If you have ever taken a yoga class or participated in a meditation session, then the instructor or leader may have asked you to set an intention before you began. It is not required, but it is a good idea to set an intention before beginning either of these practices, and it might also be smart to set one at the beginning of each day. With 2020 just beginning, you may want to consider going a step further by setting an intention for the year ahead.
However, you may be wondering what an intention is, and why you should set one. You might be curious about how an intention for the year differs from a resolution or a goal. What does setting an intention have to do with recovery? How do you set one that suits you best? How can setting an intention for the year ahead help you start your year off on the right foot?
Read on to learn the answers to all of these questions. By the end, you will be ready to set an intention for the year ahead of your own.
What Does it Mean to Set an Intention?
When you set an intention in a yoga class, you create a personalized word or phrase to guide you through your practice. In some ways, it is like a mantra; when your mind wanders, you can return to your intention to help you regain lost focus.
An intention of just a single word can be very powerful. Intentions that are just one word include terms like “strength,” “calm,” “focus,” “joy,” “love,” or really any other word that has personal meaning to you.
Sometimes an intention can be a short phrase. In this case, the shorter the phrase the better, as brevity is helpful for dedicated focus, but any phrase that is especially meaningful to you can work well, as long as it sticks with you and you can remember it.
Why Set an Intention?
Intentions are not goals nor resolutions. They are abstract concepts and ideas for you to focus upon during your practice, your day, your week, or even your year. They are words and phrases that could be used to describe a way of life or a way of living. Intentions are usually not something that ends in the reaching of a final destination, but instead are something you will work on continuously. There is no final destination. There is no time when you are finished. Intentions evoke feeling and purpose and are something you desire and wish to feel with your heart and soul as much as with your mind.
How to Set an Intention for 2020
When you set an intention for a single practice or a single day, it’s fairly easy. You may have trouble coming up with one at first, but if you think about it for a minute, you can probably develop one based on what you have been thinking about recently and what you feel you want and need in the moment.
However, when you set an intention for an entire year, you may need to take a little more time to figure it out. When planning your year-long intention, perhaps think of it as a theme for the year. Take some time to sit quietly and to contemplate what is important to you. Look back over the past year and think about the challenges you faced and the successes you achieved. What would you like to accomplish in your heart in the coming year? What is important to you? What brings you joy and helps you to fulfill your purchase.
Create a short phrase or find a single word that embodies your desires for the year ahead. Once you have settled on one or two, spend time integrating it into your being. Sit with it and meditate on it. Write it down to make it feel more real. Wait a few days and then think about it again to see that it is the right choice and to know that it still fits.
Once you have spent some time with your word or phrase, it will soon become a part of your everyday life. When you are happy, think of it; when you are struggling, think of it too. Remember, following your intention is an ongoing process – there is no point at which you will be “done.” It is your motto for this year, and it will be your constant companion throughout.
Intentions in Recovery
Setting an intention for the year ahead can help to give you strength in your recovery from drugs or alcohol. Depending on where you are in your journey, your intention phrase or word may differ, but no matter where you are on your timeline or what your word or phrase is, it is something you can return to time and time again on good days and on challenging ones. You may soon find that the intention you set is the rock you need to move forward one day at a time. It will be invaluable to you, and when 2020 comes to an end, you will see just how much support it offered you as the months rolled on by.
An intention can help you more than you might imagine at first. Take time to come up with one that is right for you and then hang on to it moving forward into this new year and this new decade. If it doesn’t serve you well, don’t be afraid to adjust or even replace it part way through the year, but do stick with it. Happy 2020, and good luck.
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