3 Steps to Making Intentions Stick in the New Year
It’s been a week out since The New Year has set upon us. Whether you’re a resolution person or not, odds are there are some thoughts that you have about what you’d like to see unfold over this next year. In The Now Effect I call this “Paying Attention to Your Intention” and one of the best ways to do that is to intentionally carve some time out of your busy life and take a mindful look at how you’d like to be in this next year. Taking a retreat is a great way to create the space to do this. You can do a mini-retreat of blocking out an hour or more or go to an organized retreat for deeper connection. This weekend, I’ll be at Kripalu in the Berkshires this weekend teaching The Now Effect Retreat to get the year started right. I’d love to see you there.
Whether your intentions for the year have to do with work, parenting, stress, relationships, procrastination, compassion or any other areas of your life, setting goals is an integral piece to making change. But often times when we do this we are rigid, it has to be a certain way or else we haven’t achieved success. But this rigidity only backfires on us.
The thought arises, “I’ve failed once again,” arises, leading to a sense of sluggishness and the next thought, “What’s the point?”
There’s another way.
There three mindful steps we can take for make our intentions come alive in this New Year:
- Expect to stray – This is just a fact of life that sometimes we refuse to own up to. We’ll almost always wander with the goals we make. Maybe we commit to exercise and then we get sick or we set a path for meditation and our minds get caught up in daily busy-ness while days go by without practice. One scenario or another of your behavior wandering is going to happen, so now step #2.
- Don’t Judge – Your behavior wandering is not a good or bad thing, it’s just the natural course of someone trying to make a change. Simply notice that you’ve wandered and where you wandered to so you can burn it into your memory and notice it sooner the next time. If judgments do arise, “I can never do this or what was I thinking,” simply note them just like you noted your wandering behavior and move to step #3.
- Refocus – Gently bring yourself back to the plan you had created or see if it needs revisions.
It’s important to keep an open heart toward yourself as you practice; it’s not going to be perfect, so the question is can we accept the reality of our imperfections? If you’re perfect, you’re not human; unless we reframe it by saying we’re perfect with our imperfections.
There’s no need to wish you good luck, because making change is not about luck, it’s about having a good strategy of being kind and compassionate with yourself as you continue to wander off and gently guide yourself back to the object of focus.
So I’ll wish you a good heart during this year! Hope to see you at Kripalu this weekend, if not, stay connected here.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Woman daydreaming photo available from Shutterstock
Goldstein, E. (2013). 3 Steps to Making Intentions Stick in the New Year. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 26, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2013/01/3-steps-to-making-intentions-stick-in-the-new-year/