The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: What’s Your Intention?

Setting an intention can be a great way to start a new year.

Medically reviewed in July 2022

We often start a new year with a specific goal, or resolution, in mind. It's the perfect time to change course. But when we set resolutions, we rarely consider our motivation for change. Making a resolution in this way is like trying to reach a new destination without directions.

Instead of starting this year with a resolution, try setting an intention.

Setting an intention requires you to look deeper than a resolution, which often focuses on external change. Think of your intention as your North Star, helping you navigate the waves of the coming year. It’s a word or phrase that sets your course. It’s a beacon when you’ve lost your way.

Find true north
According to Jennie Lee, author of True Yoga and Breathing Love, your focus should be on the positive instead of a reaction to your perceived faults. “Humans are motivated by praise and encouragement,” says Lee. “So consider the ways in which you have succeeded that you would like to continue expanding. Personal passions and sense of purpose are great guides to where we should be directing our energy.”

When you’re setting your intention this year, consider:

  • What’s good in your life that you would like to foster more of?
  • If you want to create change in your life, what’s your motivation?
  • What inspires you and keeps you coming back?

Your intention aligns with your purpose; it’s not something to accomplish. If you haven’t thought about your purpose, consider your gifts and strengths. What are you good at that you love doing? Set your intention with this answer in mind.

Stay the course
Lee says setting an intention is just the beginning. It’s important to take consistent daily action. “Intentions alone are passive,” says Lee. “To come alive, they require that we push strong clear thought energy into them through visualizations, affirmations and movement in the direction of change.”

Consider how your intention could potentially ripple out to all the layers of your life—physically, mentally and even externally in your relationships. To stay on course, write out your intention and put it someplace you’ll see it daily, like on your wall or as the background on your smartphone.

And don’t forget to approach your intention with self-love and kindness. “Love is the greatest motivator of focused thought, as we have all experienced in the early stages of falling in love,” says Lee. “When we bring sustained love energy to an intention, then it’s sure to manifest.”

This content originally appeared on Island Scene.

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