12/20/2017 Mind-Body Health
Before finalizing your health-related goals, consider these five intentions. They will help you identify how you want your goals to make you feel and help you develop more meaningful steps to achieve your resolutions.
Typically, New Year’s resolutions describe an end goal. Common goals are to drink more water, lose weight, eat more vegetables, or exercise more. While health goals centered around specific actions may work temporarily, you often finish the year feeling somewhat behind the eight ball. You have done the action, but now what?
This season, try shifting your New Year’s resolution to focus on feeling the way you want to feel.
How Do You Want to Feel?
A resolution to lose weight is an end goal, a destination. Why do you want to lose weight? Maybe you hope to feel more confident in clothing or have more energy. It is possible to feel more confident, or have improved energy, even before losing weight. By focusing on the way you want to feel, you can immediately take actions to place you at your desired outcome much sooner than “over the next year.”
Perhaps you clean out your closet and purchase a few wardrobe items that make you feel confident. You may rearrange evening engagements in order to get eight hours of sleep and have more energy. In this way, you are choosing to create your daily experience, rather than focusing on an end goal.
How you want to feel varies from everyone else. Focus inward to home in on your own most-desired feelings. For example:
- Think of your most pressing health goal.
- Close your eyes. Picture yourself achieving that goal.
- How does it feel? Try to pinpoint that feeling with one word. This is your intention.
- Describe, in a few sentences, exactly how that intention feels in your body. These sentences are your mantra.
- What other daily practices or experiences create that same feeling in your body? Create a list. These are choices for daily actions to help you foster your intention.
By focusing on the process rather than the result, you needn’t wait for an end goal to feel the way you want to feel. You can actively shape your experience and feel the way you want to feel, every day.
The following are suggestions to guide you through your reflection. Each feeling is paired with a daily mantra, along with a short, sample list of possible actions to help foster that feeling each day.
1. I Want to Feel: Grounded
Mantra: “I am grounded. I am connected to Earth, and those that come before me. I live each day intentionally.”
- Grocery shop and prepare your own food
- Take up a solo hobby, such as reading
2. I Want to Feel: Vibrant
Mantra: “I am vibrant. I feel my spirit shining out of my chest. I am alive.”
- Foster efficient digestion: Limit snacking between meals, and fast for at least 10 hours between dinner and breakfast the following day
- Hydrate: Aim for six to eight glasses of pure, lukewarm or room temperature water daily
- Nurture your skin: Perform self-massage, or abhyanga, using coconut or almond oil before or just after showering
3. I Want to Feel: Connected
Mantra: “I am one with those around me. I care for others because I am them, and they care for me because they are me. We are the same as the Universe.”
- Join a group class such as yoga or a walking group
- Eat with company: Host a potluck or prepare dinner for your family
- Call family or set up a coffee date with an old friend
4. I Want to Feel: Confident
Mantra: “There is only one of me in all of time. I am fearlessly myself, and I can accomplish difficult tasks.”
- Spend 15 minutes stretching. Stretching improves flexibility, giving you the potential for range of motion in your muscles.
- Sign up for a race, then build a specific training program to gradually build ability and meet your goal.
- Do something outside of your comfort zone—apply to a job to which you are underqualified. Approach a stranger for conversation. Go to a movie solo.
5. I Want to Feel: Adventurous
Mantra: “I see the world around me in a new light every day. I seek to experience all that life has to offer. I grow in times of uncertainty.”
- Learn something new: Sign up for a class to learn a new language. Go dancing—ask a friend to teach you, attend a class, or wing it. Explore your local community college for adult continuing education classes.
- Sample different ethnic foods—try your local Chinese, Nepalese, Japanese, or Ethiopian cuisine. Or find a recipe and cook your own! Many towns are home to ethnic grocery stores that host a plethora of ethnic foods.
- Become involved with an international organization: Many not-for-profit organizations provide an opportunity for donors to connect with their work abroad. Find your favorite, and instantly plug in to a network of international do-gooders who will connect you with the local culture and daily life abroad.
These five intentions are examples of ways you may want to feel. Find a feeling that resonates with you, then get clear about what actions you can do daily to nurture that sentiment.
Form a clear intention, and use that intention to guide the journey of the upcoming New Year. Check in with yourself daily. If you are no longer resonating with your mantra, take action! No need to wait until you reach your destination. Feel how you want to feel—starting today.