Happy New Year!!!
With 2020 safely behind us, we are all very excited and optimistic about 2021. We all want to take the good and put away the bad and the ugly that came with 2020 and make a better year out of 2021. One of the most common tools used in setting off in the New Year is establishing New Year Resolutions. It often involves making a list of things one wants to achieve or a set of goals.
I’ve found it to be more productive to set intentions, instead. What you are doing is setting up a set of commitments and a general theme that is lived everyday, instead of focusing on a specific achievement in the future. Intentions typically revolve around the relationship with yourself and others around you. As Nelson beautifully put it: "intentions are built on your values."
So this year, I decided to share a little bit about setting intentions that can help you set the tone for the year ahead.
Start with your values - When I was talking to Nelson a few months ago, I asked him to define the biggest difference between principles and values. I always found these two to be intrinsically connected. He defined them this way: "Principles are what you believe in, your philosophy in life. But, your choices show what you truly value. Values are what shows through your action and behavior". For example, these are some of my values - meaningful relationships, community empowerment, pursuit of knowledge. When you know what is important to you, you can use that as the foundation to build your life, you plans and activities. Your values can show how coherent you are to your philosophy in life. It's a matter of integrity to your core.
Commitment - I found it to be the most useful to frame my intentions as a commitment. Commitments are great because they are agreements that you make with yourself. Making a commitment requires you to know what you want and how far you are willing to go for it. For example, one of the intentions I set for myself this year is "I commit to showing up as I am, imperfect and compassionate towards myself." Last year, I confronted my need for control and perfection in a huge way, and I learned so much. So this year, continuing to accept my imperfect self is on the top of the list. It was very rewarding to go through that growth crisis very much. Here are a few tips for coming up with good commitments:
Chose an active verb - a few examples: Align, ignite, develop, grow, awaken, appreciate, own, cherish, change, value, love, manifest, receive, birth. As you can see, I chose "commit" as my action verb in the intention I shared with you.
Ownership - rather than setting up the intention to "let go of unhealthy relationships" frame it as "I commit to setting healthy boundaries."
Progressive tense and make it dynamic - adding "ing". This indicated your ongoing commitment. Example: I commit to showing up ...
What is it that you want to confront? A challenge or a something you wish to overcome, or grow. This is essentially skipping on the steps of what you will do to get there, but keeping an open mind for things to emerge, so you can learn unexpected and new things. Frameworks are great, but sometimes they can be limiting. So not having a framework of how to confront or overcome, but rather focusing on the outcome leaves space for beautiful thing to emerge.
Positive reinforcement - Frame them as positives instead of negatives. You are choosing to put the energy on the positive outcome as opposed to the negative cause. So, take away the energy from what you don't want, and put your energy into what you really want. Example: "I commit to my whole health and healing" (Positive framing) vs. "I commit to stop eating things that I know are bad for my health" (Negative framing).
The Formula - Daniel Knickerbocker came up with a great formula in writing commitments. "I commit to ________ing in/as ________" , instead of I want to, I hope to, etc. Very powerful. Because you are making an agreement with yourself and the tone is compassionate.
One of my mentors, Suzy Batiz says in her ALIVE OS course to print out or write down these commitments and have them displayed in many places that you will see as you go about your day. The idea is to continue to engage with these intentions and continue to pour energy to them.
Nelson and I wish you and your loved ones a very healthy 2021, filled with abundance!
PS: If you are looking for a little help to reset your path and get more clarity on how to flourish and thrive in your life, we have a new training program that can be done online now or in-person, when the lockdown is lifted. Book a discovery call to see how we can help you thrive