Nothing wrong per se with making resolutions to change something about yourself that you feel needs improving. Being on time, losing a few pounds… it’s fine to set positive goals that can alter an unflattering habit and improve your health. The problem is, being human, we agonize when we’re late for a meeting and feel like a failure when we can’t resist the flaming chocolate lava cake.
Intentions take a different approach, setting out a goal, but without the implication that there’s something wrong with you. They shift the focus from fixing something about yourself that needs correcting, to highlighting what you have and want to enhance. In short, resolutions tend to focus on the negative, pointing to what you lack, while intentions focus on the positive, amplifying what you have.
Let’s look at a typical list of resolutions and see the difference when we substitute intention as the source of the declaration.
Instead of “I’m going to cut out chocolate and lose ten pounds,” how about “I’m going to live a healthy lifestyle, and be conscious of my diet, exercising and getting enough sleep.”
Instead of “I’m going to stop working on weekends and use my vacation days no matter what,” how about “I’m going to live my life in balance, taking time for myself to rejuvenate and renew the energy it takes to do my job well and find joy and meaning outside of work.”
Instead of “I’m going to tell in-laws to stop criticizing me and that goes for my boss as well,” how about “I’m going to set boundaries with family and co-workers alike, making clear what behavior is okay and what is not, to create space that ensures our relationships are mutually respectful, appropriate, and caring.”
Instead of “I’m going to religious services every week” how about “I’m going to maintain a spiritual component in my life as a daily practice, meditating; being compassionate and non-judgmental and loving.”
The point I want to make is, we’re fine just the way we are. The surface labels we pin on ourselves do not define us; they are descriptions imposed by the ego. We are defined by qualities that come from within; our personal code of conduct; integrity, compassion, tolerance and empathy; the capacity to express the heart-felt; the wonderment of giving and receiving love.
My intention for 2023 is to absorb the meta prayer I say when I meditate, into my daily life. May I be at peace. May my heart remain open. May I awaken to my own true nature. May I be healed. May I be a source of healing for all beings.
And my wish for all of you in 2023 is the extension of my prayer. May you be at peace. May your heart remain open. May you awaken to the light of your own true nature. May you be healed. May you be a source of healing to all beings.