As the New Year arrives, many of us are apt to pronounce our New Year’s resolutions, be they in the privacy of our minds or promulgated near and far.
Mallika Chopra’s December 11 post, Set Intents Not Resolutions For 2014, got me thinking. She set a clear distinction between intents and resolutions.
I took a look at the definitions of intent and resolution. An intent is the thing that you plan to do or achieve, an aim or purpose. I love that an intent is also the state of mind with which an act is done. A resolution is the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.; the act of resolving something.
This distinction makes me recognize the subtleties of the comparison. An intent sets the stage for choices and decisions related to a plan or purpose, while a resolution is more associated with the end result, a goal. And with a resolution, you are “finding an answer or solution,” which involves a process of searching for a resolution. With an intent, you already have identified what it is you want to PUT INTO ACTION.
Today I had an epiphany about how to activate my intentions so that they can flourish, rather than announce resolutions that remain unfulfilled. Like any new behavior or habit, it takes dedication to implement new intents and goals. And starting with a state of mind of positivity and purpose can go a long way towards the blossoming of intentions into what you want in your life. That’s all well and good, but HOW do I actually make my intents HAPPEN?
Now take a leap with me. One way to accomplish the activation of your intents is to “attach” them to something you already do regularly. This enhances success. For example, I have an intent to do the daily exercises prescribed by the PT I have been seeing for a torn meniscus in my knee. Not easy to incorporate this new routine into my daily schedule. So, I “attached” the new series of exercises to my existing morning yoga ritual. That way, what I intend to do actually happens. But, I took it a step further. I found that I was bored doing the exercises and rushing through them. Calling a friend during the process was not conducive to counting the repetitions. And lo and behold, it occurred to me to express gratitude at each rep. Gratitude for what? For each cell in my body involved in each movement. For my knees. For the fact that I could count. For the PT. For taking deep breaths. And between each repetition, I thought of something I was grateful for, taking up the 3 or 5 second “hold” between each repetition of the exercise. I felt so accomplished. I completed the routine, fulfilled my intent and felt really grateful for lots of things!
In short, adding a practice of gratitude as you embark on activating intentions just may make the process more, well — intentional, as in done in a way that is planned or intended.
Cheers to 2014, the year of fulfilled intentions for which to be grateful!