I love New Years. I love late winter / early spring. I love Mondays. I love early mornings. I love the feeling of a blank page, possibility, and a fresh start. I love setting intentions and beginning again.
As much as I love setting intentions and truly believe in the practice of intention-setting with my whole heart, I also know that this practice can be problematic when it's done in certain ways. It can trigger the parts of us that tend towards endless self-improvement, self-criticism, restriction, and self-punishment. These parts in me are strong, and I know them well.
Here are the questions I ask myself when I set intentions so that I don't fall into my old patterns:
Is my intention coming from duty, discipline, or devotion? If it's coming from a sense of duty or discipline, it might last for a minute, but I know it ultimately won't feel good. Devotion is the way.
Is my intention rooted in the knowing that I am already whole and complete, or from a desire to be better/more/different? If it's coming from a desire to “improve” I know there is a twinge of self-critisicm in there. Self-compassion is the way.
Does my intention allow for my actions to change based on what is needed in the moment? If I am oriented around strict rules (for example, “I will go to spin class from 7-8am every morning Monday - Friday") I will have to over-ride my inner wisdom at some point if I am committed to keeping up with this plan. If I am oriented in a different way, (for example, "I will spend at least 5 minutes every day tending to the temple of my body) there is more space to listen to my inner wisdom and attune to what is needed in the moment. Attunement is the way.
p.s. I would love to practice yoga with you! Check out my free practice bundles HERE.