Happy New Year!!!
I don’t know about all of you, but I am SUPER excited for a new year and a fresh start. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we always have the opportunity to give ourselves a fresh start, regardless of the date, but there is something so symbolic and energetically powerful about the start of a new year. It is a great opportunity to reflect on the past and make decisions about the future. My first decision about 2016 is that it will ridiculously amazing. That part is nonnegotiable.
I started the New Year by teaching a 75 minute power flow to a sold out class at STUDIO B. We focused on twisting and heart opening poses to symbolize the ringing out of 2015 and the welcoming in of 2016. If you weren’t able to make it to class, you can find it on iTunes or press play below.
I always invite my students to set an intention at the start of class. Today, I asked them to take things a step further and set an intention for the year ahead. This is something I started doing for myself a few years ago and it has been an absolute game-changer.
But what IS an intention? How is an intention different than a goal or a resolution? And how do you “set” one anyways? Those are great questions and questions I get asked a lot. An intention is much different than a goal or a resolution and it’s definitely much more than fluffy yoga-speak. What better time than the first of the year to cover this topic? Let's explore.
What is an Intention?
An intention is a conscious thought about ones desires. In other words, every single person on this planet has desires that are just waiting to come to fruition. When you bring awareness to those desires by putting them into words and expressing them to yourself and to the universe, you create intentions. Think of your desires as seeds. When you set an intention by bringing conscious awareness to those desires, you plant the seeds.
How is an Intention Different than a Goal?
An intention is different from a goal in that it is not attached to a specific outcome. For example, finding true love is an intention. Marrying John is a goal. Can you see the difference? When you set an intention, you do so without any expectation surrounding the outcome. An intention is more like a feeling whereas a goal is more like an outcome and oftentimes includes a roadmap to getting there. More on this below.
5 Steps to Setting an Intention
Step 1: Clear Your Mind
If you are having trouble identifying or naming your desires, it helps if you begin with a clear mind. Bring yourself into a restful state of awareness by meditating or practicing yoga. When your mind is clear, you are more in tune with your authentic self. Once you’ve achieved this state, it helps to do some journaling and reflection to decide what your desires actually are.
Step 2: Use the Affirmative
Once you've identified your desires, state your intention using present-tense. “I am ____” statements work really well for this. Using our example above, if your intention is to find true love, make your intention, “I am in love”. Even if you are not in love yet, speaking in the affirmative will let the universe know you mean serious business.
Step 3: Have Faith
Believe in your intention 100%. When you repeat your intention in your mind, do so with complete conviction. There is no possible way that your intention will not come to fruition. Doubt will only work against you here. You must believe whole-heartedly that you not only deserve your intention, but that it will definitely become reality.
Step 4: Ditch the Outcome
So here is the tricky part. This is where an intention differentiates itself from a goal or a resolution. You have to detach yourself from the outcome. That sounds counterintuitive, right? I know. Here’s how it works. Using our example above, your intention is to find true love. Great, that’s an awesome intention. But lets say you don’t just want love for the sake of love. You want to marry John. But marrying john as an outcome of falling in love. That’s not an intention, that’s a goal. So what’s wrong with that? Well, the problem is, what if John actually isn’t the one for you? What if your soul mate, your true love, is actually not John, but Daniel. Do you see where this can be problematic? If you set your sites on the outcome (john) instead of the intention (true love) you sabotage yourself and create roadblocks that prevent what’s best for you from becoming reality. This can be a tough pill to swallow at first, but I promise that what the universe has in store for you is much more amazing and fulfilling than any plan or goal that your consciousness could conjure up.
Step 5: Set it Free and Let it Be
Repeat your intention in the morning when you wake up, before each yoga class, and at night before you go to bed, and then let the universe do the rest. You don’t need to devise a plan or create an action list. Believe it, repeat it and let it go.This can be challenging, I know. We are such rigid people sometimes, aren’t we? We have our goals and spreadsheets and checklists that keep us productive and on task. Society applauds us for being type-A control freaks who get sh** done! But when it comes to setting intentions, you take control of your destiny by giving up control. I promise that your focused intention is enough to get the ball rolling and bring you closer to your intention. Set it free and let it be.