Do you look forward to making positive changes at the beginning of each new year?
A couple of years ago, I thought I would make a new start. I wrote down my resolutions and a goal plan. But after a few months, my plans were forgotten for I seemed to be unable to sustain the level of attention required. Of course, I felt like I failed. Does this happen to you? If so, you’re not alone.
Statistics of New Year’s Resolutions
Roughly 45 percent of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only eight percent of them will achieve success.
For Americans in their 20s, only 30 percent will be successful and achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Americans over age 50, come in at a low 19 percent success rate according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology.
These statistics do not designate figures for Americans who have vision loss or blindness. I am curious about how we rank.
Set Your Intentions
My attitude about New Year’s resolutions shifted significantly a few years ago because I began learning more about a different way of thinking. I no longer make a detailed goal plan. Instead, I set my intentions.
In my weekly yoga class at the local senior center, we begin our session by “setting our intention.” We pause, close our eyes, and quietly think for a minute on something we choose to focus on. Yesterday, when the group did this I thought silently, “Today, I intend to have a peaceful, loving heart. I intend to keep a calm heart during this yoga session so I can take tranquility home with me.” During our class, I kept thinking about my intention. Relaxation and a feeling of peacefulness remained with me as I left the group to continue on with my day.
My first encounter with this idea of setting intentions came when I read a best-selling book by Deepak Chopra, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.” This small book was a gift I received in 1995 from a friend. However, I did not read the book for a few years.
Eventually I opened the book, began reading, and started on a path to some new adventures that taught me how to be more thoughtful about reaching desired results in my personal and professional life. I learned about intentions.
When I lost most of my eyesight in 2007, that knowledge was a game changer for my recovery.
“How did this help?” you ask.
Once I began to recover from the shock of sudden, profound vision loss, I began to write out intentions that gave me encouragement and the tenacity I needed to learn how to live a new life.
I wanted to accept the limitations, so I could begin to heal; yet, I longed to be the outgoing and productive person I had been prior to my vision loss. I admit, I am a Type A, high-achiever. But vision loss was a hard blow, and I had to find a way to overcome my anger and frustrations.
Instead of complaining, I listed all the little things I could not do. I wrote down that I “intended” to do them. I turned my wants into intentions in this way.
One by one, I wrote my desired outcomes into the form of intentions:
- I intend to learn how to use a computer again.
- I intend to knit again. I want to knit sweaters for charity as I have done in the past.
- I intend to be able to take a walk all by myself.
- I intend to write stories & poems.
- I intend to have my stories & poems published in wonderful magazines and books.
- I intend to write a new book and get it published this year.
- I intend to do book signing events and public speaking engagements.
- I intend to make art and have my work in museum exhibitions again.
- I intend to write my two blogs.
- I intend to walk in love and peacefulness.
- I intend to help others who I encounter on my path of life.
Now, I know that your list of intentions may be completely different than mine. What will you write down as your intentions for the New Year?
When I wrote my intentions down, I gave my deepest desires wings.
We send them off like an empty ship leaving the shore and moving out into the ocean. Soon they are out of sight. But, at the appropriate time, they will return to us bearing treasure.
Positive Aspects of Setting Intentions
- Anyone can do it. No age limits and no ability specifications needed!
- Setting intentions eliminates the complex business system of charting out a rigid goal plan or striving for unobtainable goals because you have to run your life like it’s a business plan. The moment you take your eyes off the goals, you have failed to attain them. All the work is on you. I lived like this for years in my role as an administrator and again as a professor. There is a better way.
- Writing intentions down and viewing them as if they already exist brings a feeling of being thankful for everything you have. Writing them down gives them energy and you are releasing them.
- Intentions can be anything you want in your personal or professional life. Be sure what you want brings happiness to you and everyone in your life.
- Keep your intentions private. No need to share them.