Saturday, December 6, 2014

What's Your Intention?

I have a lot of friends.    I have a lot of friends who are beautiful, and successful, and have achieved so much, and have really terrific lives.    And at this time of year especially, I am seeing a trend in my friends that makes me really sad, and is causing me to stop and really look at how I am choosing to live my own life.  

Don’t get me wrong.   They aren’t drinking too much, or doing bad things.   They aren’t being unkind to me, or treating others with disrespect.   They aren’t texting while driving or cursing, or generally hurting anyone.

Except themselves.

And as I look at them, I see my own reflection.   And for whatever reason, at this time…..the end of the year…..I feel it more strongly than before.   I feel a need to change.

It’s tradition.   The end of one year, signals a rebirth of sorts in the form of New Year’s resolutions.   We have all done it.   We vow to lose weight, to be a better person, to recycle, save money, donate to charity, run a marathon……  you name it.   Generally though, it is always this really big “global” idea.  Something life altering…something that we perceive as the one really big thing about ourselves that we need to do to be a success.

I hear it all the time.    From my friends.   These women and men that I love.    And it makes me sad.

This idea came to me in a conversation with a friend recently where she revealed a pretty momentous goal for 2015.    And achieving that goal to her seems pinnacle to her success as a person.   But what I saw, was someone putting an immense amount of pressure on herself to do something so large, that she couldn’t even picture herself doing it at that moment.  

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t thing large goals are bad.   At ALL!   I have goals, and wants and things that I want to change.    But like so many out there, and like my girlfriend, sometimes when I look at them, they seem so very far away from where I am today that I get completely overwhelmed.   And this THING…..this GOAL that was supposed to motivate me……paralyzes me instead.    And all I see at that moment is failure, and hopelessness.

So as I talked to her, this idea dawned on me.

What if…..instead of a New Year’s Resolution to begin precisely at 12:00am on January 1, 2015….what IF…..I started something NOW.   

And what if…..instead of a big global “fix me” project…….my only goal is to slow down and take my life a day at a time.    And each day, I set a small attainable intention for myself.   Something simple.   Something I am capable of doing THIS day. 
Base my “intention” on what I feel like that day.    Am I happy?   Am I sad?   Am I sick?   Am I completely overwhelmed?   What can I do TODAY to be kind to myself, and to make myself a better person?

So a few weeks ago, I started.    I made myself accountable to a friend, because that works for me.    So each day I send her a short text with my intention for the day.    Some days it is small, and some days larger.  

Today my intention is to let myself rest because I am tired.

Today my intention is to go to the gym.

Today my intention is to be kind to myself, even though I don’t feel like it.

Today my intention is to say no.

Today my intention is to clean the bathroom.

Today I am going to let myself be angry because of all that seems so unfair to me right now.

Today I am going to choose to be happy.

Do you see the difference in what I have been doing?   I am waking up, and looking at my life IN THAT MOMENT, and deciding what is possible for me.   I am setting myself up to succeed each and every day, by setting an intention that is attainable.

Some days I do better than others.   But each day, I am making a resolution for myself to be stronger by allowing myself to succeed at whatever I need that day.   That’s it.  Daily success.  

And what am I finding?   That each day I succeed……I wake up the next day feeling a little stronger.   And my viewfinder isn’t quite as laser focused on the BIG GOALS, because I am working so much more on what I NEED each day to feel complete.

This is a work in progress, and I cannot tell a lie.   It’s not all rainbows and unicorns.   I still fight with myself each time I see a diet commercial to not think “this year it will all be different.”   But I can tell you ths…..it’s helping.   It is helping me to honor myself with what I am needing today, and in the end, it’s helping me to see what is really important.

And that isn’t if I run a marathon, or lose 50 pounds, or whatever your resolution has been year after year.    It’s helping me to see that I am worthy of success, and gentleness, and kindness, and daily compassion.   It’s helping me put myself as a priority each day, even if it’s for something small., by deciding for myself what I need for THAT DAY only.  

And the beauty of it?  The intention changes again tomorrow.  

So I encourage you to try it.   TODAY.   Don’t wait for January 1.   We DESERVE this kind of self care and kindness every day.   Honor yourself by taking one day at a time.   

You may be surprised that after a year, you are achieving more than you ever thought possible.