An insightful comment on our last post got me thinking about intentions, leading me to my following suggestion- rather than an entire list of resolutions for the new year, why not set just one intention for yourself?
To honestly set an intention, you must first understand what it is that you’re actually after. Whether in regard to your physical health, your job, your relationships, or any other area in your life, mindfully asking yourself what your true intent is will cause you to step back and gain clarity regarding the situation at hand. Rather than simply resolving to “get in shape”, take that one step further and examine the feelings within the desired goal. Regarding getting in shape, is it simply about not liking the way your clothes fit, or is it about your dismay at becoming breathless when you attempt to climb a flight of stairs? Is it the physical discomfort of too many incidents of overeating, or is it the mental dismay over feeling a lack of control regarding your eating? Are you fearful for your health and longevity, or are you simply fearful of something you can’t yet name and it’s taking a toll on your energy? Often we attribute being out of shape to a lack of willpower regarding diet and exercise when in truth, that is actually the least of the issue. But we can’t address the issue until we become aware of the issue. How do we become aware of the issue? By going within, asking for guidance, and being still long enough to tap into what we’re being told and shown. For example, if the person above who resolved to get in shape examines the feelings behind the desired goal and finds that what is truly troubling him/her is a perceived lack of control, his/her true intention has now been made clear: gain self-control. He/she can now direct their energy toward focusing on this intention, and once achieving it, the other goals affected in this area will become more easily reachable. Not because they had any more willpower than they ever did, but because they are addressing the actual issue rather than attempting to treat the symptoms.
Setting your intention is one of the first steps in navigating change. Not surprisingly, it will not be the only step involved. As Andy Stanley reminds us in the quote below, intention alone will not bring us to our destination. We must also be heading in the right direction. Doing so will require an open-mindedness toward seeking instruction and a willingness to become uncomfortable, topics we will continue to delve into as the year progresses. For now, take your time and set your one intention mindfully. Do not concern yourself with naming future intentions at this time, as these will show themselves in their own time and at their own pace. As always, you are off the clock.