In recent years I’ve moved away from the idea of resolutions and goals and have turned towards intention setting instead. One of the things that really doesn’t help my health is to put pressure on myself and I’ve found that easily done when I have a goal or a resolution. It might just be a different use of language but I use the word intention to signify a different approach altogether, which involves visualisation, surrender, permissiveness, detachment and trust. The bottom line is that I move away from my intention as a destination to achieve and see it as an inspiring possibility, one that will help me take aligned action now.
I usually set a long term and short-term intentions at this time of year. The long term is that inspiring picture of what could be, the short term is about seeing myself taking the actions that will move me forward towards that possibility. For example, a long-term intention might be full and vibrant health and I might visualise hiking up a mountain with some friends, imagining the joy of the experience along with the feeling of energy, strength and flow. A short-term intention might be imagining myself feeling relaxed and flowing while easily taking a slightly longer walk than I’m presently able to do.
Once I’ve set my intentions, I surrender. I recognise that although I can take responsibility for the actions that can move me forward, I am not completely in control. This surrender helps me to accept what is, whenever things don’t go as planned.
In order not to put pressure on myself (which is really ineffective use of my limited energy) I need to give myself permission not to take an action step when it’s just not the right thing for my body in that moment. Although I recognise that consistency is key to growth and healing, putting consistency before how you’re feeling can lead to stress, overwhelm or doing to much. All of which will move you back rather than forward. So, when I set an intention I do so with a permissiveness that I can let it go if it’s not the kindest thing to do for myself in the moment.
Detachment is an absolute key to intention setting. It’s so important not to get attached to the intention as a destination to arrive at or something to achieve. It’s far more important to be as happy and healthy as possible while we enjoy the journey. We will move further and enjoy life more if we are motivated by an inspiring possibility, but the role of the inspiring possibility is to get us to take actions that do as much to make the now better as they do to move us forward. For example, my long-term intention of hiking in the mountains with friends, inspires my short-term intention of gently increasing the length of my daily walks, which inspires me to get out and walk every day I feel well enough to, which dramatically adds to my quality of life when I choose to enjoy the moment. Detachment allow us to be more accepting of whatever life may throw of us, and that saves a load of energy! It also means we’re more likely to enjoy the good things that come into our life, even when they don’t match perfectly with our intention.
Detachment is really difficult without trust. I choose to trust that everything will work out. I choose to be open to the different ways l might experience satisfaction if I don’t get exactly where I’m aiming for. I choose to trust that I can deal with whatever comes my way. I know that by being in a state of trust I am not wasting my energy on worry, which means I can direct the energy I have to moving forward or dealing with whatever challenged I come upon.
I know trust can be a challenge, particularly when things aren’t going well for you health wise, so check out this post I wrote for some tips for those bad days.
If you’d like to be more powerful with your New Year intention setting and taking the steps towards inspiring possibilities don’t do it alone. You’ll be more effective at improving your health and embracing happiness if you get the right support. My membership group are working together at making a fresh start this month, and there is such magic in working with a group of people with similar aims. For just £18 a month you could join us weekly on a live zoom call for a skills focused support group, focusing on weekly material that I send out to guide you. You can watch the first week’s video here as a taster, so you know what you’re letting yourself in for! Use my contact form to request more details if you’re interested.
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