I is for Intentions

It is a new year, and the joy and festivities of Christmas are now over. Many of you might set a new year’s resolution to determine what you will change this year.

The truth is that most of us set ourselves up for failure when it comes to new year’s resolutions because our lists are too long, unrealistic, or they’re simply not exciting enough!

So, we say, ditch the New Year Resolutions! Not only is it the most liberating feeling, but you will also avoid the massive guilt trip that comes from setting them, starting them, slipping up on them and then stopping them all in the space of two weeks (or maybe less)! Many people suffer from ‘January blues’, so why give ourselves something else to feel miserable about?

We recommend that you set new year intentions instead of new year resolutions.

So, what is an intention vs a resolution?

A resolution is ‘a firm decision to do or not to do something.’ It is about what you want to change.

An intention is ‘focusing internally on something you want and plan to do’. It describes how you want to feel. 

Can you see from those definitions how rigid and strict a resolution sounds compared to an intention? This is why resolutions are hard to stick to, as they don’t help you with the process. This is where intentions come in – it’s about focussing internally to understand the process you want to go through until you reach your desired goal. 

Intentions, however, are not about the end goal. Instead, they are the act of stating what you intend to achieve through your actions. 

For example, Mark is a very keen runner, and he had the idea of running 100 marathons. We are thrilled to say that he has successfully completed this ambition, and you can read all about it in his book ‘Half Man, Half Marathon’.

Half Man Half Marathon

Taking this scenario, we can state that Mark’s goal was that he wanted to run 100 marathons. 

On the other hand, his intention towards this goal was to know how it would feel to run 100 marathons and enjoy each run he did.

Do you see the difference?

Setting an intention will help to support your goals. It will make you more aware of the steps you are taking. Completing a goal can be hard work, but setting an intention will help you enjoy the fact that you are getting closer to the end goal with every step you take.

So, how can I set intentions?

You can set intentions for all aspects of your life. Think about what you really want and make a conscious effort to take time out of your day or week to think about your intentions. Adding it to your routine will help it to become a habit. When coming up with your intentions, make sure you either say or write them down. When you do, note how they make you feel and try to visualise yourself living out that intention.

Here are some examples:

You could start your day by saying something like, ‘Today, I will be more present’, ‘Today I intend to stay focussed on my to-do list’, or ‘Today, I will enjoy eating healthier things.’

Before going shopping, you might say, ‘When I shop, I will make more conscious choices.’ 

If you get impatient quickly, you could say, ‘I will be calm and patient for each situation I experience.’

You might set more personal intentions, such as ‘I intend to be open to new opportunities without shutting myself down’ or ‘I will listen to my gut and let it guide me.’

Every day we make thousands of choices, so try and set yourself an intention for each day or week to give your decisions some direction. Think about the goals you want to achieve this year and ensure you set intentions to help you reach your end destination whilst paying attention and enjoying the journey more.

What intention are you setting today?

To find out more on this topic…

Listen to our ‘I is for Intentions’ podcast episode

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