The starting point of every dream is the creative power that fulfils all our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love. Intention is the starting point of every dream.” ~ Deepak Chopra
I am 1 week into my working year of 2023. Most of the Executive Coaching sessions I have had over the past week have been about goals and resolutions for 2023. What we think is what we create. That´s why taking the time to set intentions is so important.
According to Forbes, last year nearly 80% of people admitted to abandoning their New Year’s resolutions by February every year. A 20% failure rate is bound to generate a lot of guilt, disappointment, and self-criticism.
This has led me to reflect on what has been working for my coaching clients. Here are some questions that seem to be working when planning for the year ahead.
What are your INTENTIONS for the next year?
Intentions are far more compelling to me than resolutions or goals. It might seem to be a matter of semantics, but the difference between resolutions and intentions is deeper than what you might realise. Resolutions tend to be clearly defined, measurable, and specific. Intentions, on the other hand, are soft, qualitative, and compassionate. While they might include some degree of specificity, they are often difficult to measure being based on experience as it unfolds. Intentions often embody a quality. Intentions provide us with room to flow. I have seen lots of posts over the last few days encouraging us to come up with our WORD for 2023 – this is similar to setting an intention. Intentions may be as much about how you are going to be as what you are going to do. They should be simple. They should be positive.
How do you see the journey ahead?
SEEKING OUT A JOURNEY, not a fixed end point to give yourself more chance of success and to make it more enjoyable along the way. Intentions are not necessarily about reaching a destination or taking one specific action. An intention is a journey and is designed to help you shape how you go about creating your life.
What truly gives you joy?
FIND WHAT GIVES YOU JOY. What’s your mood? What have been some highlights that you hope can be repeated? By focusing on the things that bring you joy, you will bring more positive experiences into your life. Things will start to slowly unfold.
What is truly important to yourself?
CHECK IN with yourself. You cant set intentions if you haven’t had time to reflect on what is truly important to you. Ask yourself what’s top of mind for you right now. What are your expectations, about the situation and the people you’re working with? What needs or concerns do you have?
What would it be like when your intention becomes your reality?
Visualising and envisioning and thinking about how you would feel in your desired new state is a way of connecting emotions to your thought processes thus strengthening them further.
What is a Mantra, Metaphor or image that symbolizes your intention?
Having a short mantra, or image or metaphor which incorporates some of the things that are important to you is a way of cementing these new ideas. What you intend to practise, how you will behave, how you will be seen. A mantra could be just one word like patience, loyalty, love, or openness.
What might you be assuming that is holding you back from moving forward?
RECOGNISE YOUR FILTERS AND ASSUMPTIONS that might be holding you back from moving forward in 2023. What information or behaviour will you be paying most attention to, because it fits with what’s top of mind for you? What information and behaviour could you potentially miss, because it goes against your current state of mind? Be aware of any limiting beliefs and look to reframe these as liberating alternatives to seed and develop.
How will you ensure you are being kind to yourself along the way?
Along the way, we may be confronted with obstacles, overcome with emotion, or be overwhelmed but having our intentions in place will allow us to bounce back and get back on the path again. Each day is a new day. There is a technical term of retrenchment that we need to acknowledge.
What are you choosing or needing to let go of?
These might be the things that are no longer serving you so well, that are draining you of energy, or that have become an unhelpful pattern without you necessarily realizing this. Setting intentions is about making choices as much about the new as about stopping the old.
How can you make intentions more top of mind and reflection more of an ongoing practice?
Make this a ritual. Think about journaling, carving out time for reflection, noticing and appreciating the progress made and mini-milestones achieved along the way, and course correcting and adapting as new data and experiences happen.
Just think of where you might be by January 2024.
So what are your intentions for 2024 – I would love to hear your thoughts.
Please get in touch if you would like a thinking partner and a coach to help you work these through.