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What's all this intention setting about?

So, one of my intentions for 2019 is to write a monthly blog for my website. So why has it taken me to the end of the month to sit down and write something? Fear of being boring or having nothing worthwhile to say and fear of being judged are all part of my procrastination process! However, I realise if I wait until I am ‘perfect’ at something I will never do anything, so this is my ‘imperfect’ first step towards a monthly blog on yoga, meditation and all things related.

So why set intentions at the start of a new year? Why take time out to review your life and all it’s aspects - health/wellbeing, work, family/friends, social and fun, spiritualty/emotional growth, finances and community/charity.

For many years, I muddled through my personal life living from one year to the next with maybe a few new year resolutions that I tended to break by Feb/March but apart from that I had no real plan – apart from planning of holidays/travel, I’ve always been good at that! Then I made a shift. My sister in law bought me a yoga journal daily planner and for 8 months it sat on my bookshelf. Then at the start of January 2017 (and coincidentally when I started to teach yoga) I decided to embrace the opportunity the journal presented. I opened the journal and wrote a personal purpose statement, reviewed what mattered to me in my life then set goals/intentions around the areas I mentioned above – health, work, friends/family etc. Once I set my annual goals, I set the goals/activities I wanted to achieve in the next 90 days then set out with what I needed to do in week one.

What I learnt from the process is that writing it down has power. Somehow having the goals written in black and white with a plan of how to get there made it easier for me to sit and work with these intentions/goals for the full 12 months and I made them happen. Including during that year finding a senior level charity fundraising part time job so I could teach more yoga classes.

What I also learnt is that knowing why I wanted to do something was essential to successfully staying motivated even through the inevitable knockbacks along the way. It was all about taking time out to think about what I really wanted my life to look like in 12 months’ time, away from what I thought I ‘should do’ or what others thought I should do.

It can take time, but it is worth the process, as is the weekly check in - checking whether you are on track and what next steps you need to make the following week to continue your path.

In our recent yoga retreat day, we took some time before intention setting to settle the breath and we shared a ‘chakra meditation’ to help the mind clear away any previous conditioning and negativity. I’ll explain about chakras in another blog post (or a few blog posts – it’s a big area!) However you get into the present moment and find focus its good to do this before sitting down to write your intentions. That could be yoga, meditation or it could be running, tai chi, praying, chanting – whatever works for you is good.

Another thing to consider is who you share your life with – your partner, your family. Once you have set your intentions if any of them could impact on your family life or partner then it is a good at the start to take time to explain your intentions and why they are important to you and ask for their support to help you. We have a hard enough job sometimes not to self-sabotage our own intentions through our limiting beliefs so without the support of your loved ones ( people on your team!) it can cause friction and potential conflict so tackle any risk of that head on before it becomes a problem and you abandon your intention to keep the status quo. If your partner is open to this, perhaps even do your intention setting together, you may find you have common goals and you can help keep each other on track. I’m currently on my post ski holiday month off drinking and I have appreciated my husband joining me for this time - it’s taken all the temptation away us doing this together.

A final comment on intentions, if one or two scare the hell out of you don’t worry! Break them down into manageable chunks of action points/steps, remember your why, take a deep breath and move forward.

Looking back on those first intentions I set at the start of 2017 I know that taking the time to lead a more conscious life has created a massive shift in my life. How I live and view my life and the opportunities ahead of me has completed changed. These days I start a new year full of excitement, perhaps with a little fear (of some of my goals!) but fundamentally with a massive sense of gratitude for my one precious life.

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