intention (noun): a determination to act in a specific way; a resolve
The closing of a year is bittersweet. It may be just another day, but it is one that refocuses vision; a day that reminds us of the passage of time and guides us to contemplation. What made this year beautiful? Disappointing? What are you proud of? What surprises did it hold? And what have you learned that you can carry to the next year?
A New Year = a new opportunity. And there is undeniable promise in that.
Every possibility starts with a thought, an intention. And it's exciting to start that process... setting forth the right intentions that can carry us from day to day, week to week, month to month. Yet so many of us, despite our passionate January resolutions, don't even remember those thoughts a few months later. And that is not a reflection of insincerity.
Whether intentions are to eat better, work out more, deal with stress in a healthier way, be more assertive at work, spend more time with people we love... when our actual environment doesn't change, it can be difficult to even remain conscious of these goals. You are simply carried to the next moment via routine... and often, that routine is an old habit you meant to break! However, "Implementation Intentions" can turn goals to a new 'normal.'
Implementation Intentions are simply "if-then plans." If I experience situation A, then I will respond with plan B. Through meditative thought, we can create scenarios, determine how we will respond (in the most positive, constructive ways) and then live that actual behavior when the situation arises. From making better food choices, to keeping our cool in a critical situation, we stay on track. Psychological studies have shown (time and time again!) that forming "if- then" plans allows us to stay on track with goal directed behaviors. Instead of forgetting our intentions in the heat of the moment, our goals remain immediate and no longer need that conscious intent. It's so simple, yet effective. Just envision it!
It's nothing short of inspirational to realize that every great change begins with a simple thought... an intention. And that by simply envisioning that intention in action − through a variety of possible scenarios − we can greatly increase the odds of transforming it to reality. We really do have the power − and the imagination − to make it happen.
I wish you all joy, laughter, and intentions... may all your intentions inspire and excite you as they carry you through the New Year. Happy 2015!