Typically, the end of the year or the first couple of weeks of the new year are times when people think about new year’s resolutions. It’s a time for letting go of the past and planning new goals and focus on the blank slate. It’s a time for renewal and reflection. A time to begin new and rediscover yourself. Sadly however, many of those great resolutions fall by the wayside in the first few weeks and are just a reminder of things gone bad, or inability to focus. Instead of being renewal and positive experiences, they become cumbersome and distracting and focus on failures and lack of successor follow through. Setting intentions for self-care in 2023 is a much more realistic process.
An intention is not a goal, it’s not about something tangible. Goals have expectations and the need for evaluation and redesign attached to them. Intentions come from the heart as a guide for how you want to live your life, the kind of person you want to be, and what you want to contribute to the world. Intentions help bring your heart and mind into alignment through the feelings they evoke and the purpose they create every day.
Intentions are essential
Our chaotic and stress-filled lives make it essential to set intentions regularly and put in the work to make them happen. Intentions are the baby steps that you plan and take to allow you to be present and live your life with purpose. One of the best side effects of setting intentions is to organize and control the chaos and reduce the stress allowing you to enjoy your life, your work, and your relationships. This is one of the ultimate goals of self-care.
Intentions apply to your whole life, your work, your play, your relationships, and make up who you are. Intentions are closely aligned with your own values, thoughts and ideas, as well as perspective. Setting an intention maps out the course you need to take to get what you want. You must believe in your intentions, or you’ll never get there.
Make your intentions positive
Intentions should always be positive, uplifting, and set in the present tense. Be mindful of what you want in your life and what you need to do to achieve it. (From simple to complex wants the process is the same.) For example, don’t think of an intention as a desire to stop being shy, but more of an intention to spend more time with others, call upon your courage and be more outgoing, and strive to initiate conversations.
Help your intentions evolve
As time goes on, you will need to adapt this intention so that your mind doesn’t get bored with it. Set new versions of the intention to expand on your achievements and meet more people, join in more community activities, invite people into your home or environment. Other factors such as letting go of fears involved in this process can be added as intentions. Focus on being more courageous and feeling more confident. Recognize your skills and abilities. Then you might expand to leadership opportunities and/or discovering ways to teach and help others achieve the same successes.
Look at the smaller picture
Setting intentions is a life-long process, but they are short term based and build upon each other. You can look at the big picture but focus on the smaller one for each intention. For example, your initial intention is to find peace and tranquility in your chaotic lifestyle. Then your intention will evolve to actually enjoy the peace you create. From there your intention may be to share and teach others to achieve this tranquility in their own lives.
Start small and build as you go along. Meditation can help to bring about the clarity you need to understand and formulate your intentions. A few quite focused minutes can bring things into focus. When you decide what you want to begin with and how to focus, you must state your intentions. Say them out loud and write them down. You can also tell others and post to a vision board. This will help you focus and help hold you accountable. A journal can help you follow your map and see how to evolve and redefine your intentions if necessary. Suddenly you’ll see yourself as an active participant in your life and not just stumbling along through life like it’s a dress rehearsal.
Ways to begin to set intentions
Consider some of these common generic sounding ideas to get you started in setting intentions. Tweak them to be your own and let them lead you to others perhaps more specific and suited for your life.
- What are your priorities?
- What makes you happiest?
- What are you most proud of?
- What are you most grateful for?
- What are your wildest dreams and desires?
- What is something you have the most trouble letting go of?
- What fears are holding you back?
- Who do you need to forgive?
- What do you want to achieve, nurture or crate in your life?
- What words best describe you? What words do you want to describe you?
Some words that can help you to define and set your own intentions include finding peace and tranquility, achieving work-life balance, opening your heart and mind, embracing change, accepting and connecting with others, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and letting people in, giving and receiving love, managing stress and chaos.
For more reading:
10 Intentions to Set For Your Most Authentic Life
Why setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals
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