Making Your Resolutions a Reality!

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In January it's traditional to make New Year's resolutions. You plan to go to the gym, get into great physical shape, earn more money, improve a troubled relationship, or get along better with your family members.

But you suspect that in a few days or weeks you'll get tired of making the effort and your good intentions will disappear. Maybe you worry about how much effort and work is involved, or you think it isn't possible to have these things. Just like last year, you'll slip back into your old patterns. Would you like to improve your chances of making your resolutions stick?

There is a fun and easy way to begin to create your ideal life with little effort on your part. It's called intention.

What is intention?

Intention means knowing what you want and directing your actions toward an outcome. You might want your life to be more peaceful and harmonious. Or you might crave adventure and discovery. You can make intentions for your life as a whole, and also for any situation, relationship, or time period. Maybe you want to create more connection and trust with someone you love. Or maybe, during meetings at work, you want support and effectiveness.

Why Create Intentions?

Creating intentions takes only a few minutes out of a day, yet it is a powerful tool you can use to set your resolutions in motion. Instead of forcing yourself to follow your self-improvement plan or worrying about how you're going to accomplish things, creating intentions removes effort and worry from the process. When you decide what you really want in your life and begin to follow a few simple steps, the things you want start to happen.

How Do You Create an Intention?

Decide what qualities you want in a situation and then write your intention down. Use positive language and present tense. Here are some examples: "I intend to be healthy and fit," or "I intend to create a relationship of, connecting and having fun with my sister."

You can create intentions to help you keep your resolutions about your health, your appearance, your job or finances, your possessions, your relationships, or anything else. Don't write an intention about what you don't want or use destructive or defeating language. Avoid sentences like, "I don't want to get sick." Notice that intentions are expressed as values, or qualities of life.

If you know what you want to experience in some area of your life but aren't sure how to get there, you can create your values-based intention and just leave it at that. That intention will be set in motion and you are now open to opportunities for that intention to happen.

What's the Difference Between an Intention and a Strategy?

An intention expresses the values or qualities you want to experience, while a strategy points to a specific person, action, and time to accomplish something. For example, strategies for creating more connection and fun with your sister might look like this: "Every time I see my sister, I'm going to tell her something that I enjoy about her," or, "I'm going to make a regular lunch date with my sister."

If there are specific strategies, or actions, that you know will support your intention, write them down. For example, a few months ago I wrote my intention for health and fitness, and I added these strategies: "I am the perfect weight for optimal health," "I choose the exact right food to provide everything that I need," and "Every day I will exercise in ways that I enjoy."

I read my intention and strategies for my resolution every day, and something strange happened; I lost a few pounds without trying. Shopping for food and ordering in restaurants no longer brought up anxiety. I just knew what to buy and order. I'd find myself going out for an energetic walk in the evening when I used to be napping. Every day I found some way to exercise, even if it was only a 10-minute yoga break. The best thing is that I stopped forcing myself to eat a certain way or follow a strict exercise regimen. I just did it.

Can Intentions Improve Your Relationships?

Yes! Decide what qualities you'd most like to have with a person and write them down.

You can even create intentions about people who have never heard of "intention," or people who you're experiencing conflict with. You might want to include qualities that are missing for you, such as cooperation. An example might be, "I intend to create a relationship of consideration, trust, and honesty with Ron." You might notice that you start being more considerate and honest with him. You might find yourself telling him that you would like more honesty in your relationship.

Intentions work great when you create them with others. When my husband and I were planning our wedding I noticed that we started to get anxious about making decisions. I asked him what he would like to experience during the planning, and he said "ease." Together we came up with three qualities we wanted: ease, fun and harmony. After that, whenever things would get tense, we'd remind each other of our intention. It paved the way for a stress-free experience.

How Can You Make Your Intentions More Powerful?

What you focus your attention on grows, so if you spend a few minutes every day reading your intentions for your resolution out loud, they are more likely to happen. A good time might be in the morning before you get started with your day.

The more often you read your intentions, the more powerful they are. Some people form groups where they meet once a week or once a month and read their intentions out loud. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, such as "This will never work," or "I'll never be able to have what I want," remind yourself gently to focus on what you do want.

Do intentions really help you make your resolutions a reality? Try them out and see! Pick a few areas of your life that you would like to see some changes in, and write down the qualities you want to experience, beginning with the words, "I intend.."

Make sure you express what you want in positive language and the present tense. If you have some strategies that would help you to realize your intention, write them down too. Every day, take a few minutes to read your intentions out loud. Then notice what starts to change in your life.

If you're ready to improve your chances of making your resolutions stick, sign up for our thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series. Each tip offers unique self-help skills and personal growth techniques to help you focus on the things that are most important to you. Sign up today!

And for more great relationship tips, visit our blog:

Remember, the shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice.

Published by Beth Banning and Neill Gibson, founders of Focused Attention. Our mission is to provide very effective self help and personal development tools, and the skills to use them well. Our passion is to help you build a strong foundation for deeply satisfying relationships in all areas of your life.

Discover why over 80% of our clients say our courses are extremely effective for building self acceptance, self esteem, and self confidence. Learn how to reduce the stress of difficult conversations and problem situations, and accelerate your personal growth and ability to succeed at the same time.

For more information, to sign up for our eZine or enroll in our free thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series at:
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(c) 2006, Focused Attention, Inc.

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