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Intention Setting - a guide for life

New Year is usually the time we set resolutions. Every year we decide we will change our life in January, full of hope and expectation we feel this year it will be different and we will stick to our resolution, to get fit or eat healthier or learn a new skill.

But is January the right time for a new you?

Much of nature hibernates or at least slows down in Winter, to rest and restore ready for re-emergence in spring. We feel we are above moving with the seasons, we feel the dark, cold days of January are the perfect time to start anew!

We can often end up "failing" again within a few weeks and allow that sense of failure to feed our negative inner voice. Could this year you try something slightly different?

I am all for change, trying new things, looking after our mental and physical health, but doing that in a way that nurtures and supports us rather than almost beating us into submission.

Setting Intentions

Intention setting can support us to live our lives with meaning and purpose and align to our values. It is more than a dream, it is planting a seed and then caring for the seed as it grows and blossoms. Setting intentions allows you to focus broadly on what you need and want in your life.

Intention setting starts with taking some time to pause and reflect- let go of the busyness and just take a step back. This could involve a meditation practice, a long walk on your own or just allowing your mind to daydream.

Intentions can be very empowering, rather than allowing busyness to take charge of our life by reflecting on different areas we can bring awareness to where we wish to focus. They can be both large (think: lifelong) and small (think: for the next day or even the next hour)

Write thoughts down, start to journal, and build awareness of your thoughts and feelings. Get to know yourself, where do you want to focus your attention?

Intention Wheel

If you are finding this hard an intention wheel can be useful, you can use this example or make one yourself with different areas of focus. Score each area on a scale of 1-10, then just reflect on how you feel about each score. If a 4 for career is ok for you that is fine, maybe that is not your priority now. You may have a score of 7 for fun and recreation, but that is very important to you so you wish to focus on moving that up to a 9.

Hopefully, now you have some areas of focus. Let us take the example of fun and recreation again. What does that mean to you and what values are underpinning this?

Maybe fun is being more childlike, playing, and seeing the world anew or maybe it is being creative, painting, drawing or maybe connecting with friends and attending gigs and events. We can sometimes jump to what we think fun is or should be from the images we see around us rather than what it means to us. That is where reflection, rest and intention setting allows us to be proactive in designing the life we want.

Linking these intentions to your values will help you live a more authentic life. If you want to explore your values first try these values exercises or check out this values list.

As you begin to live with intention you will notice more ease as you are not fighting against your beliefs. This may in time develop into goals, actions or more "traditional" resolutions but these will be coming from a place of meaningful understanding and nurture rather than comparison and fear. Thereby they are more likely to lead to sustainable change rather than flipping between "success" and "failure"

Why not try to spend some time daydreaming today and see where it leads..........

If your organisation is interested in sessions on change or values which link to this topic please get in touch.

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