From New Year Intentions To Everyday Actions
It’s tempting to harness the energy we experience at this time of year. As the festivities give way to rest (i.e. flumping on the sofa in front of Christmas movie marathons), there’s a sense of caterpillar in the cocoon and there’s often a spark, a moment, when we start thinking about the next year, the next cycle in our lives…
We start making resolutions, setting intentions, maybe declarations to friends of how things shall be different in the coming year. This energy can be powerful, we feel it in our bones that we will eat better, we will exercise more, we will spend more time reading and listening to podcasts than in front of Netflix… But the big question is; how can we best set ourselves up to see these things through? When we return to work and this burst of energy is tested getting back to the commute and long hours in the office how, come mid-feb, do we still harness this feeling and stick to our intentions?
Here are my top tips for turning your New Year Intentions into ACTIONS:
1. Keep it simple - If like me, you enjoy making lists, it’s easy to get carried away and have a long list for intentions in every area of your life. I’d recommend simplifying, going through the list(s), picking out your top three, and then of those, your top one. This is the first focus, the priority. When you get in the swing of this, then move onto incorporating the other two. Which brings me onto…
2. One thing at a time - When we try and do everything at once, particularly making behavioural changes, it puts a huge amount of pressure on us. We’re more likely to establish long term changes when we approach things gradually, allowing each new habit a bit of time to bed in before turning to the next one. But we also want to harness that new year energy, so I’d suggest taking your priority intentions from point 1 and then building them into your diary over the coming weeks, focusing on 1 new thing each week. E.g. if you want to start running 3 times a week, start a morning routine, and attend a monthly workshop or event in an area of interest, I’d suggest focusing on running for the first week, introduce your morning routine the following week, then set yourself the goal of going to an event on the third week. One thing at a time…
3. Focus on the feeling not just the action - This has come up a few times for me in different ways, it’s such a game-changer. Instead of asking or focusing on what you want to ‘do’ ask yourself ‘how do I want to feel’. How do you want to feel this year? Grab your journal and write the line ‘This year I want to feel…’. Set the timer for 3 or 5 minutes, and then write, continuously, without the pen stopping. If you get stuck, keep writing that sentence over and over until the words start flowing again. When you understand the feeling behind the desire for action, you stand a far greater chance of follow-through and success.
4. Allow yourself to fail - This, I think, might be the most important thing when trying to establish new habits, so I’ll say it extra loud: ALLOW YOURSELF TO FAIL! There will definitely be times, especially when you’re starting off, when you don’t manage to run 3 times a week, when you don’t get to your morning routine every day. The more you make peace with that now, the less damage it does when it happens. So often, the greatest threat to our intentions, is not doing something one time, and then we feel like it’s all over and there’s no point continuing. Even if you just ran once, that’s great, try for 3 next week.
Those are my top tips for entering 2019 with intention and clarity and following through with action! If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com. If you’d like to continue to dive deeper into intention-setting, come join me at my monthly event series, The Connected Sessions. More info below.
Happy New Year!
THE CONNECTED SESSIONS: NEXT ONE 7TH JAN
Or to explore the theme further, join me in person on Monday 7th January for The Connection Sessions, a monthly event I run at Holdspace in Angel, bringing like-minded people together and providing space to check-in, reflect on the month that’s gone and set intentions for the month ahead. This first session of the year will look more broadly at this theme of New year intentions.
Natalie is a yoga teacher, teaching from an embodied perspective, with strong interests in self-development, a background in psychology, and experience using these practices for dealing with life changes, emotional and mental health challenges, both in her own life and when working with others. She teaches in East London, runs regular events in London and South Wales (where she's from) and also works 1-2-1 with clients looking to utilise yoga and the wider wellness practices in every day life.
Visit Natalie’s Instagram @natandayogamat