Raise your hand if you have set new year’s resolutions in previous years only to find that they fall by the wayside and are forgotten as soon as we get through January?
Many of us see a new year as a new beginning and a time to make things/ourselves better – a blank canvas for us to improve upon the past twelve months. But the concept of setting resolutions at this time of year has developed negative connotations. Even the word ‘resolution’ means to make a firm decision to do or not do something, or to resolve a problem. So why do we put this pressure on ourselves? Instead, what if we viewed it as an opportunity to reflect and look forward whilst taking a more flexible, compassionate approach towards our goals and dreams?
We’re big fans of setting intentions for the year rather than resolutions. Intentions allow us to reconnect with ourselves – mind, body, and soul – while still giving us direction and passion. They are a way to realise what we want our life to look like and why, what brings us happiness and purpose, and how we want to feel. Intentions are less goal-oriented and more focussed on the why; encouraging us to live more mindfully, live them each and every day, and embrace who we are. The best part? You can set them anytime!
So how do you set intentions? Well, here are our tips to support you with setting yours…
HOW TO SET INTENTIONS
- Firstly, look back at the past year with gratitude. Remember all of the successes and challenges, highs and lows. Feel grateful for the successes that came your way, and the challenges with the perspective that each challenge taught you something. This is good practice throughout the year and can easily be achieved by writing in a gratitude journal regularly . From this, you can begin to appreciate what has gone well and realise that each challenge thrown your way was just a correction of the path that you are on. By nurturing this sense of gratitude you will attract more positive energy.
- Find some quiet time to sit down, reflect and visualise what your new intentions could be. You could start by trying yoga or meditation to relax your mind – allowing thoughts to flow freely. If sitting with your thoughts isn’t for you, being outside in the fresh air is a brilliant way to open up your mind as to what you want to go after and why that matters to you. We find that nature is always the easiest environment to be in to reconnect with ourselves rather than our devices, and to breathe.
- After thinking and visualising, it’s important to write a list of your intentions. We’ve found that the best way to frame these is by saying, for example, “I am going to take care of my body because it takes care of me” rather than “I will go through a full skincare routine every morning and evening”. It is much easier and kinder when we set intentions in this way instead of making something sound and feel like a chore. We can still break down what this intention looks like for us, but by looking at the bigger picture and why we care about this intention, we are taking away the added pressure and fear of failure which ultimately makes us want to give up once we have forgotten/been unable to complete an action.
- Next up, map out those day-to-day actions which make up your intentions. As well as the why, an intention (like a resolution) needs to include the how. This is where you can plan out resources (your time, energy and money) and what is required to get you there.
- If possible, share your list with someone close to you, along with why each one matters to you. With all the best will and determination in the world, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain our motivation to keep going. With an understanding of the importance of your intentions, they can more easily get on board; providing encouragement and support along the way, keeping you focused and holding you accountable to achieving those intentions.
- To begin living your intentions every day, try to devise a single word or short mantra/affirmation that sums up each intention. Using these daily will strengthen each intention and reiterate what it means to you. You may also like to create a vision board where you pin images, quotes, and objects which will inspire you.
A few reminders for you…
- Remember to celebrate even the smallest change or achievement. This will not only change the situation but will give you a huge boost of self-confidence and motivation to keep going.
- If things aren’t quite going to plan, don’t be hard on yourself. There are lots of different options to explore – you are not tied like you may feel when you set resolutions. The great thing about intentions rather than resolutions is the idea that we can revisit this anytime. We aren’t letting anybody (especially ourselves) down. We can simply return to the intention and consider our approach and what it looks like to us as our lives change and we navigate various paths – this is what we meant earlier when we said about a more flexible and compassionate method.
- The whole point of intentions is that they are personal and realistic. They aren’t about striving for perfection and they aren’t about making you feel anything less than enough as you are. Intentions are created with your hopes and aims in mind, giving you the control and drive to change them as you need/want to.
- We’ve also found that by establishing a routine that allows you enough time in the evenings to wind down before bed, you are more likely to feel better in yourself and ready to achieve your intentions. It’s all about finding what works for you. While we have shared our guide to setting intentions in this post, you may have your own ways of bringing them to life.
So, why wait until 31st December to do this when you can start now?
WILL YOU BE SETTING INTENTIONS OR MAKING RESOLUTIONS FOR 2020?
We’d love for you to tell us in a comment below!