how to set intentions

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. – Anais Nin

New Year, new start

The New Year is usually a time for new resolutions. I chose this quote because it resonates with me. I’ve set New Year’s resolutions more times times than I count. Perhaps you have too. Unfortunately, at least for me, I have a difficult time keeping them. Then I beat myself up about them.

I often say that language is important. My trusty Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines a resolution as “an intention.” It seems to me that this meaning describes a different tone for setting resolutions. Normally, I would make lists of goals and priorities each year. Then I would spend hours figuring out how to make them just right. Some stuff got done but not a great deal. I believe now that the reason I was not “successful” is that these lists created expectations that were too rigid.

Is there a better way?

I think so. Martha Beck in a recent article for Oprah magazine wrote about a way to set goals which I interpret as a way of setting intentions. She suggests that you should write your goals as adjectives instead of noun-verbs. Brilliant Martha. In essence, you describe how you want to feel and be as opposed to demanding that life roll out a specific way. It also suggests that you can create these experiences in many different ways.

Keep the number small

One of the things things I used to do is have about, oh, 50 or so goals. I’m serious. In hindsight, it is ridiculous to have that many. Now, after much trial and error, I’ve developed a very small number of focus areas. The most I have at any one time is five.

Maybe no goals are the way to go

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits suggested that maybe the best goal is no goal. He may have a point. He suggests that everyday we should follow our passion. If done right, no goals are necessary. No to-do lists. No New Year’s resolutions. Can you imagine?

My resolutions

Do I have a list of resolutions? Not really. At the moment, I have a couple of intentions for the New Year. One is to develop this blog and website into a thriving business. Lifestyle redesign is what I’m involved with everyday in my own life. My intention is to share my experiences and hard-won wisdom with you. My purpose will be to provide you with content that is valuable and useful in your life. At some point (perhaps as early as February), I intend to have some incredibly valuable eBook and an email tutorial for sale. Please stay tuned!

My second intention is to focus on my health and well-being. After years of a stressful job that has taken its toll on me, I intend to slowly 🙂 develop healthier habits this year. My first priority is to increase the amount of activity in my day.

Your turn

Take few minutes to describe what you want in your New Year.

  • As Martha Beck suggests, use adjectives instead of noun-verbs.
  • Keep the list small, five at most.

Describe your intentions in the comments. I’m really interested in hearing what you are planning.

Cheers, Catherine


Thanks for reading! If you found this information useful, informative or even entertaining, pass it along. I really appreciate it!

volume 1, issue 2

Location:Edmonton, AB

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