For a long time, I resisted setting intentions in the new year. I didn't want to be like everyone else, setting intentions in January that I was likely going to forget about in February! The truth is that I didn't see the value in it because I didn't trust that it would lead me to any different results. But as it turns out, I was wrong!
Setting intentions is valuable because it connects us with a sense of purpose. When we set an intention, we feel prompted into action as what we want becomes more real. It helps us move from the elusiveness of thought into empowered action.
To set intentions is to open up to new possibilities. It is to allow ourselves to accept and create new things in our lives, and at the beginning of a new cycle, like the new year, the energy is vibrantly supportive of that.
WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SETTING INTENTIONS
Before setting our intentions, it helps to remember that our life results from our inner world.
For the most part, our reality is the product of our conscious and subconscious mind that governs our choices. Therefore, to set intentions with real power to transform our lives, we first need to understand ourselves. The practice of self-awareness techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, allows us to do just that.
Unfortunately, it can be painful to look inwards. This is why so many of us don't. Instead, when we feel inner suffering or pain, we distract ourselves with activities and behaviors that give us temporary relief.
We might think that setting intentions is not for us, that we are trapped in our present circumstances, that change is too difficult, overwhelming, or just flat out impossible. We might not know where to start and feel uncertain about where it will lead us.
But think about this quote by Lao Tzu, author of The Tao Te Ching:
"Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny."
It is scary to think that our thoughts and feelings, both conscious and subconscious, become our destiny, like self-fulfilled prophecies.
And just as Eric Micha'el Leventhal said, "The closer you come to knowing that you alone create the world of your experience, the more vital it becomes for you to discover just who is doing the creating."
SETTING SUCCESSFUL INTENTIONS
STEP 1 -SELF-AWARENESS
Self-awareness involves acquiring knowledge about all the different aspects of who we are: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Start by asking yourself the question:
"What is present within me at this moment?"
Take your time, close your eyes, and ask the question.
To answer it, start with your BODY and mentally scan it to see what you are physically experiencing. It is helpful to write down what you see or feel.
Continue with your THOUGHTS.
Have you ever observed yourself thinking? If you haven't, give it a try.
When you have observed your thoughts for a day (or a few days), you can then answer the questions:
1) What are you thinking about in your daily life?
2) What thoughts are more usual and stronger than others?
3) Are all your thoughts intentional, or do you recognize some automatic thoughts (or thought patterns) that arise without your intention?
4) What do you think of yourself? How do you treat yourself in your thoughts?
Then observe your EMOTIONS.
5) What emotions do you experience daily?
6) What is your general emotional state? Is it affected by the circumstances or people around you? Is it triggered by particular memories or thoughts? Which ones?
7) Are you happy? Do you feel fulfilled?
8) Do you feel free and/or able to create the life you want? Why?
9) What would make you feel happier?
10) What steps can you take to accomplish it?
Write down and save the answers to questions #9 and #10. You will use them to set your intentions in the exercise at the end of this article.
With self-awareness, we can stop wasting physical, mental, and emotional energy on automatic thought and behavior patterns. We can redirect all of that energy with clarity and purposeful intention to the actions that will create our desired outcomes.
STEP 2 – CHOOSING THOUGHTS
Did you know that you can choose your thoughts? You are free to choose what to focus on! It only takes a little practice and determination.
Once you practice some self-awareness to become conscious of what thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are prevalent, it is time to consider what thoughts, emotions, and what part of your life is debilitating or empowering you.
Observe your DEBILITATING thoughts and your EMPOWERING thoughts. You might find it useful to write them down in two groups or columns. Compare how much time you spend focusing on each group.
Next time you become aware that you are thinking debilitating thoughts, shift by thinking about something positive. Hack your mind with an intentional thought!
Here are some mind-hacking techniques:
Decide to think about what you are grateful for. Develop a daily practice of gratitude.
Close your eyes and bring to your mind someone/something you love. Feel that love in your heart and stay in that feeling for a few minutes. Then send that love to the rest of your body, and everything and everyone around you. This is the practice of loving-kindness.
Intentionally bring a positive memory to your mind. Spend time contemplating it as if you were reliving it. You can also think about a time in which you helped someone and made a positive change in their life. How did you feel about helping them? Can you think of anyone else that might need your loving presence or your help? If you can, take action. Then spend time feeling good about the help or support you provided.
If you are familiar with the practice of Ho'Oponopono, apply it to each negative belief, thought, emotion, or experience. You can learn about it in the book "Zero Limits" by Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and Joe Vitale (I recommend the audio version of the book).
