After a particularly grueling year in 2015—one that tested me spiritually, physically and emotionally, I reflected back on life and wrote a list of intentions for the new year—how I’d live if I embraced the message behind my favorite line in Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day.”
Without knowing it, I was re-training myself to operate more from my heart; each intention stemmed from a desire to own what I would say, do or be. Three years later, as another year turns the page, I found these heartfelt intentions and reflected on the overall impact they’ve had on my life.
I’m a bonafide believer in intentions; resolutions, not so much. Whatever your resolutions would be this year, throw them away. We don’t want to start 2019 in the energy of blame, shame or force. We want to leave that fear where it belongs—in 2018. To counteract the fear and enter into the New Year with alignment, we can set intentions rather than resolutions.
A resolution sounds like: “I’m going to lose 10 pounds by March.”
An intention sounds like: “I choose to take care of my body by eating foods that support my heath and working out more consistently.
The latter is based in love—the former, guilt and unworthiness.
When we set intentions, we are declaring to our own heart and mind, God and the entire Universe how we’d like to feel, be and act in the world, what we’d like to do and where we’d like to go (figuratively speaking).
We are not only living intentionally this way, but we are getting clear. When we are both clear and intentional, we can move forward in a powerful yet meaningful way.
When we are clear on our intentions, our goals become much clearer too. We know what our priorities are based on the intentions we set (intentions reveal our true soul’s priorities). Our goals then back us up in inching ever-so-closely to the life we desire to live—the one and only precious life.
Another advantage to setting intentions is they leave us open to the myriad of outcomes and possibilities at our disposal. By staying flexible (and leaving rigid resolutions behind), we let go of expectations and allow the best possible outcome to make its way to us. We also manage to be kinder to ourselves!
Because, let's face it, if we have to lose that weight by springtime or force ourselves to eat salad when we really want fries, we will do more damage than good.
New Year Intentions Exercise
Take all your “would be” resolutions and set intentions for the coming year. Turn your “I woulds” or “I shoulds” into “I choose” statements to infuse each intention with love.
Ponder this question as you write your intentions: If I could live the life I imagine—as my boldest, truest self—what would I do differently?
my 2019 Intentions
I choose to be kinder (to myself and others).
I choose to let people off the hook of my own expectations (myself included)
I choose to be more honest with myself and others.
I choose to keep my promises.
I choose to let others be themselves and love them where they are.
I choose to take the time to heal my heart after a relationship.
I choose to get comfortable with being alone.
I choose to not be afraid of being my true self around others.
I choose to not strive to gain others acceptance or approval.
I choose to act like I am already accepted by who matters (myself and God).
I choose to think of others over my own gain.
I choose to embrace humility over pride
I choose to gain by giving not receiving.
As this year comes to a rumbling halt, feel deep gratitude for all the lessons, wisdom and experience it brought with it.
As the New Year arrives at your doorstep, I leave you with this inspirational sentiment: If something doesn't excite your soul, find something that does. If you don't love with every ounce of your being, look underneath as to why. If life doesn't seem like a grand adventure, change your perspective.