30 Dec Day 61: New Year Intentions
Daily Focus: Write your New Year Intention(s). (10 points)
The New Year is just around the corner, and if you are focusing on your health and fitness journey and/or goals, it can be tempting to set a number of lofty goals with high expectations.
When teaching RESTART®, we discuss the difference between an expectation and an intention. When I encountered the information for the first time I was blown away with it’s timely-ness in my life and how relevant it was to me. I have been one to want to accomplish many things – some how I equate that with fulfillment and success. However, it doesn’t always add up that way. It took me a while to figure out why.
A lot of my goals were married to timelines, or expectations of myself that were completely unrealistic and only looked good on paper. Goals like: working out or running every single day, losing a certain amount of weight by a certain date or eating only home cooked meals – these didn’t take into consideration recovery time, possibly injuries, sicknesses, or the fact that my life was so hectic already, I was struggling to makes these things happen a few times a week! Add on top of that, all those things you can not control; family, sickness, death, injury, financial burdens, developing other personal skills, and the time it takes to connect and nurture important relationships in your life, personally and professionally.
I was getting panic attacks from constantly “failing” at these goals. I felt like a complete failure, especially as a coach, for never reaching my own personal goals. I mean professional athletes are so dedicated in their practice, that’s the only reason they are where they are, right? And Instagram shows people just crushing life all the time. “No excuses!” Right?
Wrong. “No excuses”, to me, is like saying “life is going to 100% stay the same and you won’t have issue getting to your goal. You will never have to navigate new situations, and your life will never change enough for you to need to focus a bit more time and attention to other areas in other ways, ever.”
It’s just not true.
There are many reasons for this. But, before I really get into an entire rant on how I feel about “no excuses”, social media comparisons, societal pressures and norms…
A lot of this pressure could be alleviated by my mindset. By not setting these “expectations” and instead, stating an intention and doing my best everyday to honor that intention.
A fellow RESTART® instructor Lisa Havens, explains it so well:
“An expectation involves being attached to a specific, often measurable, outcome. The problem with an expectation is that if you don’t get the exact result you had envisioned, you will probably be frustrated or disappointed. you will likely blame yourself and/or someone/something and, even worse you might feel as though you’ve ‘failed.’
An intention, on the other hand, is defining a direction or purpose but being open to how it plays out. It requires some trust and letting the experience happen. The result(s) may be different, surprising or even better than you thought. With an intention you are more likely to learn something from the process, regardless of the outcome.
An expectation can be limiting because you are focused on a pre-defined outcome. An intention can be liberating because something new can be revealed that you never have anticipated.
Here’s an example: You decide to go on a hike. You could set an expectation that you will take a specific route, log a certain number of steps on your Fitbit and finish the hike 10 minutes faster than the last time you took the same hike. But what if when you get there, the route you wanted is closed for repairs, or you don’t make your step count in record time, will you be disappointed? Will it bring you stress instead of refreshment?
If you had set an intention to enjoy the day, breathe some fresh air and you are open to seeing what nature has to show you today as you hike instead of competing with yourself, you would be focused on whatever the experience brought you. You would be open to taking a new path. You would be more likely to breathe in the beauty and the fresh air. Your body would still get the benefit of exercise, but your mind will be more relax and refreshed.
See the difference?”
So, your goal for the New Year’s is to take what you read above into consideration and write your intention for 2019. This could be a word, a statement, a mantra, a theme, a list of statements, list of goals, etc – anything that feels simple, realistic, motivating and focuses on your happiness for 2019.