Well, here we are at the end of January, the first month of the New Year all but gone. So, be honest with me: it's been over three weeks (the 'magic time' for new habits, good habits to be built). How did you do in that time with your resolutions to lose weight, get organized, exercise more, be more present, whatever your goals had been? Not so good, you say? I swear - it's because of the Guilt Factor! Follow along ....
Our yoga instructor recently was sharing her thoughts on resolutions vs intentions. I hadn't really given the matter much thought, but did realize that in my wee mind, I always thought of resolutions as negative: something with a final outcome; success or failure; do or die; solving, fixing some problem or issue you had. Yes ... pretty much all to the negative. Maybe that's why we just can't ever get them to the Finish Line? "To Do or NOT To Do," right? Guilt at 100% if you don't succeed!
OK, so where do intentions lead us? An intention has a much 'softer' goal. There isn't a road to success or failure; it IS the road, the process, the journey. Wow - that's an entirely different mindset, isn't it? You are NOT a problem to be 'fixed! You just do the best you can to be the best you can be, a much more promising prospect, right? It's much more effective because it's harder to fail: you just aim to be/do better tomorrow; it's harder to fail; very much more positive. Concentration is on the process, not the outcome. You are trying to be mindful to live your intentions each day, based on your needs and with the utmost appreciation that you are already wonderful - you're just being realistic that you could make some changes for the better. Healthy choices in small steps; aiming for a bit better each day; but no sense of failure!
So, is all this just a matter of semantics, a bit on the woo-woo end of the spectrum? I truly don't think so because of the change in Mind Set. Resolutions have no consequences if you take no active steps toward their accomplishment, but boy, oh, boy is there guilt, shame and a huge sense of failure if you don't meet that resolution!
Intentions are empowering, more attainable, more realistic and you feel better sharing them with your accountability partners. Because they are at the positive end of your thinking and not at the negative (I MUST!) end, you just automatically make better choices; instill better habits; accept that instead of everything working out perfectly, that by making your intentions known, opportunities and strength will arise. So, instead of promising yet again that "I will lose X pounds, run X miles a week and never leave anything undone," your intention will be to "take better care of myself; be strong: and be comfortable with my body." Yes, some specificity is desired, but therein, too, lies the chance of that nasty word, failure! Do you notice the difference in the POWER to succeed with the change in verbiage? Wahoo!
Let's reset that mind set, shall we?
1. Be active in setting your intentions, noting action steps and the road map for the journey.
2. Visualize or meditate on what the positive outcome will be.
3. Share your goals so you have someone to be accountable to.
4. Make choices that concur and align with your intention.
5. More importantly: be gentle with yourself; no shame; no guilt!
Yes, the first month of this year might be about gone, but we have a new chance every single day to try to be the better WE that we know is possible! Don't worry about the New Year's Resolutions that didn't quite make muster into the 4th week of the January. Let's set new Intentions that we work on each day, bit by bit, step by step, knowing that some days we are more successful than others at following our new paths, but that The Journey is the most important part of the passage!
Here's to YOU and a bright year of happiness and acceptance!
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