I mentioned yesterday that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. It was like making a promise to myself that I couldn’t keep. And when I didn’t keep it, I usually berated myself (“loser.”) And what good does that do?
In Christine Kane’s post on making resolutions, she writes about a ritual she started a few years ago; choosing a word (or words) to guide her throughout the year. By choosing a word to guide her throughout the year, Christine put herself right into the BE mode. What a brilliant idea! Christine provides a list of words as possible choices. I’ve narrowed down my words to Gratitude, Acceptance, and Clarity. What I like about this approach is that you can use your word(s) to silence your inner critic and to guide you throughout the year when you hit those rough patches.
Do you have a word or words to guide you throughout this year?
While I don’t make resolutions, I do find goal setting throughout the year to be beneficial. However, setting goals did not come easy for me. I think it is partly due to the fact that I’ve always strolled along in life doing what was expected of me and not giving much thought to what I really wanted. It is hard to sit down and really think about what you want for yourself without it feeling selfish. This also ties in to my being a “giver” and less of a “receiver.” I now realize that by setting goals for myself, I am giving to myself and receiving a personal blessing.
Does that sound strange?
Sometimes, setting goals is easy; it is like listing your favorite foods. The first five or so flow from your pen and you think “piece of cake” and then you hit this wall and you really have to get quiet and think hard. You might have to get up, walk away from the list, and come back at another time. You might think you’re being silly. I want to do what????
Those really big, outrageous goals are also known as Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG; Thanks to Alyson Stanfield for that term.) Those are the goals where you reach for the stars and think of something you’d love to do (and which you may attain someday.)
My BHAG is to take voice lessons, or to at least learn to sing better. I love to sing along with my favorite tunes. My sister-in-law and her family are all talented singers and it is so inspiring. I don’t plan to give a concert. I would like to at least carry a better tune and feel confident with my voice.
Along with setting goals, there is a lot of discussion about intent or setting an intention. Andrea Hess recently discussed the idea of replacing goals with intentions on her blog. I’m not sure I completely agree with this proposition though it is interesting.
I started to learn about intentions last year when reading the Law of Attraction. (I’m having a fuzzy memory about being told to set an intent during catechism and religious studies classes. I’m not remembering, however, any explanation for why we were to do this.) Setting an intent can help you clarify what you want in your day and in your life. It feels positive; something that you want, expect, and deserve.
It may be a matter of semantics, trying to distinguish between a goal and an intent. Goals are much more structured to me with lots of little steps along the way. Intentions are positive statements that feel good and impose less pressure than a goal. Both require thought and quiet time to discover what you really want and need.