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It’s that time of year again — the time when we reflectively pause on the year past in anticipation of the year to come.
If you’re like many people, every January you start the year with the best of intentions. Intentions to progress beyond the status quo; to dream, grow, stretch, and achieve. Perhaps you intend to lose weight, get in shape, or finally write that book. Maybe your intention is to find love or to become more loving towards others. In our current economy, past intentions of finding your dream job may have shifted to the simplified version of finding a job.
Beyond simply another goal-setting exercise, resolutions enable us to (re)frame, (re)direct, and resolve to move us closer to our dreams. Energetically, setting an intention creates movement, shifting our mindset from the complacent comfort of the familiar to the challenge of new growth.
But sometimes even the best of intentions can fall by the wayside. Perhaps midstream our priorities shift, giving way to new pathways that call us in a different direction. Perhaps there is more weed pulling or soil tilling to do before the garden of our life is ready for new plantings. Sometimes our intentions are tied to people and events outside of our control, and what starts off as the best of intentions, ultimately gives way to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go our way.
So what are we to do? How do we navigate ever-changing tides or commit to goals that may ultimately fall outside of our control? What steps can we take to reach the places we are trying to go?
In an interview for the Global Girls Project on the power of vision in leadership and empowerment, Jesse Stoner, co-author with Ken Blanchard of the international bestseller, Full Steam Ahead: Unleashing the Power of Vision in Your Life, suggests “digging down beneath intentions to what’s fundamentally connected to who you are, because in the end, that’s all you really have any control over.” She suggests tuning into your core values and purpose as the means for achieving the larger vision for your life.
Need to lose weight or get in shape? Want to write that book? Looking for love or the perfect job? Consider the underlying values you are trying to achieve. Perhaps your resolution for weight loss and fitness is tied to a core value of health and wellness, or your desire to write a book is aligned with creative expression. A desire for relationship reflects our basic human need to love and be loved, while the notion of a ‘dream’ job is usually tied to a larger sense of purpose in our lives.
When we dig deeper; when we consider the underlying ‘why’ behind our resolutions, it enables and empowers us to move from a mindset of having the best of intentions to pursuing a larger vision for our lives.
Do you set New Year’s resolutions, and if so, have you ever considered the underlying values driving your individual goals? How many of your resolutions are defined by events, people and/or circumstances outside of your control? Do your resolutions reflect a larger vision for your life? What pro-active steps can you take to shift from merely setting an intention to actualizing your dreams?