As the school year unfolds, many opportunities present themselves as a chance to think about intention.
A legitimate intention, one that you take seriously, is both enticing and attainable. When you set yourself on an intention, you are taking into account the larger picture of who you want to be and the steps necessary to get there. Intentions are authentic desires, high ideals rooted in what matters most to you. This process compels you to make a commitment to align your actions with your inner values. This is not just about going through the motions of changing behavior for the sake of change. The anticipation of the good and worthwhile feeling we believe will come from honestly working toward something makes an actual improvement in our lives possible. By setting intentions, we get to the source of what we truly want. Because intentions are not oriented toward a future outcome, it becomes more deeper and more profound than meeting a goal. Living with intention is a path, a practice, a responsibility, and an indication of character.
Here are a few things to consider when you decide to create an intention.
Make your “to-do” list a list of intentions, not a list of wants and needs.
Ask yourself: Are these focused, realistic, positive, and healthy intentions? What I am doing to align myself with these intentions? And be honest with yourself about your motivations behind the intention. If the process that leads you to bring the intention to life does not feel right to you, you might consider coming up with a new intention.
Align Yourself with Positive Opportunities.
Positive opportunities allow you to move toward your intentions, goals, and passions. Spend time with positive people who share similar goals and that in turn will help facilitate your achievement of your intentions. Tap into the will of the people who want to work toward the same sorts of intentions you have.
Clear out the Old.
Clear out old habits, behaviors, and patterns of thinking. This is a critical step in setting new intentions. This is a perfect time to let go and declutter your life to facilitate change. What negative thoughts are you ready to do away with? What patterns of thinking interfere with your progress and growth? Think of clearing your mind of the old mental blocks and obstacles as streamlining your life. You only want to keep what fits with your intentions, goals, and passions.
Gratitude is often left out of the process of deciding on an intention but it is a key component. Being kind, thankful, and appreciative of the opportunities you have to make today, tomorrow and the rest of this year better for you and those around you will allow you to move towards your intention with a clear mind and conscience.
You are responsible for yourself and the energy you bring into any environment. Be accountable for yourself and your actions. Contemplate the areas that you do well with and examine the areas of your life that you need to improve. Wishes may come easily, but intentions only come through work.
Kent Keith wrote the The Paradoxical Commandments in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders. Since then, the Paradoxical Commandments have circled the globe. They have been put on walls and refrigerator doors, featured in speeches and articles, and shared extensively on the web. Mother Teresa thought the Paradoxical Commandments were important enough to put up on the wall of her children's home in Calcutta. These are serious concepts that may inspire you to enter this new calendar year going forward living with intention.
However, there is one thing you might want to think about today that ties into the practice of living with intention: what will you do today that will make you proud in a year? Plant the seed of the intention today and see what grows in the coming year.