Intentions set up action which move us toward an outcome. Like an intention, people use their “New Year’s resolutions” as a way of working towards a goal.
But, if you’re like me, maybe your New Year’s resolutions haven’t been going so well. Maybe you find yourself having the same resolution each year, then somewhere along the line, your plans to “be happy” or “get in the best shape of your life” really turn to shit.
Why do we make these resolutions at the start of a new year in the first place? We make promises that at the start of a new year, we will finally get in shape, or try something new, or be whatever the best version of our self is in our individual lives.
But, if you expect a drastic change in the matter of a couple days or a couple weeks, you are setting yourself up for failure.
And yet, we all do it. We all expect to be able to change our lives drastically when the new year hits, creating false hope of achieving the things we’ve been wanting, without actually following through. Then, we wait until the following year to start this cycle again.
However we forget that the intention must be backed up with action, and change is gradual.
Setting intentions, as opposed to putting emphasis on a resolution, allows us to be consciously aware of our actions and the energy we are putting out and with that, manage the content of our reality.
Whether you are setting intentions for money, success, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love, an intention is the starting point of every dream, and we all have the power to achieve those dreams if we try hard enough.
Here are some guidelines for how to set proper intentions, so that 2017, and all the years to follow, really are the best ones yet:
Evaluate your life.
When setting an intention, you should ask yourself how you feel, what you need, and how your present moment can best serve YOU. If you are setting proper intentions, then you end each individual day feeling like a fresh version of yourself and able to give the best of yourself to others.
If you haven’t been feeling like your best self, or attracting your deepest desires into your life, think about why that might be happening. Maybe your intentions are not powerful because they stem from trying to manipulate or control others. But intentions should not only be achievable, they should also be meaningful to you, and you alone.
An important thing to keep in mind is that intentions are for the betterment of YOUR life. You can’t just control others because you have certain intentions for them. You can’t “intend” for the boy your sleeping with to fall madly in love with you. You can’t “intend” to be the CEO of a company, if you are just entry level.
If your reach is too far, you will probably end up feeling defeated. But what you can do, is visualize a goal, evaluate your needs, and create an intention each day that will help you get there.
For example, instead of trying to make someone fall in love with you, say, “Today, I am amazing, whole, and beautiful just the way I am.” Or instead of wishing you were in a better position at your job, say, “Today, I am actively taking the steps to better my position.”
If the intentions you set are causing you to feel stressed or hopeless, think about the actions that you are currently taking. Remember, intentions simply set up an action, so you can’t just say you are taking steps to better your position, and then buy hundred dollar meals every night when you can only afford a Big Mac.
Your intentions should be supporting the life that you want to lead, not taking away from it. If you identified how you want to feel, what you want to create, and how you want to contribute to others, but you are feeling or doing the opposite in your daily actions, then your not giving enough attention to your intentions.
One of the biggest problems people have is realizing that they want love, or money, or power, and then not setting creating clear and concise principles to get there. Instead, try setting a goal just for the next five minutes, or just for that day that will ultimately lead you in the right direction. You will notice what you start putting your attention toward, will increase in your daily life.
For example, if you notice that you are attracting people who constantly complain about their lives, but you yourself are complaining frequently, make your intention, “My thoughts, speech and actions are congruent,” or, “I am authentic in my thoughts and actions.” Because you can’t expect to find love that won’t judge you, if you are judging others.
People will undoubtedly assume they know your intentions, or tell you who you are. Stay centered and refuse to be influenced by other people’s doubts or criticisms. Paying attention to how you feel is a good way to weed out the toxic people who are taking you away from your goals and making you feel as though you are not authentic in your beliefs. You may find some truth to what they say, but your higher self knows that everything is all right and will be all right, even without knowing the timing or the details of what will happen. Just stay focused.
Don’t worry about the result.
Your intentions are not a to-do list. Stop listening to the voice in your head that tells you something HAS to happen right away, or you HAVE to be in charge. You may have an idea of what you want and be setting an intention for the future, but your mind should be focused on the present.
It is extremely hard for some people to live in a realm of uncertainty. When people are so caught up in the thoughts, emotions, and tasks of tomorrow, they forget to focus on the present day. Sometimes people even focus on the thoughts, emotions, and memories of the past, because they feel like they could have changed something to be in a better place in the current moment.
Let go of your ego and remember that the world is full of uncertainty. You don’t know everything; nobody does. And while your putting all your attention on things you can not change or control, your goals and desires will disappear and your focus will be misdirected.
There is always a starting point, and your intention can be that starting point. But make your intentions live in the present moment. Even if you don’t love your current life, your intention can still be, “I am in love with my life.” Once you are focused on that intention, your energy will be moving in that direction. Trust that you will get there.
After you have set an intention, let things progress naturally. The outcome that you try so hard to force may more often than not be the one that isn’t meant for you. Intend for everything to work out as it should, then let go and allow opportunities and openings to come your way.
Intention is much more powerful when it comes from a place of contentment than if it arises from a sense of lack or need. If you are constantly afraid of something happening, or insecure about something, then you are focusing on what you DON’T want, when you should be mindful of what you DO want.
Empower yourself and realize that you are in fact capable of whatever you set your mind to. Your intention should not include any negative talk or self-hate. Instead of saying, “I need to lose weight,” say, “I am actively taking the steps I need to be healthy,” and then make that your focus for the day.
You should avoid using the words, “never” or “always,” and “should” or “shouldn’t.” Yes, maybe you “shouldn’t” talk badly about people, but say “I speak gently and act compassionately.” Instead of saying, “Today I won’t be stressed,” say, “Today I will be patient.” That way you don’t have any sense of obligation, but you are still practicing something that you WANT to do, and creating a more positive outcome.
Creating these positive, open-ended, and mindful intentions is a great way to train yourself to be the best you you can be. Your intentions and actions are the only ones that matter because they are the only things you can control. If you follow through with your intentions, you will have a greater sense of accomplishment knowing that your life is the way you want it to be. Don’t let anyone’s criticism take that away from you, and make sure that you are in control of your own destiny.
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