With the New Year comes the dreaded idea of New Year’s Resolutions. We say we’re going to do something for when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, we make some sort of unattainable goal for ourselves, and then we forget about it by the time January 31st rolls around. In yoga, we’re all about setting intentions, not resolutions. You might be thinking, “well, what is the difference?”—let’s explore this idea and provide you with a few suggestions on how to set intentions in 2021.
An Intention Versus A Resolution
According to the dictionary, a “resolution” is defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something” and also “the quality of being determined or resolute.” Resolutions—are firm, they’re final. In contrast, an “intention” is defined as “a thing intended; an aim or plan” and further, “the action or fact of intending”. As it seems—with the resolution being the hard and fast finite rule you’ve set for yourself, the intention is the intended plan that you have loosely set for the upcoming year.
For example, your resolution might be to lose at least 10 pounds in 2021 whereas your intention might simply be to respect your body better by making healthier life choices. Especially in today’s world, we hold ourselves to these expectations and idealizations of things we think we need to be without first thinking about our own mental and physical health. In the case of the losing 10 pounds goal in 2021—you haven’t factored in the plethora of unexpected occurrences that could factor into this goal both positive and negative, and you’re failing to live in the here and now. By setting intentions, we’re choosing to live in the moment.
Setting Intentions, Not Resolutions This Year
You might be thinking, “how can I possibly begin to set intentions for myself?” You’re right, setting intentions is not an easy task. Here are a few things I recommend to help you with knowing what you need in 2021.
Start a Journal
This one is one I need to also work on this year. In order to see things clearly, sometimes we need to get a pen to paper. Through journaling, we can reflect on areas of our lives both good and bad. We can think about what inspires and motivates us while also looking at what makes us angry, stressed, or sad.
When we provide our minds with a 360 view of how we’re feeling, we can begin to identify areas of opportunity. Maybe you journaled about a time you were stressed at work. In this scenario, maybe your intention is to find ways to practice better self-care. Or perhaps, you’ve decided that you’re going to finally use your voice in 2021. Whereas before you didn’t always tell others with information about how situations made you feel. There’s nothing like a fresh piece of paper to get things started. Make a special trip to the store to find yourself something pretty or motivating that helps keep you going.
Meditation and the Yoga Practice
When our minds are healthy and clean, we’re free from samskaras that are impacting us. Yoga and meditation help with clearing the mind and allowing us to see clearly. Even if you don’t have the time to take on a full practice each day, try spending just 10-15 minutes in the morning or before bed focusing on your mind.
We cannot feel our best when both the mind and body are not well taken care of. Yoga is a great way to practice self-care both physically and mentally—but it isn’t always a daily practice. It is, however, important to be sure to make self-care a daily practice. Self-care comes in many forms from living healthy through eating and physical habits to visiting a therapist and even doing something for yourself like taking a walk, bath, or finding some retail therapy. Make self-care part of your routine in 2021 to be sure that you’re able to live your best life.
New Year, Same You
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and set those intentions to be the best version of yourself. You might see those “New Year, New You” mantras out there but the truth is, you’re perfect just the way you are. You don’t have to change who you are, you’re simply finding a drishti to help with living in the here and now. Happy New Year, friends looking forward to seeing you on the mat soon!