It’s the first week of 2017. How are your resolutions coming along? Did you make broad, vague ones that you won’t be able to evaluate? Think, “I’m going to be a better person.” Did you make unrealistic ones that you’ve already dropped? Perhaps, “I’m never eating another bite of sugar!” Or did you resolve to never make New Year’s Resolutions again because they only set you up for disappointment and failure?
This year, consider setting a potent intention for 2017 instead of a resolution. How is an intention different? Consider your intention a theme or mantra for the rest of the year; not necessarily a goal to accomplish, but a state of being to aspire to. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, what is the intention behind that? It could be to honor your body, feeding it with healthy fuel and allowing it to be more physically expressive. Or maybe it’s to be healthy and vibrant so you can enjoy a more active life with your family. Essentially, an intention is the root of the resolution, the reason you want to make a change in your life.
Digging deep, let’s do some work to find that root. First, ask yourself what it is that you want in this new year. If you have a meditation practice, take some time contemplating this question in silence. You can also spend a while journaling, noticing where your thoughts go when you put some focus on this huge but simple question. Take the time to notice patterns that keep arising. The true intention may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but may continue to suggest itself in different ways until you’re finally able to unearth its truth.
Once you’ve identified this intention, write it down. This is possibly the most important step, as it will give you concrete evidence to refer back to if you need a reminder, or if you start to veer off track (as we all do!). Write it in your journal, write it on a notecard that you stick to your mirror, make a huge mural or vision board with your intention as the central theme – whatever way you want to express your deep desire for change, do it. This is a powerful step in making your intention a reality. However you choose to visually depict your intention, make sure it is in positive, active, simple language. “I will spend 2017 practicing compassion for all beings” is much more empowering than “I won’t say mean things about people any more”.
The path to lasting change begins with identifying what you want, then taking small consistent steps towards that goal, continuing to mindfully practice the qualities you want more of in your life. Big changes are initiated with clear goals and persistent practice. Before you know it, your intention will be a part of your reality.
I wish you all a transformational 2017 – a year filled with more love, abundance and happiness than you ever thought possible. Allow yourself to dream spectacularly, love infinitely and shine brightly this year. The world needs your light and compassion more than ever.
Rachel Durben lives in Truckee, CA, and has been practicing yoga for since 2000. She began her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program through Wanderlust at the 2014 Squaw Valley festival immersion, and completed the training in Costa Rica. She brings mindfulness and asana practice to her work in environmental education and ecological research, and loves sharing these tools with students of all ages. Rachel teaches yoga at the <a href=”http://tahoeyoga.com/” target=”_blank”>Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center</a> and enjoys guiding students towards their own truth and providing them with the tools to find stillness in the midst of our busy lives.