At this time of year, when the cold and the dark send us indoors, it’s a natural time for reflecting. Just like our gardens are resting, and letting go of fruits and leaves, we can let go of things we don’t need to carry into the New Year. It might be worn out clothes, or it might be books from long ago, or it might be a project that has lost it’s appeal. The author, Marie Kondo, recommends that we acknowledge the service of these things, and thank them, before we let them go. Then we proceed with more space for projects and ideas that are fresh and compelling.

Intentions are different from goals. Both are valuable. An intention is an attitude or state of mind that you develop, like kindness, or patience, or willingness. Cultivating intention doesn’t mean giving up goals, but cultivating intention means you don’t define yourself through achieving goals. Of course sometimes things will go well, and sometimes not so well, yet your internal experience of intention can grow in any circumstance.

I’ve started a morning practice before I get out of bed. I put my hand over my heart, and think about how I want to feel during the day. Of course I have some goals, but I’m not in control of the way things work out, but I can intend an attitude.  So I chose joy and feeling like I’m spending my time wisely. Already today, I started to check the news (my worst habit), and after a moment, asked myself “Do I feel like I’m spending my time wisely?”.  Well, no.  So it was easier than usual to go back to productive actions. I’m straightening up the house and taking care of little details I’ve been putting off, like paying my hypnotherapy license renewal.  When my desk is more clear, it’s easier to take a little time and write. Like this!

Two days ago, I was frustrated that I was putting dishes away instead of planning my yoga class. I caught myself, and asked about my morning intention, which was joy.  It was a 180 degree turn!  I thought “I have dishes! and they’re clean! And I have a warm, clean home, and a refrigerator stocked with food!”.  It made me laugh with gratitude, and I felt joyful, indeed.

I’ve been practicing intentional intentions since January 1, and I like it.  I’m easier on myself and I’m enjoying life more.