How To Set Intentions
How many New Years have come and gone where you have listed every resolution you wish to tick off and each goal you want to attain before the next 365 days rushes by. Of those numerous times, how many occasions have you felt dismayed, angered or frustrated with yourself that come the end of January you not only haven't yet run a marathon, nor have you lost that weight, or become a meal prep queen. Setting resolutions and narrow goals has a limiting effect on us, in a society that is already stress-filled, they add another pressure to achieve an external outcome. The alternate, more meaningful experience? Set intentions.
Contrary to the closed vision channel of a resolution, an intention aligns us with a purpose and sets a mindset, which allows us the room to have multiple ways to fulfil what we have set as our intentions, rather than one singular resolution.
Originating from the Sanskrit word for intention – Sankalpa – this yogic philosophy is derived from the roots of San “a connection with the highest truth” and Kalpa “a vow”.
This refers to our heartfelt desire, which opens up the soul to deeper growth. Beyond the simplistic concept of a resolution, an intention comes from a deeper source and tends to be in the affirmative – rather than the negative, fear based resolutions many of us set, typically out of discontent and desire for drastic change.
Setting intentions directs the mind and gives us purpose
The trick with intentions is developing the modes that work for you so you can tune in and get to the core of what you really want. This means peeling back the layers and clearing the mental static to assess your greatest desires, purpose and passions. To enable this, you connect with the elements in your life which bring the greatest joy, energy and satisfaction. By addressing what you are truly passionate about or what ignites a sense of purpose or fulfilment, you may begin to understand your true desires.
What do you really want...
Once you have reached the core of what you really want, you will be more open to fulfilling these desires and become open to the endless possibilities that will contribute to achieving that intention. In contrast to a resolution or goal, where there is often only one, or few, steps or actions to undertake to achieve the outcome, when you set an intention you see there are numerous ways to fulfil the intention and contribute to the core desire.
How to set your intentions.
Take some time to get quiet, still and tune in.
Setting a quiet, safe and comfortable scene, with the removal of distractions (switch that phone to airplane mode) and the presence of things that fill you up – be it your favourite location, crystals, a comfortable pillow, a clean desk – you can begin to focus the mind inwards. Work with what works for you, if that’s taking the time to meditate, do some breathwork, listen to some mantras, find a way to become still and connect to your centre.
As you sit, focus on themes such as how do you want to feel by the end of 2018, what will bring you joy, what will give you a sense of fulfilment, what are you passionate about, what ignites your fire?
By opening up to how you want to feel in one years time, you remove the pressure to achieve it all, in the first 4 weeks of the year! But you gain understanding that things can ebb and flow and develop, so you can grow and change with your intentions and the endless possibilities available to satisfy them.
Write it down + get creative.
As inspiration begins to bubble, start writing down the intentions that rise up. Take the time to let them flow and in whatever form. Some may be a singular word, others may be long sentences or sequences. As they begin to take shape, get creative with it, use colour or imagery, patterns or art, whatever feels like you are connecting to your creative source and is inspiring your intention setting.
Keep your intentions in sight.
You want to keep your intentions close by as reminders. The purpose is truly not to force or feel a sense of duty to achieve anything, rather it is to focus and direct the mind back to purpose, especially in moments of stress or heightened emotion. By keeping this intentions in sight you will be able to refresh the subconscious and keep connecting to your purpose.
Re-align and recalibrate as needed.
If something is no longer serving you, don’t be afraid to shift it – nothing is forever! In the same vein if something feels great, stick with it and see how perhaps there are more alternatives to bring this same feeling.