Don’t set goals for 2013. Just don’t do it. At best, you’ll achieve them. At worst, you’ll fail miserably. But you’ll likely land somewhere in between… and feel a middling sense of accomplishment, mixed with a touch of regret at what was left undone. Even if you do succeed at shedding some extra weight or getting a promotion at work, what happens once you’re done? Once that hurdle is cleared, what propels you forward? An emphasis on the outcome, on attaining a concrete objective, can certainly be useful in some instances—but it’s no way to build a life.
We live life one moment at a time and in each moment have the opportunity to be present to ourselves and those around us in whatever way we choose. Intentionally and purposefully.
The practice of setting an intention may be familiar to the yogis in the house. In many classes, instructors will offer an opportunity for students to set an intention for their time on the mat. Setting an intention involves remaining focused on in-the-moment ways of being, rather than future-oriented outcomes. If you can objectively succeed or fail, you have set a goal. Instead of focusing on the “what?” or “how many?”, an intention focuses on the “how?” and “with what kind of energy?” am I going to show up for certain people, activities, or responsibilities.
It’s the difference between the statements: “I will lose 20 lbs by March 15th” and “I will choose healthful foods that nourish my body and make me feel alive”.
Sure, there may be times we choose to eat a plate of fries that are neither “healthful” nor do they make us “feel good”, and this may sound (and feel) a lot like a mini failure. But if the sense of failure is a here-and-now experience, chances are there’s a here-and-now alternative to feeling disappointed in yourself. It’s likely that it is not so much a failure as it is an intuitive sense that there was a better choice and we didn’t make it. And that’s okay! If an intention is a way to be present to our lives and choices with a certain awareness, there’s always an opportunity around the corner to be in our lives differently.
Set an intention to be in your life in the ways you want to be. No numbers, no hours per week, no goals at all. Choose how you want to show up—each and every moment of 2013.
tags: inspiration mindfulness