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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Set Intentions Instead of Resolutions: In 2017, why not focus on one's life journey instead of the destination, says Julie Lemerond of A Mindfulness Life Center.

Jan 04, 2017 10:44PM ● By Julie Lemerond

Taking inventory of our life is important to do from time to time, but it’s especially fruitful during the passing into the new year. We have a blank slate upon which we can create what is to come. Setting New Year’s Resolutions can make us feel like our new year is off to a good start, but there’s a reason that they often end up losing their momentum shortly after the first. Instead, choose to create a New Year’s Intention, which is a beautiful practice that can have long-lasting effects on our future.

A goal is something to look forward to with an end result or something that can reap the success of achievement or the despair of failure. Losing 10 pounds, making a million dollars and taking a trip. If we only lose five pounds, only make half a million dollars and the only trip we take is to grandmother’s house on the other side of town, we have not succeeded in our goals. 

Intentions, however, are defined by the journey, not the destination. We can make an intention to lose weight, to become more financially abundant or to travel. With these intentions in our back pocket, losing five pounds, making half a million dollars and taking a trip to the other side of town can all be enjoyable aspects of this journey of our life, without the added pressure of needing to accomplish a specific goal.

It’s not that goals are bad, because they can be very useful in many life circumstances. The tenacity to train for a marathon or prepare for a big test is often easier to adhere to when we set goals for ourselves. But New Year’s Resolutions often involve specific goals, which is why so many of them fail. New Year’s Intentions are a gentler, kinder way to move forward in life, and allow more room for opportunity to appear and for us to be available to receive it.

Intentions can be just a simple word (peace, abundance, love, gratitude, etc.) or perhaps a personal mantra that you can use to remind ourselves of our intention in any situation that comes to you (“I’m ready, Thank you, Calm and Steady,” etc.). Here’s how to create a resonating intention this new year.

Get Still and Listen: We simply can’t hear what our heart is telling us without giving it the time and space to talk to us. Create a little ceremony around this by making a sacred space for ourselves to sit quietly with time to reflect and ponder. Placing our hand on our heart, we can ask it to tell us what it wants us to hear. Our inner being knows what we need, and will show it to us if we make the time to listen.

Write it Down: If we are having a hard time figuring out exactly what we’d like our intention for 2017 to be, set a timer for 20 minutes and just sit with pen in hand. Freely write aspects of our life that we want more of and want less of; things that you enjoy; things we would like to explore and are curious about, etc. Then go back through the writing and circle the words that resonate the most and write those down separately. Continue digging through what we have written until we find something that feels right in our heart. Once we’ve found it, write it down or create a place to keep that intention, so that we see it every day and keep it in the forefront of our mind as we continue on throughout the year and the journey of life.

Julie LemerondJulie Lemerond is the general manager at A Mindfulness Life Center, in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-207-6016 or visit

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