Instead of making New Year’s resolutions that will be discarded three weeks into the year, I encourage my clients to set a theme-based intention that corresponds with their deepest values and desires.
One client bought a new dining room table so that she could gather in community with her loved ones regularly. Another booked three vacations for the year so he wouldn’t wake up next December never having found the time to get away.
Focusing on a core value behind your intention – connection, impact, abundance, vibrancy – rather than beating yourself up for failing to live up to last year’s resolutions, will keep you more committed in the long run.
The average attention span in our hypermedia-focused era is 19 seconds (hats off if you’ve read this far). With that in mind, how can we stay present for the long game? In a culture that’s always focused on “what’s next” (the next “like” on Instagram, the next on-demand binge series) the work I do can seem counterintuitive. But intentions work because incremental shifts anchored to a purpose bring enduring change.
I tell my clients to think bigger than that which promises a quick hit. While sugar gives us a high and then sends us tumbling down when it wears off, intentions, whether related to food or other aspects of our lives, are meant to be slow and steady.
This year the intention I’m setting is for strength. Strength in my exercise regimen by lifting more is one piece of the puzzle. But beyond strength in my body, I’m also looking at strength to model resilience in my role as a mother, strengthening connection in my personal relationships and strength in my career (more on this elsewhere). Not to mention my core strength, which is rooted in maximizing the moments I have left with the generation before me while staying strong for the next generation.
My intention this year is unique to this season of my life. But intentions aren’t one size fits all. When I talk to my clients about their plans for the new year, I always ask them: What do you really want your health for? (And then I repeat this several more times. What do you really, really want your health for?) Their answers start a bit on the surface. To fit into my size ___ jeans. So my friends will think I’m beautiful. With some deep reflection and repetition, though, honest desires begin to surface. My clients tell me they want to feel energized, to be full of love for their partner, to be of service, to grow their careers and have time and focus for their children. Some of my clients over the years have shared they want health and vibrancy to know their grandchildren someday or see their daughter get married. One client wants to have financial abundance in order to have meaningful travel experiences and time away from the office. Another craves confidence starting the business he has always dreamed of.