setting intentions

It’s been a number of years since I abandoned the traditional American idea of the New Year’s resolution. All too often this idea of “to do or not to do” is tied up in things that are unrealistically ambitious for the person making the resolution – lose 25 pounds, get a better job, quit smoking, etc. etc. It’s no wonder that the average resolution-making person is shrouded in failure (or amnesia) by mid-February. Not only is the novelty of the fresh start all but gone, but our expectations were mis-managed from the very beginning. Being the impulsive, instant-gratification loving folk that we are, what happens when we’re still 25 pounds over-weight come February? What if we’re still kissing the ass of our shitty boss and taking 5 smoke breaks a day? We give up, we forget, we push those resolutions to the way, way, way back porch of our consciousness. So I stopped making resolutions and started making goals. Every S.M.A.R.T. businessperson knows what elements make a good goal – it must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and have a time frame. I believe in this system, actually, and I think it has a real place in the academic and business worlds that many of us are a part of. Sometimes I do still make goals as part of my ringing in the new year routine, but they aren’t really at the heart of how and why I celebrate my annual fresh start. For me the new year is a time when I really spend some time reflecting on myself, how I’ve grown in the past year, what events shaped me the most and how I can use that information to continue down a path of self-improvement. The goal is always the same – to see myself as a better person one year from now than I see myself today (the most important distinction here is that I’ve shifted my focus from how others see me to how I see me).

In order to do this I first banish anything perceived as stress-inducing. Resolutions and goals be damned. Instead I work on what many people in yogi circles refer to as setting intentions. Setting an intention is to tell ourselves that we will do something and then to put action to it. It’s different than simply having an intention. How does an intention differ from a resolution or a goal you ask? Well I’m no Webster, but I believe that a resolution is something that stems from our brains (and the media) telling us what we are supposed to look like, behave like and be like. An intention, on the other hand, comes from the heart. It’s the result of an authentic assessment of one’s self. Am I happy? Do I make other people happy? Am I loved? Do I love? Am I living passionately? From here I am often able to quickly and easily identify a path to betterment.

So what intentions am I setting for 2015? I thought you’d never ask! I’ve already set the intention to intensify my yoga practice. Yoga has been a focus of mine for the last two years, although months will go by that I don’t even find myself in lotus pose on the carpet, much less on a rolled out yoga mat. Still, the intention was there and still is today, however I am acting more fiercely now than ever before. On the flip side, I think it’s healthy to let go of intentions as well. I’ve completely let go of developing a meditation practice – while I honor its immense benefits for the millions of people who hold this practice dear, it’s not something I’m currently willing to commit to. And that’s okay.

My other intention is to carve out the time I need to write more regularly on my blog. Writing is something I truly enjoy – it also answers the questions of whether or not I am happy and if I make others happy in the affirmative. I have received a great deal of praise from my readers over the past couple of years, yet unfortunately since I deactivated from Facebook in July I assumed no one was reading if I wasn’t able to share my posts that way. The truth is my passion for writing is tied closely to the validation I get from other people reading my material. So I’m going to get down to business in 2015, figure out how this whole WordPress thing works a little bit better and give my readers what I hope is an improved experience. Maybe some pictures, eh? The first improvement you’ll notice is a little “Follow Marissa” option on the right sidebar so you can receive email notifications when I do post some fresh material. I’ve toyed with the idea of having a Facebook page dedicated just to my blog as well, but for now I’m relying on those of you still on the most popular social media platform in the universe to spread the word for me. If you enjoy my ruminations on the ups, downs and road rage cycles of marriage, friendship, parenthood, self-awareness, spirituality, the world, life, etc. then I encourage you to follow me and to share my bullshit on whatever social media platform you happen to be on. Maybe one day someone will pay to read this bullshit and help me with my intention of operating out of a cabana in Costa Rica.

Much love and prosperity in 2015!!

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