New Year’s Intentions

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By setting your intention you pave your way, you set yourself up for success.


Happy New Year! A new decade has begun. And it’s about this time every year that we start to hear the buzz of New Year’s resolutions. We start to feel the pressure to make a change in our lives, quit that bad habit, drop extra pounds, etc.. But, research says that only 8% of people actually follow through and achieve their resolutions. Wow! If those are the statistics then why even bother? Well, here’s some inspiration:

Writer Anne Lamont says, “What if you wake up someday, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in the warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy, or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, or imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.

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I think where many of us go wrong is that once the clock counts down and we shift into a brand new year, we expect change to happen overnight. We give our resolutions a shot for a little while, but when we don’t see results right away, we throw them out the window. We forget that like our yoga practice – change is a gradual practice. It’s a process that is cultivated with time, effort, and patience.

I also think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves with the word, “Resolution.” Think about it. The word, “Resolve,” is what I hear when I read, hear, or say the word, “Resolution,” out loud. When we resolve to do something, it’s very final, firm, and rigid. There is no flexibility or grace. When a new year arrives, we often set very specific goals with short and limited timelines. This creates stress and a feeling of striving to obtain the unachievable. It’s no surprise then that instead of succeeding, we fail. Long-lasting and meaningful change happens over time.

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I encourage you to set intentions, versus resolutions. An intention is very different from a resolution in that an intention is something we cultivate over time. An intention grows with attention, patience, and wise effort. A resolution often has a specific result and is time-oriented.

Resolution Example: I am resolved to do a headstand in the next two months.

Intention Example: My intention is to cultivate my headstand by trying it each time I practice. I know that by aligning my actions with this intention, I will be more diligent in attracting headstand into my practice.

Another aspect where we tend to go wrong is in the area of clarity. Have we set our goals for ourselves because we really and truly want them? Or because everybody else is doing it? We have to get really clear on that and set intentions that align with our most authentic desires. Change can only happen if it’s attempted with regular practice in combination with non-attachment to the results. When practice is done for a long time and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation. Intentions can only be achieved if you work at them little by little, every day, over time, and with continued effort.

It’s inevitable that we’ll have days when we fall off the wagon and when we do, it’s important to practice kindness and gentleness towards yourself. Ask yourself, “How can I be kind and gentle with myself as I show up for myself today?” Once that intention is in place, go at it little by little. Integrate new habits one at a time and be patient with yourself. Change is possible – we just can’t be attached to it.

When you’re setting your intentions, get clear on exactly what it is you want. As I often say, what we want – wants us too! What is it you’d like to invite into your life? Be specific. When we are specific and committed to what we want – it’s more likely that it will manifest. Allow yourself to move in the direction of your vision and adjust your life to live in alignment with your vision. Are you having relationships, doing work, and spending time doing things that activate more love, peace, and joy in your life? If you do that, then you are living more authentically and intentionally. Live an intentional life. Live life on purpose.

Most importantly, remember that in order to grow in your life, you must create space for it. In Baptiste Yoga, we call this, “Give up what you MUST.” By giving up what you must, you create space for being the greatest version of yourself. For example, if you are cultivating more patience in your life, then you must start to let go of impatience. By letting go of a certain way of being, a pattern in your life, or habits – you can manifest something different.

What do you want to let go of from 2019?

What do you want to bring in, in 2020?

When you imagine yourself reaching your intentions, what does your life look like?

May your new year be filled with peace, love, light, and blessings.

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