Whatever else it means to us, the coming of the New Year does present a great opportunity for us to re-think and re-focus. This reflects the essence of Phoenix Rising – “dying to the old and being born to the new.” A great time to celebrate and set new directions. From my experience though, and possibly true for you, some great resolutions have died on the vine before bearing fruit.
Is there a way to set new year resolutions so they will produce some tangible and desired change in our lives? I believe so.
If we examine the origin of the word resolution, we find it comes from the Latin resolvere, meaning “to dissolve or loosen”. So literally setting a New Year’s Resolution means setting up to dissolve something (like an old habit we don’t want any more) or to loosen something (like letting go of something that has a tight grip on us). Exploring the word intention, we find it comes from both old French and Latin. The old French word entencion was about “stretching” or “willfulness” and the Latin intendere, which means “turning one’s attention to” or “leaning (stretching) into” something or to “plan with purpose.”
So is it possible our resolutions often don’t last because we are trying to eliminate something rather than trying to create something new? Like – “I’m going to give up eating sugar.” Instead, what if we approached our resolution setting with a clear purpose and driven with an intentional focus? Like – “I will take care of my body and eat with mindful awareness.” Do you see the subtle but important distinction between the two statements?
We know from our work in Phoenix Rising over 28 years that setting an intention is a very powerful factor supporting life change – an almost essential ingredient. So, if we want to change something in our life, it’s great to start with intention rather than to jump immediately to the resolution. If you want to try this approach with this year’s resolutions, here are some questions you can ask yourself. It could put a little more fire under them and have them not only last, but produce real change.
- What have I experienced in the past year that gives rise to a desire for change? Example: As I look back on my last year I see that there were some times I took on more than I could reasonably handle. This resulted in not creating the quality outcome I had intended.
- What is it that I want to create in my life this year as a result – my intention? Example: I will create flow in my life so that each commitment I make will create a remarkable result with ease.
- If my I were to manifest my Intention what would it look like, feel like, or be like in my life? Try it on. Visualize it, feel it, experience it in your body as well as your thoughts. Example: When I apply this to my intention above, I experience a visceral feeling of satisfaction for work well done, and the sense of it being fully received by those I’m serving.
- What action steps do I need to take now to manifest my Intention? Think small to begin with and then scale up. It’s more important that the action step is achievable, realistic, and time bounded. Example: By the end of December I will have entered all of my known commitments into my calendar for the year and taken a preliminary “walk through” of the impact on my life and my energy.
- How can I set up a practice on a daily basis to clarify and refocus my Intention? Example: I breathe and move my body vigorously for 10 minutes right after I wake up each morning. Then I close my eyes and set my Intention for the day – based on my intention for the year ahead. I then imagine a visceral embodied experience of this intention being manifest and as it comes to me I breathe, I trust, and I release into the flow of it manifesting.
Good luck! Let me know how it goes. May you enjoy a meaningful New Year. May your intentions manifest and your resolutions bear fruit.
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