We are over half way through the first month of 2011, and although the New Year is often embraced with affirmations, resolutions and goals, January can be a tough time to find that extra kick in your step. There is often a feeling of deflation that follows the festivities and joys of the holiday season. Even on the horizon of February, your energy, motivation, and outlook may still feel heavy and tarnished, like the mounds of stained snow that sit in piles along walkways and roads.
It’s easy to forget that when this snow first fell, its lightness and luster was met with many smiles—the first chill of the season bursting as it landed on bright, rosy cheeks. The freshness of a winter’s first snow is enough for anyone to appreciate the changing seasons, but is it enough to hold us over until we see the first budding signs of spring?
We cannot always count on the stimulation of our senses to feel a presence in the world. In a season when we see no flowers, do we still remember that spring will come? In a day when we see no friends, are we still certain that they are still there?
How you choose to fill these moments of lull is what determines your outlook on the world. These are times you look inward and make a choice—to surrender to a place of apathy, or move forward on a path of intention.
Setting an intention is different from setting a resolution; or, at least, it requires a different approach. A resolution is a decision to do or to not do something, but an intention creates a purpose, an aim, to direct your decisions toward. We often set intentions subconsciously, but the power of creating an intention exists in being fully conscious of our own existence.
An intention requires a deeper commitment to maintain your goals. It creates true and lasting motivation that will not be found in the pronouncement of a resolution. Intentions become of a part of your everyday existence—the life you want to create and sustain, and not just for the first three weeks of every new year.
If you are trying to uphold your resolutions for 2011, try shifting the way think about them and strengthen them with the power of intention. Here are some examples that may help you:
Resolution: I will make more time for my friends.
Intention: I will choose to recognize the fulfillment that others bring to my life. The more love I give, the more love I will receive in return.
Resolution: I will be healthier this year.
Intention: I will value the body that allows me to wake up every day and live in this world. The foods I eat, the activities I do, and the people with whom I surround myself should all be a part of my commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Resolution: I will spend less and save more.
Intention: I will respect the role that money plays in my life, and value the work I do to earn the money that helps me live. Feeling financially balanced will require me to be more mindful of what I spend my money on and more aware of how to plan for my financial future.
Resolution: I will do more art and read more books.
Intention: I will remember the joy and fulfillment that creative and intellectual stimulation brings to my life. I am not willing to sacrifice these elements because I am too spread thin. I will make time to give myself.
Use resolutions to help you make choices that will keep you on track with your intentions for every day, month, and year of your life. Focus your decisions toward your goals, and aim your goals toward your intentions.
Setting large intentions for your life can be overwhelming, so start by focusing on smaller, daily intentions that help you find purpose and fulfillment at this time in your life. The more consciousness you have about each step you take, the more ease you will find in walking a path of purpose.
Start today by making an intention chart. First, write down three goals, desires, or aspirations for: 1) today, 2) this year, and 3) this life. Make a diagram of an upside-down triangle with three sections. Write “THIS LIFE:” in the biggest piece on the top, “THIS YEAR:” as the middle piece, and “TODAY:” in the smallest, bottom piece.
Fill in the sections with the aims you wrote for each piece of your life. Now, within each section, write some decisions or resolutions that will help you work toward these aims. Once you have completed the diagram, look it over to find common themes—the intentions—that exist within it. They are not individual steps you take, but the direction in which you take them.
You can make as many diagrams as you like, perhaps for one for each different element of your life—(Physical, Emotional, or Spiritual). Put an intention diagram out where you will see it often. You can make new diagrams every month or every year, as you may find that your desires and goals shift over time. Take notice, however, in their consistencies.
Intention resonates softly in the spaces between your dreams and desires. Listen to its peaceful harmony, and let it sustain your dance.