Every New Years thousands of people worldwide create a resolution for themselves for the year to come. This “goal” is usually set around health and happiness and may include shedding a few pounds, getting organized, or making time each day for numero uno (that’s you!). As January slips by, many still incorporate their resolution or goal, into their thought processes and into their daily planning. In February, only the hard-core continue with their mission. Dan Diamond, a contributor to Forbes magazine, states only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolution. So I ask myself, ‘Why is it important to have a New Year’s Resolution?’.
Joel and Michelle Levey, in their book Living In Balance, state ‘Intention is a power that sets our trajectory as we initiate a path of action’. They go on to say that without a clear intention one tends to drift. By setting an intention we are more likely to pay attention to the outcome of our efforts. For example, I may go to a coffee shop with the intention of listening and connecting to myself and others in the moment. As I walk in a man may hold the door open for m and knowing my intention I would look him straight in the eye and say with a smile, ‘Thank you’. I may also go up to the cashier and before ordering my coconut milk latte ask, ‘How are you today?’ and actively listen as she answers.
Without the intention of listening and connecting with those around me, I may not even notice the man holding the door open for me. If I did happen to notice, I may give a half-hearted, ‘Thanks’. The cashier busily making drinks and taking orders could have hastily asked what I wanted. I would have responded and she would have rang me up, both of us missing the opportunity to be present with one another. She might not know that the people waiting to order their drinks actually care about her wellbeing. This would create a sense of ‘other’ or separateness, which often leads to pain.
As you can see, setting an intention creates a connection with yourself as well as with others. This leads to living life with purpose. Intentions also allow one to more easily make decisions. As obstacles arise one can refer to the set intention.
Here is an example of how an intention can help you overcome an obstacle in action: As I drive to the coffee shop a woman pulls out in front of me. Instead of reacting to the situation by honking and throwing my hands up, I can refer back to my intention of connecting with myself and others in the moment. I sense the urge to react, but instead I listen and connect to the feelings in my body. I realize I am scared for the safety of myself and the other driver. So instead of riding the car’s bumper all the way to the coffee shop, I may give them some space on the road.
Setting an intention is similar to setting a goal or resolution. It is a way by which to live life. Whenever one feels overwhelmed or off track, is it useful to stop and reawaken to the set intention. When setting my intention for 2016, I found Melissa McCleery’s question to be most helpful.
- What do I want to be doing, thinking, feeling, and being 12 months from now?
Answering each part of the question honestly is the first step to creating a New Year’s Resolution. This is followed by the very important second and third steps by answering these questions:
- What will this look like? How can I measure my success?
- How will I accomplish these goals?
Remember, taking small steps toward the attainment of these resolutions will mean a greater likelihood of accomplishing them. Coming back to these goals frequently throughout the year helps one recenter when they fallen off track. Checking in also allows one to see progress more easily. I suggest writing the resolutions, or intentions on sticky-notes and placing them throughout a 2016 planner as a reminder to check in with oneself.
As the year goes on, the intention by which one lives may change. That is okay. Re-evaluate, recenter, and begin again. On this path called life, there are no right or wrong turns. Only lessons to be learned which guide us.
May you learn while on the path to happiness and freedom.
*Copyright © Melissa McCreery foot clinic Etobicoke, PhD. Psychologist, Author, and Emotional Eating Expert, Dr. Melissa McCreery focuses on the three O’s that ambush successful, high-achieving women – overeating, overwhelm, and overload. Take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz at http://TooMuchOnHerPlate.com and get customized steps to end your overeating.