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Say no thank you to new year’s resolutions

Three years ago I said goodbye to new year’s resolutions and hello to annual intention setting. I was at a yoga retreat and prompted to think about three intentional qualities to bring into my life. Essentially, what I wanted to embody for the next twelve months.

This immediately resonated with me. I always found resolutions hard to keep and easy to forget. Plus they can become limiting as the year progresses. Goal setting is important, yet not when forced or more stressful than beneficial. I loved the idea of uplifting traits to carry me through a year. It felt expansive and inspirational versus a lists of resolutions I should do.

Intentions are desires brought to life in our thoughts, words and actions. Setting intentions gives us purpose, meaning and a path forward. They transform what we hope happens into how we can live.

True intentions come deep from within and help maintain a positive attitude when striving to grow, determine new aspirations and reach our dreams. Examples of intentions could be living more calm, joyful, balanced, courageous, inspired, ambitious, compassionate or altruistic. It is the attitude you want to have and how you want to show up in different situations in life. You can have intentions for your career, personal relationships, community or just for yourself. There are no rules! Just bring a deeper level of thoughtfulness into your world.

As the first week of 2023 comes to a close, take a moment to see what you need. If you are ready to set intentions and qualities for the year, great! Let’s get started.

  • Give yourself a quiet space to slow down. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and listen to what is going on inside you.

  • Bring your attention to the present. Think about your current situation and how it is (or isn’t) aligned with your dreams. View the whole picture - your personal life, your career, etc.

  • Recognize what is right now with awareness and acceptance. Release any critical thoughts.

  • Shift your focus and visualize the end of 2023. What does the year look like? What do you see yourself doing? Where do you see yourself? What happened that you are proud of? Who are you with? And most importantly, how do you feel?

  • Lean into the feelings more than specific accomplishments or activities. Can you identify themes and qualities?

  • Select three words to describe and guide your thoughts. When you say them out loud, how do they feel in your mind and body? These become beacons for living intentionally and the actions you will take. Shaping the year and moving towards your 2023 vision.

Set intentions to lead you toward the year and life you want. Invite in how you want to feel and plant the seeds for growth, while releasing attachment to specific outcomes. I think of these three qualities as ways to support my objectives for the year. They are positive and help me when I get stuck or off track.

Without resolutions you can still push yourself to grow, take on new challenges and hold yourself accountable (or partner with a coach who will). Even when looking forward, remember to live in the present. Allow yourself to get excited and enjoy the here and now.

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