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Friday, January 20, 2017

2017: Our Year of Intention


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New Year’s Resolutions are a lot like diets. They don’t work. Often, with the best of intentions, we make pledges to ourselves to make big changes with the desire to live a better, usually healthier, life. The problem is that our resolutions tend to have outcomes that are very different than our stated intention.

There is a lot of buzz out in the world these days about “intention” and living a life with intention. Oprah Winfrey is big on the power and benefits of intention. She runs her companies that way. She attributes her awakening to intention to a book by Gary Zukav she read in 1989 called Seat of the Soul.

What is this thing called Intention? How is it different from purpose? And how does mindfulness fit in? Does attitude play a part in the outcome? How do we figure this out?

Intention is most often described as an outward manifestation of purpose. Purpose is regarded much more as an inward reflection on what is important to us, gets us up and out of bed everyday and allows us to imagine making a difference. Intention is the way we realize our purpose.

The challenge is that intentions don’t automatically have positive outcomes. Remember the famous quote—“The road to hell is paved with good intentions?” Without conscious effort intentions can have very different outcomes than we want, or, in fact, never materialize. This is where mindfulness becomes important. It is the link between our purpose and our intention. Mindfulness helps us shepherd our intentions so their outcomes are what we intend as a direct result of our stated purpose. We have to be actively engaged and present in the process in order to get where we want to go. Having a purpose doesn’t get you anywhere. Having good intentions won’t guarantee an outcome. Mindfulness helps us focus on what is important and how we can then live a life true to our purpose with aligned intention.

Of course, if we have an attitude that is afraid to believe or cynical or negative, how likely are we to achieve our purpose and have the ultimate intentional outcome we desire? Not, likely.

We are complicated beings. What happens in life is not always what we wish. Often we may subconsciously undermine a powerful intention because of underlying feelings our issues we aren’t fully aware we have.  We have control over so much of our lives but we often forfeit that control because of all the twisted layers of our lives. We live our lives more as automatons than as people with powerful purpose realized through true intention. We can change that.

This year can be our year of true intentions.

If a key purpose in my life is to live a healthier lifestyle and help others do the same then it makes sense that each time I start to eat I should be consciously and mindfully asking myself---“Is this supporting or undermining my purpose? By choosing to eat what is in front of me can I honestly say it is supporting my desired intention?”

We wake up every day with good intentions. How can we mindfully help ourselves be true to those intentions more consistently and throughout each day? Through being mindful of our purpose, and asking ourselves whether what we are doing is our true intention. If it isn’t, don’t do it.

Oprah Winfrey has lost 42 pounds and built a success-driven life. We can too!