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A letter about intention setting

This is a letter about setting intentions.

Given it is January the first it had to be this subject, didn’t it? However, from the outset, my advice is to do this throughout the whole year, daily if you can. Small incremental changes are the changes that make the most impact, simply because they are far more sustainable than big sweeping changes. It is, after all, how we live our lives, one moment at a time.

By setting an intention each morning, you create and direct your life rather than life dictating your day. You’re in control instead of being a victim of circumstance.

Notice that it isn’t about setting goals.

It is about setting an intention one day at a time.

James Clear in Atomic Habits says to anchor a habit to another one to make it stick. So, in this example, you can set an intention while you clean your teeth. Cleaning your teeth will be something you do every day without thinking, so if you start to set your intention for the day while doing this activity, it will be a daily reminder to do it; it will become second nature. And this is an atomic habit, i.e. so small that it is easy to stick to. E.g. Don’t vow to ‘never drink again’ but vow not to drink today. You know me, everything is always one day at a time.

If you do wish to set intentions for the year, here is my offering on this subject:

  1. Review your year first. Think about what you learnt this year, what went well and what could have been better. You could break this down into, career, relationships, family, personal growth, and health. A great resource here is Susannah Conway, who has an incredible tool called Unravel your Year. It is a free download and probably the most comprehensive tool I have seen in this area.

  2. When setting your yearly intentions, think about what you want to achieve by setting the intention. Define your 'why'. As you set each intention, ask yourself why. What difference will this intention make to your life? How will it change how you feel?

  3. Set intentions that you believe in. You don’t have to set KPIs as if you were setting a performance review at work. These are yours and yours alone, you can make these very personal to you and leave the SMART KPIs to your work life. Unless, that is how you would rather work – as I said these are for you, you do you. The important thing is that they are yours, and you own them. You do not need to be dictated to by others here, and that includes me.

  4. Set intentions that don’t immediately say, I am lacking in this. For example, a goal to lose a stone in weight, says, I am not good enough at this weight. Your goals shouldn’t make you feel less than in their very nature. Approach each intention with a starting point of you being whole and complete exactly as you are. And make the intentions atomic. Add one new whole food in each week to increase variety in your diet for example. Rather than have a number on a weight loss goal. I am going to strength train for all the health benefits it brings, for example, not to lose weight. It makes me feel great to be strong, feedback on the scales does not make me feel great, it is not a great indicator of how I feel. Being able to lift heavy things on the other hand gives me an enormous amount of self-satisfaction.

  5. Give yourself a monthly/quarterly review. Mostly to remind yourself that you have set intentions. It’s easy to get a few months into the year and completely forget you did the exercise in the first place. Or get a coach to help keep you working towards the very best version of yourself. I know a very good one ;-)

Side note on finding love:

I wanted to touch on this point to all those with an intention of finding their soul mate.

Our hearts don’t come with instructions.

Work on completing yourself before you seek anyone to complete you. That person doesn’t exist. No one else can complete you. You are an autonomous being. Work on yourself first, understand yourself first, and then anyone who does come into your life will enhance it. Also, remember that also means that you can’t complete anyone else or make them whole. They need to do that for themselves. The greatest gift we can give to others is our own happiness.

Here are mine so far:

I intend to:

Make better use of my journal, so that I can deepen the relationship and understanding of myself and my emotions. This will keep me calm, centred and grounded. I have treated myself to a beautiful new Magic of I journal and planner.

To keep reminding myself of my twelve-step program and live it.

For example, step 10 is taking a daily inventory and making a gratitude list. Working the steps keeps me out of emotions that don't serve me, like resentment and fear and keeps me in a place of gratitude and peace.

Work out what self-love means to me.

I talk about it a lot, but I am not sure I live it. I intend to work out what this means for me and then adopt habits that support it. This might mean slowing down a bit, and taking more moments to find peace and calm.

I intend to continue my strength training for all the health benefits it brings to women my age. I will turn 50 this year, so this becomes even more important to me.

I intend to bring more mindfulness into my work so that I feel less frantic, the idea is that I become more productive while maintaining peace of mind.

I intend to deepen my relationships with others while making sure to stay in integrity and not give my power away.

I hope that's helpful.

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