What's the big deal with setting intentions?
Updated: Jan 3, 2021
Lately it seems like everyone is talking about setting intentions in the new year. So, what’s the big deal?
What is an intention and how is it different from setting a resolution? A resolution is a statement of what you are going to do or stop doing. It is goal oriented. I never REALLY set new year’s resolutions because I always felt like it put too much pressure on me to achieve some goal that I was most likely not going to follow through on and then I would have to deal with the guilt and feelings of failure.
Without even realizing what I was doing, I set an intention.
Setting an intention is different. When you set an intention, you are focusing on who you want to BE, how you want to FEEL or how you are going to show up for yourself. It’s not like you are trying to reach a goal, you are simply tapping into something that already exists within you. You want to feel happy? It’s in there. You want to be calm? That’s in there too! You want to show up confident? That is already within you as well.
About five or six years ago, I was struggling with self-doubt and insecurity. I had gone through a major life changing event and discovered that I was stressed out and running on all cylinders. Without even realizing what I was doing, I set an intention. In 2017 I selected a word, one single word that would be my guiding compass for the year. That word was BREATHE. I knew I wanted was to slow down and be more calm and that word became my anchor for the year. I purchased a Giving Key with my word engraved on it. Each time I felt anxious or overwhelmed, this single word dangling from my wrist reminded me to breathe. Breathing was like a tiny miracle because it always helped me to slow down and calm down.
By the end of that year, all that breathing had helped me to discover something else about myself. I began to realize that I was full of potential. The problem was that I didn’t really believe in my potential so in 2018 my word, was BELIEVE. My intention was to believe in my potential. I ordered a new key with my new word on it. Throughout that year, I began to see and believe in all the possibilities for myself. I was already working as a personal trainer and had taught group exercise classes at the YMCA. My first time teaching, I was terrified! Standing in front of about two dozen senior citizens to teach an “Active Adult, Healthy Adult” class was so scary. BUT I BELIEVED that I could, so I did.
By the end of that year, I had begun to believe that I could do so much more, but I was AFRAID! No, that didn’t become my new word. In 2019, my new word came to me when Juan and I went to Austin, Texas for a Health Coach Institute (HCI) live event. He would be working for HCI during the event, so I was left on my own for most of the time. The night before the conference began, Juan had to attend staff meetings and preparations for the next day, which left me on my own. I had to eat dinner alone, so I decided to go pick up Mexican food at a restaurant near our hotel. My intention was to bring it back to the hotel to eat in our room alone. When I walked into the restaurant, I told the waiter I wanted to place an order to go. As I waited for him to bring me a menu, suddenly I decided I was going to stay in that restaurant and eat dinner all by myself. I even ordered a beer!
The next day, we arrived at the conference venue, Juan gave me a kiss, and off he went to work for HCI. There I was, alone with about 800 people. I found myself a chair, near the back of the room (that gave me easy access to escape if necessary) and I sat there, alone. During the opening statements, Stacey and Carrie, the leaders of HCI talked about showing up for yourself. “How are you going to show up for yourself these next four days?” And that’s when my new word popped into my head! How am I going to show up? I am going to be BRAVE! I decided that I was not going to spend the entire four days alone and afraid. That first day, at lunch, I followed a group of ladies toward the café and invited myself to join them for lunch. There wasn’t a table available for a group that size, but I was able to join another lady and we got a table for four. We were quickly joined by two other ladies and just like that, I had made three new friends. I continued to meet new people and in total I met seventeen ladies at the conference. I’m still friends with some of them on Facebook.
Last year, 2020, I didn’t have a new word but the three words together; breathe, believe, and brave, continued to serve me despite a year filled with challenges. The Covid 19 pandemic, racial injustice and political chaos all pounded America and the World. While so many people suffered, I was being held up by these ideas and the personal peace which I had cultivated along the way. And THAT was it! As I began thinking about a word for 2021, the word “cultivate” kept showing up on my mental radar. I even ordered a new planner from “Cultivate What Matters.”
Once my new planner arrived, I realized that the four previous years had prepared me for this; to “cultivate” growth in my life. I had been breaking up the hard packed soil of my life to prepare me for this time of growth. Change didn’t happen in a week or a month or even a year. Everything I’ve done over the past five or six years has prepared me for this year ahead. I just launched this brand new company, Vintage Yoga. This is my very first blog for my new business, Vintage Yoga, and I hope to share many more with you.
It is my intention to be more than “just a yoga teacher.” My intention is to help women of all ages DISCOVER that it is never too late to live a life that you design. Next time, I’ll be sharing a little bit of my backstory.
Until then, namaste,