If you’ve ever taken a yoga class at a studio, perhaps you heard your instructor ask you to “set an intention for your practice today.” If you were able to do so and to stay connected with that intention throughout the class, you might have noticed the freeing, uplifting, and empowering sense that came with maintaining such a focus on exactly what you needed in those moments. Perhaps you are in the practice of checking in with a daily intention – which is fabulous! If you are not, this New Year’s might be the perfect time to start.
The biggest reason I feel this is the optimal time to get into the groove of tuning into your needs and living intentionally is likely the same as the most common reflection people experience with New Year’s resolutions: disappointment. Consider this: What are some of the most typical resolutions people set? Losing weight, quitting a “bad” behavior, starting a “good” behavior, making or saving more money… Many of these have the the tendency to fail, I believe, because the motivation behind these goals is wanting to “move away” from something, instead of “moving toward.” Also, the changes people seek may only be skin deep, instead of coming from a place of inner growth and empowerment.
Being intentional is about listening to your true needs and taking action to manifest them in your everyday behaviors. By no longer trying to “move away” from chaos and stress, and instead trying to establish peace and calmness, you are giving yourself what you need. By transforming jealousy and bitterness into gratitude and praise, by tossing your list of daily grievances for a list of daily inspirations, and by overpowering your negative self-talk with true statements about your abilities and worth you are forging healthy patterns which will last far beyond the moment you reach that desired number on the scale or stamp out your last cigarette.
Bringing yourself back to the intention you set can be very challenging at times. This is where the symbolic countdown to the New Year can become an essential tool in reframing your perspective. When you are counting down from ten each New Year’s Eve, your focus is on those ten descending numbers – not on your bills, your responsibilities, or the other hundreds of thoughts trying to swarm into your consciousness.
Use this New Year’s countdown to usher in a new practice of intentional living. If you have to return to that countdown when you feel far from living your intention, make sure that you do. Let it serve as a reset, along with a few deep breaths, to remind yourself of what is truly important to you. Is it accepting yourself as you are? Is it finding gratitude or beauty in your surroundings? Is it recognizing your strength? Is it to be open to receive love or find meaning in a difficult situation?
What will your intention be this New Year’s?