The year 2022 sounds like something out of a futuristic science fiction movie. It is hard to believe this is the year upon us, especially after all we have been through. The New Year is often a time to reflect and move forward in our lives. It feels like an opportunity to reset and make the changes we aspire for.
There is always talk about making New Year’s resolutions. But this year, I intend to focus instead on setting New Year’s intentions. A resolution is usually meant to be a statement about something you wish to change or fix about your lifestyle. The most common resolution is to exercise more or lose weight. Resolutions focus on the outcome rather than the journey.
Resolutions are more finite, and we have the ability to fail them. How many people never achieve their New Year’s resolutions? Studies show the majority of resolutions do not last past Valentine’s Day. Do you remember what your resolutions were last year and how long they lasted?
An intention, on the other hand, is more focused on inspiring you to be better, without implying that anything needs to be changed. It allows you to focus on your motivation and your purpose.
Setting a New Year’s intention means committing to yourself. Start by reviewing the past year and reflect on the positive things. Take a minute and list two ways that you showed resilience. Then think about two things that brought you joy. Finally, consider two things from the year you are grateful for.
By finding the good in the past year it will help you know where to focus your intention. Where do you want to grow and where can you focus your purpose? What makes you feel fulfilled and meaningful?
Think of intentions as planting seeds where you want your life to grow. They are not specific goals that you can measure, but ways that you wish to live. Think broadly first and then narrow it down if needed.
Your intention may be to lower your stress. Think through ways to work towards that intention, like learning to say no more, changing your schedule, practicing mindfulness, or improving your sleep habits.
Perhaps your intention is to allow yourself to accept help more. This may be an area you struggle with and so setting it as an intention gives yourself permission to do it. You will learn to value the support of others and work to see it as a gift of friendship.
Once you have decided on your intention say it out load and write it down. Consider posting on your refrigerator as a reminder. Think of it like a mantra that you will live by and cannot fail.
In the times we live in it is easy to allow ourselves to believe that we have lost control over so many things. The pandemic and other troubles we see on the news can make it feel like we are only just surviving. But we have more control over our daily lives than we sometimes give credit. Take back that feeling of control by thinking about how you want to see this next year for yourself.
Martha Shapiro can be reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org