Earlier in the year, I spent a few days camping with good friends. We had time to chat about lots of things, and one question that came up was whether we had set intentions for 2017. And when the question was asked, to be completely honest, I felt annoyed about the emphasis of setting intentions for a new year.
I agree that the New Year is a great time and opportunity to reflect and set intentions if you don’t already have them. But I don’t believe it’s a once-a-year thing.
When my friend asked the question, I realised that my intentions were exactly the same as they were a week prior, or two weeks prior. But they weren’t the same as they were a month before – because I’m constantly reassessing and tweaking my intentions. They are a living and moving guidance system for my thoughts and actions. Because as I know more, learn more, meditate more, deep-dive more into who I am, I evolve and so does my thinking.
So for me, intentions need to be fluid enough to keep up with the constant evolution of who I am.
And I’m not alone. We are all like this.
We are all constantly-changing and evolving.
Hopefully we are evolving forward more often than not, but sometimes we step sideways, other times we go backwards, but we are always co-creating and evolving based on the cards dealt to us in life.
And so it makes sense that our intentions are able to come with us along our journey.
According to Deepak Chopra, intentions are ‘directed impulses of consciousness that contain the seed of that which you aim to create.’ They provide guidance and direction, but differ from goals in the sense they aren’t defined by an outcome. Instead they are dynamic and adaptive. They are open to tweaking, yet strong enough to keep us headed into the direction we intend to go.
To me, intentions are quite similar to affirmations. They use the language of already being in place (i.e. present tense). They are expansive, yet still achievable and believable. And most importantly, they feel good. They feel inspiring.
How to set your intentions
Think about different areas of your life. For example, your relationships. Your career. Your family. Your health. Your spirituality. Your interests. Your pets. And anything else that is important to you.
Think about what you want in each of those areas. Remember, you are planting the seed of what you want to create, providing guidance and direction. But unlike goals, don’t be fixated on an outcome (i.e. with goals, often you either achieve your goal or you don’t.)
So, for example, if you are wanting to travel more, an intention could be:
“I seek out adventure wherever I can.”
If you’re wanting to change jobs, an intention might be:
“I am in a job that is satisfying and rewarding.”
Therefore, it keeps your present situation open to be enjoyed more fully. You may find the elements you love about travel in your home town. Circumstances surrounding your current job may improve. Or maybe you will land a junket trip to Paris. Or the job of your dreams. Intentions keeps options open so any outcome (even better than what you could have imagined) is possible.
In my book, It’s Your Birth… Right? I share the following tips on how to set intentions:
- Make them meaningful to you.
- Use the present tense of the end result (i.e. I am, rather than I will).
- Make them expansive; think big.
- Ensure they’re achievable and believable to you.
- Use positive language.
- Use empowering words.
- Make them clear and concise.
And then when you have set your intentions – make them known to yourself. Write out your intentions – put them on sticky notes and stick them where you will see them each day – like your fridge or the bathroom mirror. You may even wish to record them on your Smartphone so you can play them back to yourself.
Over time, you might find some intentions are no longer as relevant (as you find you are satisfied in your job), or they might evolve and change. So keep reviewing, tweaking and rewriting your intentions as you evolve and grow into them. That’s why I love putting them on sticky-notes – you can keep the old ones for recognition of what you have achieved, and write out new ones as you need.
Let me know how you find this exercise of setting intentions. Comment below with your major intentions – and whether or not you agree that intentions are an all-year thing, rather than just a once-a-year thing.
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