February 28, 2024

INTENTIONS VS RESOLUTIONS: ELEVATING THE EXPERIENCE OF GOAL SETTING

Setting Sail for Success: Navigating the Seas of Intentions & Resolutions

Each 365 days, as we find ourselves standing on the cusp of a New Year, brimming with potential and possibilities, it’s common to reflect on our aspirations and set our sights on new goals. The tradition of making resolutions is as old as time, but in recent years, a more profound, gentler approach has emerged: setting intentions. This shift from resolutions to intentions isn’t just semantic—it’s a fundamental change in how we approach our aspirations and commitments for personal growth and success.

The Essence of Intentions vs. Resolutions

Resolutions often come with a sense of rigidity, a concrete list of do’s and don’ts set in the stone of our own expectations. They are like strict teachers, demanding adherence and often leading to a sense of failure at the first slip. On the other hand, intentions are like wise mentors—they are commitments rooted in a profound, positive and malleable energy that guide, inspire, and evolve with us. As Tony Robbins wisely said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Intentions embody this philosophy, focusing more on the journey than the destination.

Flexibility & Growth: The Tree Analogy

Imagine a tree in a storm. If it’s too rigid, it risks breaking under the force of the wind. But if it’s flexible, bending and swaying with the gusts, it survives and continues to grow. Our goals and aspirations are much the same. Being too rigid in our resolutions can lead to a sense of overwhelm and eventual collapse under pressure. However, if we approach our goals with the flexibility of intentions, we allow room for growth, recalibration, and even the unexpected joys of spontaneity.

Knowing Your True North

The foundation of setting ourselves up for success is knowing our ‘true north’—our core values and deepest desires. We pave the path for evolving into the highest actualized version of ourselves when we honor the discovery, understanding, and prioritization of what genuinely matters to us and aligning our intentions with this inner compass. As Stephen Covey beautifully articulated, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” This clarity of vision creates a roadmap for our journey, ensuring that our intentions are not just wishful thinking but the impenetrable energy fueling actionable paths towards fulfillment.

The Dance of Strategy & Fluidity

The art of successful goal-setting lies in the balance between strategy and fluidity. It’s essential to have a plan, a structured approach to achieving our intentions. This plan should be thorough, with clear, actionable steps. However, we must also embrace the fluidity of life’s unpredictable nature. As we journey through the year, our circumstances, perspectives, and even our goals may shift. Staying rigidly attached to a predefined path can blind us to new opportunities and insights way beyond our original hopes, dreams and expectations.

Techniques for a Balanced Approach

  1. Set SMART & Intentional Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This framework ensures clarity and attainability.
  2. Regular Check-ins: Schedule periodic reviews of your intentions. This helps in recalibrating your approach as necessary and adapting to changes proactively.
  3. Embrace Mindfulness: Stay present and aware. Mindfulness keeps you connected to your intentions and open to growth.
  4. Cultivate Resilience: Be prepared for setbacks. Resilience allows you to bounce back and stay committed to your journey.
  5. Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your progress. Check in on your progress at the end of each week and at the beginning of each month. Make sure to honor your victories great and small with a soul enriching, joyful experience. This builds momentum and keeps you motivated and dedicated.

Intentions & Resolutions: The Synergy

While different in approach, intentions and resolutions aren’t mutually exclusive. They can coexist, complementing each other. Resolutions can provide the structure, the clear-cut goals we aim for. Intentions infuse these goals with deeper meaning, flexibility, and adaptability. Marrying the determination of resolutions with the wisdom of intentions catalyzes potential and catapults the goal setter to the desired result in a much more effective, impactful and elevated way.

Beyond the Horizon: Growth & Success

In setting intentions and embracing this balanced approach, we open ourselves to possibilities beyond our wildest dreams. It’s not just about achieving goals but about growing and evolving as individuals. As we sail through the year, let’s remember that our journey is not just about reaching a destination but about the adventures, learning, and growth that happen along the way.

As we welcome the New Year, let’s approach it with a blend of excitement, strategy, and openness. By setting intentions, staying flexible, and aligning with our true north, we set ourselves up for a journey of growth, success, and fulfillment. Remember, in the dance of life, it’s not just the steps that matter, but how we move to the music of our aspirations.

The Symphony of Self-Transformation

Embarking on the journey of self-transformation requires an orchestra of qualities: courage, persistence, adaptability, and, above all, self-compassion. The path is not linear; it’s a symphony with its crescendos and diminuendos, harmonious moments, and occasional dissonances. As we navigate this path, it’s crucial to remember that every step, whether forward or sideways, is a part of our growth.

The Power of Incremental Change

Small, incremental changes often lead to substantial long-term results. As James Clear articulates in his book “Atomic Habits,” tiny improvements can add up to significant transformations. This perspective is vital when setting intentions and resolutions. Instead of aiming for monumental changes overnight, focus on small, manageable actions that gradually steer you towards your larger goals. This approach reduces overwhelm and makes the journey more enjoyable and sustainable.

The Art of Letting Go

Part of the journey involves learning to let go of what no longer serves us—be it habits, beliefs, or even old goals that no longer align with who we are becoming. This process of shedding is as important as acquiring new skills or habits. It makes room for growth and new experiences. Remember, change is not just about adding; it’s also about subtracting.

Staying Grounded Yet Soaring High

It’s essential to stay grounded in reality while allowing ourselves to dream and reach for the stars. Keeping our intentions and resolutions realistic ensures that we don’t set ourselves up for disappointment. At the same time, dreaming big fuels our passion and drives us to push beyond our perceived limits. It’s a delicate balance between being pragmatic and being visionary.

The Role of Community & Support

No journey is a solitary endeavor. Surrounding ourselves with a supportive community can make a significant difference. Sharing our goals, struggles, and successes with others creates a sense of accountability and provides a wellspring of motivation and encouragement. Whether it’s family, friends, or a broader community, these connections are invaluable in our journey towards self-improvement.

Embracing Change & Uncertainty

Change is the only constant, and uncertainty is a part of life. Embracing this reality makes us more resilient and adaptable. When our plans go awry, as they often will, our ability to pivot and find new pathways is what keeps us moving forward. Uncertainty can be uncomfortable, but it’s also where growth and creativity thrive.

The Beauty of Reflection & Gratitude

Regular reflection is a powerful tool. It helps us gauge our progress, learn from our experiences, and realign our actions with our intentions. Coupled with gratitude, reflection becomes even more potent. Gratitude shifts our focus from what’s missing to what’s present, fostering a positive mindset that propels us forward.

The Infinite Possibility of the Human Spirit

It’s important to acknowledge the infinite potential within each of us. We are capable of extraordinary things when we align our intentions with our actions and stay true to our inner compass. The journey towards our goals is as much about discovering ourselves as it is about achieving external success.

Setting intentions and resolutions is a dance between aspiration and reality, between dreaming big and taking small, consistent steps. It’s about being flexible yet focused, structured yet open to change. As we embark on this journey, let’s do so with enthusiasm, compassion, and an unwavering belief in our ability to grow and succeed. The New Year is not just a time for setting goals; it’s a time for embracing the endless possibilities that lie within and around us. Let’s commit to making 2024, and every year to come, a journey of discovery, joy, and profound transformation.