Resolutions may fail because:
  • We set great expectations that are too high to achieve
  • Fear: We doubt our abilities to reach our goals
  • We cannot handle a drastic change
  • We continue to focus on the future, i.e., “when I get there, I’ll be happy” – and we can never seem to get there
For a few years, I was too intimidated to consider a resolution, but I somehow wanted to “move forward” to improve myself.  I began to shift my way of thinking by just simply granting myself “loving kindness.” I wasn’t sure what that general “resolution” would bring – little did I know that it would be the start of my journey to wellness. That mantra actually was, and is, an:

Intention \in-ˈten(t)-shən\ noun
the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose

1:  a determination to act in a certain way :  resolve2:  importsignificance3a :  what one intends to do or bring about
:  the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered
4:  a process or manner of healing of incised wounds
…or in the words of the Oxford English Dictionary, an aim or plan.
All yoga practitioners set an intention for what they will get out of their practice just prior to starting class.  The intention is:
  • Always in the present tense – you are constantly focusing on how you feel and experience NOW.
  • Very general – not specific like a goal or objective.
As simple as this sounds, setting a generic aim or plan for yourself now will spread to other aspects of your life. Change is gradual, starting with one or two simple concepts. You don’t have to practice yoga to set an intention.  Once you understand how intentions work, you’ll find yourself less intimidated about your plan, especially since an intention begins once you set it – there is no future goal to attain.

How Do I Begin?

Schedule some private time (5 to 10 minutes) for yourself in a quiet place. Get in a comfortable seated or supine position. Play quiet ambient music, or keep your space quiet. Close your eyes, and become aware of your body. Tense and hold your arms and fists, then relax. Repeat this tension and release exercise with the lower half of your body. Feel your body releasing any long-held tensions, and begin to breathe deeply, uniformly and comfortably, from your abdomen to your upper lungs. Notice how your body and mind feel: are your thoughts still wandering to other things? Acknowledge them, and set them aside. Now focus your mind on setting an intention.
Think of a general wish or act you wish for yourself NOW.  Need ideas for an intention?
RATHER THAN wishing you could lose weight fast (or be a certain clothing size by a certain date),
FOCUS ON how you are treating your body in a healthy way
RATHER THAN resolving to have your home clutter free,
FOCUS ON what you are doing do make your home a peaceful sanctuary
RATHER THAN finding your ideal job,
FOCUS ON using the skills you have for that dream job – those skills will get you noticed
If you are still unsure what your intention may be, don’t despair. Think of a bad habit, pattern, or thoughts you want to be freed from, and focus on one as your intention. Or, simply practice gratitude for something positive in your life.

What if I am Not Sure I Can Stick to This Intention?

If you are having doubts or fears about your intention, consider this to be the “monkey mind’s way” of preventing you from practicing your intention. Fear is just that – fear. It is the internal judge that tells us we aren’t worthy of what we want to achieve. Acknowledge that the monkey mind exists, but resolve to keep your intention. Fear is a great tool to protect us from life-threatening situations, but it can also work to our detriment if we allow it to stop us from creating positive change for ourselves.

It’s Been a Week and I Haven’t Seen Any Changes – Now What?

The problem with Western Society (and especially with Americans) is that we expect instant results. Be patient. Remember, most people can’t make drastic changes successfully; people tend to thrive with gradual lifestyle adjustments. In the course of a year, you’ll begin to notice how the baby steps (and some leaps) add up.
Remember to give yourself time daily to focus on your intention. The power of intention is strong if you remain committed to it. As you change, so may your plan — and that’s okay. Life is in constant flux. If you are mindful of your present actions and how you treat yourself in every moment, you’ll begin to see the reward.
~Thanks to Shirley McCormack