“Tucked inside and buried deep, our heart has promises to keep.” This lyric is from the theme song written for our film Showing Up: Dare to Live from Your Heart. Many of us have this experience. There is something we want to express. But a funny thing happens on the journey to self-expression. Responsibilities. Expectations. Demands. All the things that create a life begin to shape it.
So, how do we form a life that reflects our heart’s promises?
January is the month that we often create plans for a “better life.” Researchers tell us that as many as 45% of Americans make resolutions. But only about 8% are successful in achieving their goals.
Most New Year’s resolutions are about what we will do differently. “I will start to exercise three times a week. I will eat less and move more.” Exercise, money and travel are perennial themes. They often reflect an underlying belief. Our life will be better when we are thinner, richer, or … fill in the blank.
• Behavior changes
• Fixing self
• Future based
• Focus on doing
• Image based
Intentions are possibilities that help reveal our core self. They reflect how we want to be. Powerful intentions connect us to our values. We experience them in the present moment.
• Sharpen awareness
• Express core self
• Present moment
• Focus on being
• Values based
Why do most resolutions fade?
Change without a connection to what we value is hard to maintain. We need a compelling reason to keep making early morning drives to the fitness center. Maybe we want to feel energized or aglow with vitality. Successful resolutions have a larger context.
An intention to live with aliveness can lead to working out, losing weight and/or saving money. It might also lead to singing lessons, learning to play the drum, or more travel. Intentions are great clarifiers. They connect us to the bigger story of who we are.
A one-word intention that reflects a desired state of being is powerful. The word we choose becomes a touchstone. We can use it as a guide. We are also more likely to remember a single word and recall it throughout the year.
Facilitating an intention-forming process for decades I have discovered these helpful hints:
• Choose one word
• Write it down
• Keep it visible
• Let it reflect your values
As you form an intention be brave…swing out there. Let your heart speak. You are not a project to be repaired. You are a human being alive to reveal your heart’s promise. What do you want more of in 2023? The answer to this question can be a way to discover your intention.
Is it…Vitality? Courage? Strength? Compassion? Creativity? Aliveness?
Create an intention that has meaning for you. See what goals support that intention. Keep your attention on your intention.
Prepare to be amazed!