If you’re looking to make a change in your life, setting an intention is a great way to make this change consciously and effectively. Choose one life area that you are ready to transform and follow the steps below:
How To Set Intentions
• Get clear on what isn’t working in this area. Envision what this life area will look and feel like once you’ve made a change (even if you don’t know what the exact change is going to be!). It’s important that you take on ONLY 1 goal at a time. There’s a temptation when we are feeling stuck, frustrated, or bored to run off a list of everything we’ve ever wanted to change or achieve. Don’t fall for it! You’ll more likely accomplish one or two goals than you will with a list of 10. Remember, you can always add new goals to your list as time goes on.
• Word it carefully. Let’s say your goal this year is to lose weight. Try not to think of it as “This year I am going to fit into my skinny jeans.” This sounds as if you’re going to force yourself to lose weight by sheer willpower; and willpower alone is nothing but a stress-bomb waiting to explode! Be nice to yourself by adding a dose of compassion – Really meeting your challenges with a sense of ease and care. Try, “This year I’m going take care of my body by exercising regularly, choosing more whole foods, eating only when I am physically hungry and ignoring what the media says about how I should look.” Be specific, gentle and realistic – this will guarantee a goal that’s attainable and genuinely focused on your well-being. Create a goal that is SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable and time-limited.
• Make a plan. Now that you’ve identified a goal to make this shift, break it down. Nobody accomplishes anything of significance by trying to do it all at once. The smaller the steps, the better. Take one step at a time, moving on to subsequent steps upon completion of each rung of your goal ladder. When trying to lose weight for example, your plan may include these steps:
1) Visit your doctor/nutritionist to learn about which foods your body needs for optimal functioning. Get informed of realistic weight loss benchmarks for your lifestyle.
2) Make a grocery list and shop for these new foods when you’re not hungry.
3) Schedule an appointment at the local gym to develop your personal workout plan.
4) Enlist a friend as your workout buddy and create a weekly schedule of your workout times. 5) Make daily time for self-reflection, i.e. journaling, gardening, walking, to ensure that you’re not using emotional eating to deal with difficult feelings or events.
How To Follow Through With Intentions
• Write it down. Write down your intention and your plan of action. Stick it up on the fridge, on your bathroom mirror, wherever you know you’ll see it. That way, you’ll have a constant reminder of your goal and your action plan.
• Get Connected. The best way to ensure that you stay on your path of transformation is by involving others in your goals. Ask friends, family members or co-workers to help hold you accountable for the intentions you’ve created for yourself. Commit to having a weekly check-in time to share where you are in your action plan for reaching your goal. You can also serve as a support for those in your life that have set intentions as well. Creating a buddy system in this way not only holds you accountable, but will help to motivate you to stay on this new path that you’ve created.
• Practice Mindfulness. With this intention, really pay attention to the activities you involve yourself in, how you treat yourself and how you treat others. Pema Chodron, a well-known Buddhist nun, encourages us to use 4 words in our daily life: STOP, NOTICE, APPRECIATE AND SHARE – We want to take a break each day to recharge our batteries and really notice what we’re doing and how we are being in the world. Then we can appreciate it – if you have engaged in actions that support or hinder your new goal you can appreciate that either you’ve stuck to your plan or maybe that you need a little extra support. Then, it’s up to you to share your insights with others so that they can continue to support you in reaching your full potential.
Wishing you much ease and joy as you begin to manifest the life you envision for yourself.