If we set positive intentions or goals, but most of our time is spent thinking debilitating thoughts, no permanent change is possible. Results will require a tremendous amount of effort and will be temporary at best.
OUR POWER TO CREATE EXISTS ONLY IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. If most of our time is spent revisiting the past or speculating and fantasizing about the future, we won't have enough momentum to create in the present moment.
Don't get caught in waiting for the perfect circumstances to start creating positive things in your life. We have to make things happen with awareness, practice, and determination in the here and now!
STEP 3 – PRACTICE
Our new goals and intentions won't materialize without regular and sustained practice. In Reiki, this is the principle of DILIGENCE. Being diligent means to apply constant effort to accomplish your goals; being attentive and persistent. To be diligent is the opposite of being passive or forgetful.
In practicing steps 1 and 2, you might have realized you have been persistent in holding certain beliefs, thoughts, and feelings throughout the years and that by doing this, you were diligently creating a reality that reflects them.
To ACHIEVE intentional goals, we must know what, why, and how we are thinking daily to correct and align our mind with our intentions. Additionally, our actions need to be COHERENT with our goals. We can't succeed in being abundant, happy, healthier, or having loving relationships if our thoughts, emotions, and actions are persistently contradicting those things.
We will experience what our mind and heart are mostly focused on. Diligently observe your inner states to recognize negative thoughts and feelings as they arise. Intentionally self-regulate by choosing what to think, as described in Step-2. Your emotions will follow your thoughts.
Set your intentions and start this daily practice to create new habits of thought:
GOAL PLANNING, VISUALIZATION AND HEALING MEDITATION
On a piece of paper, write down your GOALS in the affirmative. Say what you want, not what you don't want. Be specific and set a deadline for achieving each goal.
Write down what you will WIN materially, physically, mentally, and emotionally by achieving your goals.
Write down what you will LOSE if you don't achieve these goals.
Write down a detailed and numbered list of OBSTACLES.
Write down a corresponding and numbered list of ACTION STEPS you can take to sort those obstacles. For example, if your obstacle is "I don't have time", your actions can be to learn time management, wake up earlier, or prioritize. If your obstacle is "I don't know how to", your actions could be to take a class or read a book.
Begin by VISUALIZING yourself already having achieved your goals, incomplete health, happiness, and expansion. Let this vision become your only reality at this moment.
INVOLVE ALL OF YOUR SENSES: Imagine you are there, at that moment in time, having accomplished your goals. Use your sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and involve your sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Start using your breath to move all of those images and sensations of having already realized your intentions into your whole body. BREATHE YOUR VISUALIZATION IN and continue to the healing meditation.
Being fully present in your vision, breathe all your visualization's positive sensations into your body and your heart.
Breathe them deep into your heart until you feel it opening and until you begin experiencing feelings of love, hope, and happiness.
Place your hands in front of you at about shoulder-width apart with palms facing each other. Then place your vision and goals in between your hands and send those feelings of love from your heart down your arms and out of your palms into them.
Make a vow to take at least one action every day to bring you closer to your goals and ask silently in your mind: What action can you take today? Wait to receive your answer.
If any fears or negative thoughts arise, place them in between your hands and send feelings of love from your heart into them for healing.
Practice as often as you can, gradually increase the time you spend doing the exercise until you can spend at least 5 minutes visualizing and 10 minutes on your healing meditation without losing focus.
Keep your VISION in mind, making it a part of your thoughts, emotions, and reality.
The practice is not only mental, emotional, or spiritual. We also need to support and reinforce positive thoughts with positive action. Procrastination drains your energy and promotes negative feelings of self-worth. Positive action is empowering and increases self-esteem.
SUPPORTING YOUR GOALS
To help you succeed in your goals, you can take actions to support yourself:
Take care of your BODY by becoming aware of its needs. Exercise and seek healing therapies if you need to.
Take care of your THOUGHTS by using mindfulness meditation regularly. Take classes or read books on personal development or spiritual wisdom. Associate with positive, like-minded people.
Take care of your HEART by choosing to respect yourself and others. Meditate on unconditional love until you can genuinely feel it.
Finally, take at least one action a day towards the practical achievement of your goals.
"Success in life is not for those who run fast, but for those who keep running and always on the move."
― Bangambiki Habyarimana, Pearls Of Eternity
Wishing you healing, success, and fulfillment,
All rights reserved - Guillermina Neal - HealCoach 2020