Setting Intentions for greater fulfilment
Setting goals or resolutions is a common practice for many as we move into a new year, yet how many of these remain unfulfilled months later? Sometimes working through goals or tasks can feel like ticking off a to-do list. As we tick items off our list we may feel a sense of achievement, yet unless these goals feed into our values and purpose, they may not deliver us the fulfilment we desire. On the flip side, not achieving these goals may lead to disappointment and feelings of failure. Not always, but often, people can fall into the trap of choosing goals which focus on acquisition, but which do not necessarily deliver deeper or lasting meaning.
Rather than setting myself goals, I prefer intentions or directions, with these linked to my values and higher purpose. This recognises that essentially what we are looking for in life is a sense of fulfilment or enlightenment. Whilst a goal is often linear and specific, an intention may be described as a determination or plan to act in a certain way. A key distinction is that whilst it is possible to fail on a goal, it is not possible to fail on a direction or intention. It is part of a larger process designed to help us travel along our unique journey, enabling us to live a life with special meaning for us. As stated by Gary Zukav in ‘The Seat of the Soul’, from our intentions everything in life will flow.
But before we set ourselves intentions, it is helpful to be clear on our values. What is it we really want? What is important to us? What higher purpose or meaning resonates with us, like a guiding light?
Of course, some people may not have a clear understanding of their purpose and what it is they really want. It requires a deeper understanding of ourselves, a reflection on who we are and what it is about our life that gives us meaning. But how do we do this? A good starting point is ensuring we have the stillness, space and time to reflect on who we are and what it is that really matters to us. This may be achieved through time spent meditating, or practising some mind-body exercise such as yoga. Likewise, time in nature may provide the clarity needed to see ourselves and feel what it is that moves us. Often it is a process that takes some time, and of course can be refined as we move through life.
As an example, if we decide our ultimate higher purpose is living with inner peace, our values may include being present and mindful, practising self-care, and practising kindness and gratitude. From these values our intentions may then include regular meditation, choosing healthy foods and exercise, and giving back to the community though charity work. As with setting goals, discipline will be required, and writing our intentions down and reflecting on these daily may be helpful. It is also important that we consider the systems and routines we have in place and how these will support our intentions.
With clear intentions we are able to live in the present moment, whilst looking forward, guided by our values and purpose. A key part of this process is taking responsibility for our own fulfilment, setting boundaries where appropriate and having the self-discipline and courage to follow through with what matters to us. Living a life with clear intentions, linked to values that ultimately support our higher purpose, doesn’t of course mean that every day will be harmonious and perfect, but it does mean that we will live with awareness and meaning. And in this way, we live with greater alignment between mind, heart and soul.
“You create your reality with your intentions”, Gary Zukav ‘The Seat of the Soul’
By Kerrie Clayton
Kerrie has been a member of the AHHCA for 10 years and is currently part of its Committee of Management. She is a qualified Aromatherapist, Nutritionist and Reiki Master, with additional qualifications in colour therapy and flower essences. Kerrie may be contacted via www.wellnesswithkerrie.com
Guidotti, C ‘How to Have it all’, 2012
Tolle, E ‘The Power of Now”, 1997
Zukav, G ‘The Seat of the Soul’, 1989