to get fired? Did his dog just get hit by a car? Maybe he is an asshole, but I don’t know that and I’d prefer to consider the other options first.
Smile. Plain and simple. Happiness seems like a great choice.
Are you ready to set intentions? Who do you want to be in 2018?