As 2019 comes to a close, I’ve been spending some time reflecting on my year and looking ahead to 2020. Something I started doing a few years ago was setting intentions each new year. I’m not really interested in making resolutions, but I do like to have some affirmations to guide my goal-setting for the year.
According to Oxford dictionary, an intention is “a thing intended” or “an aim or plan”. I think the idea of setting intentions was introduced to me through yoga. Often, a yoga instructor will guide participants to choose an intention to focus on during their practice. Often, intentions are simply an “I am…” statement. (Such as: I am calm, I am focused, I am energized.) Somehow, over the last few years, I’ve made intentions not just a part of my yoga practice, but a part of my life. I thought some of you might be interested in setting intentions too, so I’ll share a bit about setting mine and share some intentions I’ll be working with in 2020.
When I set my intentions for the year, I simply pick a few areas I’d like to focus on and come up with an “I am…” phrase for each one. I write the intentions down and I repeat and reread them often throughout the year. It’s probably not a coincidence that I typically review my intentions as part of my yoga practice on my mat in the mornings.
Of course, intention is important, but so is action. Often, I have more specific goals related to my intentions. The most important thing is acting on the intentions. I have to choose to do the things each day or each week that make them true.
For example, one of my intentions for 2019 that I will be keeping for 2020 is I am fit. It’s great to say it, think it and write it down, but I actually have to do something about it. For me, this intention is about wellness. When I take care of myself mentally and physically, I am a better educator and a better person. I’ve tried lots of different things over the years: working out with a personal trainer, going to the gym on my own, walking, horseback riding, lifting weights, yoga and a few brief, unsuccessful (and horrible) attempts at running. Right now, what works for me is a combination of yoga practices and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts, in addition to my horseback riding hobby. For this intention, I set goals for how many times each week I want to workout and practice yoga and then I do my best to stick to it. I know myself pretty well and I’ve learned to take time first thing in the morning for this… otherwise I’m too easily swept away by other jobs and activities and then feel too worn out to tackle exercise later in the day. So, by getting up most mornings and heading to my basement to do yoga or work out, I act on the intention of I am fit.
I usually set 3-4 broad intentions for the year and then write down some specific goals related to my intentions. I revisit my intentions daily. I re-read my goals periodically and literally like to “check them off” when I meet them. I revise and add intentions or goals throughout the year if I want to. I like that my intention-setting “process” keeps me thinking about who I want to be, how I want to feel and what I hope to accomplish for the year.
Two more of my intentions for 2020 are I am grateful and I am an excellent educator. As I think more about the upcoming year, I’ll be sharing about my intentions on the KG Education Facebook page if you want to follow along.
If you’re interested in setting intentions, grab a notebook and jot some down for 2020. If you’d like to share your intentions with us, drop a comment or send us a DM .
Here’s to an incredible year in 2020!