Written by: Astrid Vegas
Changing aspects of our life is work; there’s no getting past that. But we don’t make changes because they’re easy, we make changes to improve ourselves; our mental or physical health, our relationships with others, our capacity to carry the burden of our existence (or something).
If you attend some of our yoga sessions you may be familiar with SJ asking us to ‘set an intention’ for class. This is a common practice in yoga, allowing the practitioner to focus on what we want to take from the session; being present, releasing emotions or practicing self-love for example.
Setting an intention is somewhat easier than setting resolutions for the new year – intentions are processed over a limited period of time and are largely internal; we don’t announce our intentions to the rest of the class nor are we judged if our intentions don’t pan out. With 90% of new year’s resolutions failing, we are taking on the idea of intentions to enact change in 2024 instead. But how can we make these more effective than a resolution? We reckon we have some answers for you.
When setting an intention, try:
- Keeping it simple and be clear about what you want to do,
- Checking you have, or can get, the resources to see it through, and
- Personalising your process
Keep it Simple and be Clear
This is pretty self-explanatory. You have to be clear about what it is you want to achieve in order to achieve it. Do you want to drink more water? Sign up for a specific type of class? Become more emotionally honest? Learn how to do something? If your intention isn’t clear to you, maybe it’s not yet time to undertake it. And that’s OK.
Check Your Resources
Seeing your intentions through requires resources, including money or materials. In 2024 I’d love to do more boxing practice using a bag. In reality, even though sales are on, I can’t afford the equipment. So, I may have to keep that intention in my back pocket. When setting intentions do some research so you can ask yourself ’Is this doable now or should I wait for when it is’? If money is an issue, you can also ask friends or neighbourhood groups if there is somewhere you can borrow what you need. Setting an intention won’t do much for anyone’s self-worth if the goal is already unobtainable.
Personalising Your Process
I have a friend, let’s call her Mabina, who works in a movement studio. Mabina is very busy and doesn’t drink enough water, resulting in dehydration and consequences from that including headaches. Being a trainer, my mate Mabina responds to timers. She even recommends them to others. Knowing this, a timed reminder on her phone could prompt her to drink some water, say once every hour, until that becomes second nature. Timers can be set to vibrate while you’re at work, meaning co-workers are less likely to get surly at you.
Another person might respond to brightly coloured water bottles about the house, or one of those water bottles that indicates how much water you’ve drunk and how much you need to drink to keep your body hydrated. I drink loads of water and having to fill up my water bottle constantly annoys me when trying to work. To combat this, I pre-fill water bottles and place them in the fridge. I try to be consistent so the water prep becomes part of my daily practice. And it’s pretty effective in saving me time, with a carry-over that I always have cold water to take my anxiety meds in the morning, allowing me to get other stuff done with the reduced likelihood of panic attacks. No matter what your intention, you can harness your self-knowledge to make it a reality.
Lastly; we know you can have all the tools in the world, set some appropriate intentions and still not get there. Things happen. Relationships breakdown, financial surety isn’t a given and you shouldn’t feel bad if your intention does not turn into a result. You intended to, you couldn’t right now, but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Your intention can be applied at any time, even if the particulars change.
We wish you good luck with wherever your intentions for 2024 take you. As always Alternative Movement Studio will do what we can to support those intentions. If you want to tell us about them that is. You don’t have to but.