It is more Important to be of pure intention than of perfect action.
~ Ilyas Kassam
It’s time to leave behind what many consider the busiest season of the year and make room for a period of reflection and recalibration. This is a time to focus inward, to carve new paths, and identify the changes you want to make.
And yet, many people I have met over the last few days have shared their dread at starting a New Year. They say things like, “I want some changes but I always disappoint myself.
So I don’t make resolutions. I can never follow through.”
Mr. Webster defines a resolution as firm purpose or determination. That sounds so inflexible, so final. Either you do it or you don’t. It so often leads to “shoulding” all over your self.
But no pressure, right?
In my coaching I’m always asking my clients to take a different perspective when approaching a situation. So what if we decided on a New Year’s intention rather than a resolution?
After all if we intend to do something it means that we have something in mind that we want to have done or brought about; it’s about a course of action to follow. Intentions focus on the “why” we want something.
Let’s take a common New Year’s resolution and see how converting it to an intention can make all the difference in the likelihood of it happening. I like to use the 5 Why’s test for this.
Old resolution: lose 10 pounds. This one’s just destined for failure…
Why #1: I want my clothes to fit better.
Why #2: (delving deeper) When my clothes bunch and gather tightly I feel unattractive.
Why #3: (even deeper) My confidence drops.
Why #4: (deeper still) I feel less powerful than I want to be because I’m spending time thinking about how I look.
Why #5: (et voila!) I want to feel fit because that makes me feel powerful.
Which would you rather choose?
• to lose 10 pounds or
• to feel fit because that makes you feel powerful.
Doesn’t the second option feel more attainable? This is something that you want to move toward. There’s no room for “should” in that statement. Once you’ve nailed down the ultimate “Why”, the motivation will follow. And, if you slip up, it’s much easier to get back on track, with no room for self-flagellation!
An intention, once you dig deep into the “Why” of it, will be compelling. You’ll want to follow through because you’ve gotten to the root of the longing, the reason for the change you are seeking.
Your Call to Action:
Choose a New Year’s resolution. Come on, you know you’ve got one lurking in your head. Now, try out the 5 Why’s to identify the core reason you want this change. Note how this intention feels. Finally, find a sacred place to post your intention so that it will serve as a reminder as we head into the New Year.