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The Power of Intention

Posted: December 28, 2018 by Nani Waddoups

As the year comes to an end, it is a natural time for both reflection and looking ahead. The new year represents a fresh start, full of promise, potential and possibility. What do you want for yourself in 2019? How would you like to feel at this time next year, looking back? Now is the time to curate your vision, break it down into its disparate parts, and create a plan to make it happen. Now is the time to harness the power of intention.

The much-maligned “New Years Resolution List” has a bad rap largely because it is a wish list that doesn’t take in the whole picture of our complex selves, nor are the wishes specific enough, nor does it outline how we might achieve them. A new year’s “strategic plan” includes all three of these elements. The other key to arriving at our vision in the new year is keeping our intentions in our awareness and not losing that resolutions list somewhere.

Curate your vision.

We are multifaceted individuals who live complex lives. Our vision for the new year should include all aspects of ourselves. Consider all the roles you play in your life, all the hats you wear: friend, family member, employee, business owner, artist, body manager, homeowner, financial planner, activist, spiritual seeker, gardener…..so many different hats! Make a list of all the hats you expect to wear in 2019 and make sure your vision of yourself includes all aspects of you.

Here’s a free tool to support this exercise. It’s called The Hat Trick!

Break down your vision into specific goals.

Our mind’s image of how we want things to look is similar to a painting, which, when viewed up close, is made up of many intentional details necessary to have it make sense to the eye. That strategically placed dab of white and the dark shadow at the bottom are what turn a circle into a 3-dimensional orb. Similarly, we need to be intentional about the details of our vision in order to bring the flat resolution list to a full-bodied manifestation.

“Cleaning out the garage” must be broken down into smaller parts: get rid of things, have a garage sale, organize what’s staying, clean and paint.

Create a plan.

Create action steps for each part of the vision: commit to dates on the calendar, call Aunt Sally who loves to organize, order a dumpster to be delivered, arrange for a non-profit to pick up usable items, buy shelving, schedule garage sale, etc. Thinking through a goal into its smaller steps and being intentional about when those steps will happen is the way forward. Feel your resistance.

There is a tension between wanting to relax and wanting to create. This is a natural ambivalence because we want both, and they can feel mutually exclusive. Being creative takes energy and there are days when we don’t want to clean the garage. This is where keeping your holistic intentional vision can be very helpful.

For example, I really wanted to wear my writer’s hat more in 2018. (Pretty vague.) I wanted to feel good about sharing helpful ideas and tools with as many people as I could. (Better.) I decided to commit to a monthly newsletter and simultaneously post it on my blog. (Good, more specific.) To create the highlights and shadows to make it come to life, I needed those finer details: I scheduled one weekend a month for a working retreat at a friend’s beach house.

Today I was scheduled to be at the beach, but I also really wanted to just be home, to not make a drive, to bake cookies and go for a swim. It would have been easy for me to be otherwise distracted and not writing right now, but I have a now-somewhat-wrinkled list from last December that I look at all the time that reminds me of my intention to wear my writer’s hat in order to be helpful in the world. That reminder has helped me view the creative energy needed as fulfilling rather than depleting.

Keep your intentions in your awareness.

Happy New Year!

Tags: mood and feelings, life transition

Nani Waddoups (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

Navigating toward existential meaning, and consideration of conditions at play are the roots of my counseling philosophy and style.

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