Taking Care: Setting Intentions
So, on New Year’s Eve 2018, I decided to record a video … did you see it?? It really was all sorts of things but really what it turned into was about setting intentions for the year ahead. And while it is now April, the idea still seems to be one of value and importance.
And while I am not a fan of setting resolutions because that just sounds so negative to me, I am a HUGE fan of goals and intentions in order to make change. Many people start a new year and make all sorts of resolutions. Resolutions by definition is a firm decision to do or not do something. That just sounds so harsh and so black and white. And on top of the whole idea, there are all sorts of posts, blogs, articles, etc. out there about why resolutions work and, in contrast, why they do not work.
From my own experience, I have found that most time resolutions are high in the “should” and “have to” and “need to” categories. They also tend to be these big lofty ideas …. I will get healthy, I will lose weight, etc. So, I am not a huge fan of resolutions. Too big and lofty. Too filled with the should, have to, and need to for ourselves.
While I am not a fan of resolutions that build upon those values, I am a fan of setting goals and intentions as a way for building balance and change and want to share with all of you my reasoning behind it.
Reason #1 – We are CHANGING
First and foremost, I believe that we are ever changing beings and that is something not only to remind ourselves but to share with our next generation. Goals and intentions are great because they are the stepping stones to the larger ideals we have for ourselves. They allow us to grow into a space that feels right for ourselves with small, incremental steps.
Reason #2 — Accountability & Follow Through
Change does not happen unless there is some sort of accountability in place. Setting an intention or goal allows for accountability. You want to improve on something, change something, do something … you need a space to declare it, so you can work on it. Just thinking about it doesn’t count … although, I wish it really did! You are more apt to make the change, try something new, or whatever because you put it out there in the world, for you or even for others to see/hear/read and that alone holds us accountable.
I find this important as a parent because there is so much I would love to do, see, be and really, unless I put it out there, it does not happen. It also allows us as parents to model this for our children, no matter their age. Yes, even parents with grown children. They are always still looking to you to show them and guide them. Showing them that accountability is a good thing because it leads to follow through.
Reason #3 – Not Set in Stone
Goals and intentions are not set in stone. Just because you wrote it down, said it out loud, made a video confession … does not mean that it can’t change, adjust, shift into what feels right for you. I know this may seem a bit contradictory to the whole accountability and follow through idea, but hear me out.
So, we put it out there … we share it …. We make it our stepping stone. But let’s say … at some point, things just are not going right. It is getting really tough. Or what you thought was the best approach turns out to be a complete flop. Then what?? What do you do?? I look at it as a way to change it up.
Intentions and goals help us along our path to change but also allow us the opportunity to see change and be change. It allows us to really see what we want for ourselves. Sometimes what we hoped for, thought about, etc. is not really what feels right. We change it up our goals and our intentions. We don’t fully abandoned ship … but rather look at it a different way and change up how or why we are making the change.
Reason #4 – It Can Be FUN!
It sounds strange but really it can be fun to set intentions.
Maybe you like to type …. And you open up a word doc or whatever and just let your fingers flow. Maybe you like to journal, so you get a new one and some fancy pens/markers and go to town. Maybe you are a talker so you open that voice memo app and start recording. Make it FUN!! Because it really can be.
Setting out on new intentions and goals can be exhilarating. And while the initial feeling is all good, warm, and fuzzy, being able to have a space to reflect back when needed to remind yourself of the feel goods is so valuable and fun.
When I started my certification process for life coaching, I had to travel out to the west coast for a retreat. And I got all the feels! But one thing that stuck with me is in this picture below. These were up on the walls and my fellow trainees and lead/mentor coaches wrote on my sheet (we did this for everyone! It really was so cool!). I still keep this hung up in my home office because it is my reminder of the intention, the goal I set for myself. To be a life coach (my big lofty goal), to let my true authentic self shine through, to come from a place of passion and compassion in the work that I do. These women saw it, even when I wanted to hide it. So, when it gets really tough … and really, it has been tough to stay motivated through the entire certification and post-certification process … I look at this and it reminds me of all the feels, the really good, warm, fuzzy, amazingness that this brings!
Reason #5 – Failure/Flopping Is an Option
Yes … you did read that correctly! Failure is an option when it comes to intentions. Why? Because when you mess up, you fail, you struggle more than what you are comfortable with, you get the opportunity to learn and grow. But what you don’t have to do with it, is give up. Have you ever made a resolution that you truly kept? I don’t know anyone who really has and I believe the reason to be that once it gets hard, or once someone perceives that they fail, they just quit altogether.
Setting intentions allows us to use these moments, these potential failures, as learning opportunities. It allows for the real change, the real growth to happen. You want balance in your life, you need to experience imbalance in the other direction, even if it is just momentary. Instead of giving up and quitting, use it to feed your growth, your change. Allow yourself to experience the pendulum swing to the other side and back again. Take notes on it, meditate on it, exercise on it … just USE IT!
Reason #6 – It Can Happen at Any Time & Does Not Need an End Date
I am a big believer that many resolutions fail because we set a firm, January 1st, as our day to start to make the change and a firm December 31stas our end date. But have you ever really thought about it …. The start and end are smack in the midst of the most stressful time of the year for many. It is after gorging on delicious, yummy, and at times unhealthy food and drinks or getting ready to do all of that. It is in the DEAD OF WINTER in most places!! Seriously, I live in the Northeast, and outside of a few times, it is freezing cold, snowy, dark at all hours, etc. for many months. All of this makes it so hard to start and really keep a resolution.
I do, however, feel that when we are in the space of want and desire to change, then we will. That is why, setting intentions is great. There is no firm deadline of when it will start or even when it will actually end. If you set yourself up right, it can be continuous and ever growing. And since we know that it is ok to fall down, to fail, to mess up, etc., it leaves us open to picking ourselves up and continuing on … you just start right where you left off.
There you have it. My thoughts on how to approach this stage in the year and deal with the hype of developing resolutions!
It is now a new year with new pages to be written in your book of life …. What do you want it to look like?? As we jump into this new year, whenever you decide to start your new year, I implore you to really take a look at how you can set goals and intentions for yourself that are achievable, have value to add, and allow you to grow, change, be the amazing person and parent you see for yourself.
As always …. Take Care, Kristin