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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Porritt

Don't Have Resolutions, Set Intentions!


 

As the new year dawns, it's common to find ourselves scribbling down a list of resolutions in an attempt to make ourselves into the person we truly wish to be. These resolutions often represent our aspirations - to lose weight, to save more money, to travel. Yet, more often than not, as the year progresses, these resolutions start to feel like distant, unattainable fantasies. This cycle, repeated year after year, can leave us feeling deflated, incapable and not enough just as we are. But what if we shifted our approach from setting resolutions to setting intentions?

 

The Difference Between Intentions and Resolutions

 

Intentions are different from resolutions in their essence. Resolutions are specific, measurable goals with a clear pass/fail outcome. In contrast, intentions are guiding principles or a mindset that can help to shape our journey, regardless of the destination. They are fluid, adaptable, and forgiving. While a resolution says, "I will lose a stone by March," an intention says, "I intend to treat my body with respect and nourish it healthily." This allows for more flexibility and makes it easier to adjust your approach as needed. This shift in perspective changes how we approach our goals and, more importantly, how we measure our success. Also by setting intentions rather than resolutions, you can create a more sustainable and fulfilling path towards self-improvement.

 

Embracing the Power of Intentions

 

Setting intentions allows us to live more balanced and fulfilling lives. It's about aligning our daily actions with our broader life values. For example, instead of the rigid resolution to practice yoga every day, an intention to be more present in body and mind can lead us to a variety of activities that achieve that goal, making the journey more enjoyable and less about ticking a box. The psychological benefits of this approach include reduced pressure, increased mindfulness, and a compassionate understanding of personal growth as a non-linear process.

 

How to Integrate Intentions into Your Daily Life

 

To start setting intentions, first reflect on what truly matters to you. Identify your core values and how you want to embody them in your life. Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks about core values in his Bestselling book “Happy Mind, Happy Life”. Some examples he gives of core values might be integrity, compassion, curiosity, family, creativity, honesty, kindness, loyalty, and empathy. He then suggests you choose three values that seem most important to you, then take a moment to check in with yourself regularly to assess how you’re doing with them. It could be a case of bringing these intentions to life through daily affirmations and mindful practices. For instance, starting the day with a few minutes of meditation can reinforce your intention to be calm and focused. Journaling can also be a powerful tool to reflect on how your daily choices align with your intentions, providing a sense of direction and purpose.

 

 

In my practice as a reflexologist, I've experienced the transformation that comes from setting intentions. Before each treatment I also set an intention for the session, whether it be to allow my client to relax in a way they are not able to during their daily life, to focus on helping them cope with pain, or anxiety. In some cases, I even ask my client to set their own intention and to keep it in mind during the session as a way to anchor them to the moment. An intention to be fully present with each client has not only enriched their therapy experience but has also deepened my understanding and appreciation of my work. This approach extends to all aspects of life, nurturing physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

 

 

Setting intentions is a powerful way to approach personal growth. It's not about specific achievements but about how you want to live your life. As we embark on this new year, I encourage you to embrace the practice of setting intentions. Remember, it's a journey of continuous growth and self-discovery. Let this be the year you move away from rigid resolutions and towards a life led by intentions that resonate with your true self.

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