Another 365 days of possibility.
The first moments of a New Year present opportunity to set aside some time to come up with our intentions for the year ahead.
Resolutions are the more common as we approach the first of the year. However, these firm decisions do not seem to support a mindful existence as well as an intention, which allows for the ebb and flow that life most certainly will bring.
As we embark on a new year—another 365 days of possibility—I want do so in an intentional way, creating a guide from which to make mindful, soulful decisions in each and every moment. Decisions that support and uphold the life I desire.
I have tried many things in the past from resolutions to goals to simply remaining open to what life may bring—each with varying levels of success. This year I wanted to try something new.
A friend of mine challenged me to come up with my intentions for 2015. It was a beautiful exercise of sitting with myself and getting in touch with not just what I want to do next year but how I want to live.
With her challenge in mind, I sat down and thought about how a person might identify one’s intentions. These are more than just a list of goals or a list of things to start or stop doing. Intentions can direct what we want to experience in each moment of daily living. They serve as a guide that directs our decisions and helps us manifest that which we want to see more of in the world.
To identify one’s intentions I suggest trying the following things:
1. Get quiet
Whether this is through meditation or simply observing the thoughts in our head and letting them be, getting quiet allows us to get in touch with our deeper, inner self—the wisdom within.
2. Reflect on the past year
Make a list of accomplishments, celebrate all that we already possess and notice how powerful this can be. To do this, a mentor of mine encourages us to close our eyes and visualize the person we were on January 1, 2014 (physically, emotionally, spiritually). Then, step out of that person and take a “mental walk” towards the person we are today (physically, emotionally, spiritually), identifying all of the accomplishments along the way.
It is equally important to identify any areas where we didn’t necessarily hit the mark—not so that we can judge or experience any self-hate (see #3) but rather so that we can realistically accept where we are currently.
3. Avoid judgment of self, others and situations
It is inevitable that things on our to-do list never got checked off or we didn’t reach some of our goals. That is okay. It is important to remember that life is a journey, not a destination. Instead of judging our current situation, simply observe it. Equally, it is helpful not to compare ourselves with others. We are all on our own path and are exactly where we need to be at this very moment.
4. Get in touch with what we want to have more of in life
Once we have identified what we experienced as accomplishments and areas where we still want to improve, we can ask ourselves what feeling or experience we want to have more of in life. These will most likely start showing up as themes as we look at each accomplishment and ask “what was I going for here?” or “what did I experience/feel when I accomplished this?”
We can ask the same of those areas where we want to improve by asking ourselves “if I did (more of) this, what do I expect to feel/experience?”
These feelings or experiences can serve as our intentions—our inner wisdom and guide—from which we hang everything else.
We can still set goals that uphold our intentions and are illustrative of what we plan to experience. I try remember that goals change and need to be continuously reexamined and modified to fit current situations. So long as our decisions uphold and illustrate our intentions, we can live a mindful, soulful, intentional existence.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Amanda Johnson
Apprentice Editor: Molly Ruby / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Leland Francisco at Flickr