When we sold our sweet little house in South Lake Tahoe, CA a few years back, I finally went through a bunch of old boxes that had piled up dust for years in our garage. I found journal after journal, some from the late 90’s and early 2000’s! They all started in the same way: I resolve to … drink more water, sleep more, exercise 5 times a week, save money, be more compassionate, learn to _____. Each one had 3-5 pages filled in for January and then about 100ish crisp blank pages. By mid-January, I had failed at my resolutions. The only thing that got better over time was my handwriting. That was until I changed my frame. I decided resolutions were out and intentions were in! I stopped buying journals and started writing a letter to myself as if it were 12/31 of the next year. That’s when more than my handwriting improved.
What I realized was, by setting intentions for my future self, I had a whole 12 months to work toward them.
- Resolutions required me to fix everything on January 1. As if I could just wake up the morning after a late-night celebration with glitter in my hair and change who I was immediately.
- With intentions set, I could observe my habits and reflect on whether they were getting me closer to or further from the person I wanted to be.
- I had time and space to pilot approaches and pivot when something didn’t work.
- When old habits crept in or my attention waned, I would pull the letter out and read it, stoking my inspiration.
- My small wins built up over time, and by December, I was feeling proud of myself rather than discouraged. I broke the resolution cycle. And saved some trees along the way!
Three Brave Ways to Use Intentions to Move Towards What You Want
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