“I made three new year’s resolutions and already broke two of them,” said ten-year-old Ella Rae on January 2. Having already failed her mission on two fronts, she gave up all of her new directions and resumed her former habits.
What if instead of failure, we could set ourselves up for success in each new year? Instead of firm statements of strong resolve, why not reframe our list as “intentions” that lead us gently towards our success in the bigger picture? We could reset our list of self- improvements as intentions that remain on our horizon at all times. Some of us feel sheer terror at the idea of the types of goals the big-name success leaders advocate, with set numbers, dates, and systems. Maybe we do not seek quantitative measurements of our behavior.
Intentions do not need to be scary. They can stay in our sights daily, even when we miss our target. For every error or backslide, we can renew our intention without feeling we have failed a resolute promise to ourselves. Instead of setting a firm goal like “I will lose 10 pounds in five months by consuming no more than 1 tablespoon of sugar per day and exercising 30 minutes every day,” maybe we can still make gentle progress and achieve a similar result by declaring, “I would like to be healthier by eating some fresh vegetables every day, watching my sugar intake, and walking in the neighborhood when it is sunny and not howling winds.” The latter is an intention, a goal for which we always strive, and often achieve.
Consider the following scenario: “Jaimie pushes the ball forward. Her opponents block her path and she deftly skirts around them. The crowd cheers as she scoots the ball to a teammate and breaks free. Back in the open, she retrieves the ball and kicks it past the goalie into the net. As she resumes her defensive position on the field, she seeks her next opportunity to attain another goal.”
This three-minute microcosm is not unlike whole days or lifetimes as we mature. In her soccer game, Jaimie focuses on the object of that game at that moment, overcoming opponents fixed on preventing her progress, relying on others to assist the achievement of a single task. She is not always running towards a goal, as she has duties to her team in an altered role when they must defend their space.
This is not a rest period or a period of no achievement, just a change in mode. Soon she and her teammates strategize a new way to reach their net and achieve again their overall goal, one point at a time. They never lose sight of the desire to score individual goals that add up towards their bigger picture win.
What happens as we move into adulthood that so many of us lose our focus on our goals? Why do we give up so easily when an opponent blocks our progress or we err and kick the ball away from the target? We spend inordinate amounts of time and energy in the alternate mode, serving others and defending what progress we have made, instead of running forward with our ball.
The ball is our purpose, our overall goal or reason we are here. Each goal is just one marker towards the big win in our lives. What defines a winning game is set by each of us as we approach our life purpose and smaller goals.
Intentions are merely attainable steps en route to our larger achievements, whether they be measurable goals or improvements in ourselves as we reach towards them. Losing a set amount of weight (goal) or aiming to be healthier (intention) are not the reason we are here and are not the big-picture goal, just steps that support our progress towards it.
By setting intentions we can accomplish each year, month, day, or hour, we work towards achieving that which is important and meaningful in our lives.
Let’s dig out our broken resolutions and reframe them as smaller intentions that help us move forward. We can accomplish the little increments of change we need to reach what we are to be and become.
Everyone is invited to the Nederland Area Seniors luncheon at the Nederland Community Center at noon. A donation of $4 is requested from those over 60 years of age and $8.25 all others, but no seniors are turned away due to inability to pay. Please make reservations by 4pm Friday for Monday lunch and 4pm Monday for Wednesday lunch at 303-258-0799.
Monday, January 20: Spinach/Mushroom Quiche w Turkey Sausage, Zucchini, Muffin, Mixed Fruit
Wednesday, January 22: Meatloaf, Corn, Mashed Potatoes w Gravy/Roll, Fruit