As we embrace 2023, I’ve found myself thinking more and more about the intentions I want to carry out for this lap around the sun.
Every self-help book on the shelves today preaches the power of the mind, with good reason. The problem, is that this ‘thinking about thinking’ often gets lost exactly there—it begins, and more often than not, ends in the mental space. And then we wait for miracles to happen without carrying out our intentions and wonder where the time went.
I’m not saying the mind isn’t the most important part that primes us for better opportunities. Better habits. Better thoughts. But, in myself and those around me, I’ve noticed that sometimes we get too carried away with the hard part, the mental part, and forget the easy part—action.
It’s tough to will yourself to go to the gym for the first time in months. Or to finally convince yourself to start that online business or blog. It’s a lot easier to actually act on it, void of the mental feedback telling you all the reasons it won’t work.
With that being said, and after endless reading, learning, trying and failing this past year, here are 5 intentions I recommend we all embrace this new year:
1. The intention to act on what you promise to yourself
This sums up everything. Delivering with intention.
If the promise or intention you’ve made is to be more sustainable, eat cleaner or act on your own dreams, it must start with you. No one talks to you more than you do. In the same breath, no one feeds you more mental bogus than you do. To deliver on what you promise yourself means to cut through the nonsense and follow through with yourself the same way you would a boss, a family member or a client. So often, we’re timely performers for others, but allow ourselves to get left behind. But if we can’t deliver to ourselves, it means that we haven’t set a high enough level of self-respect to do so, which in turn, impacts everything else we think and act on.
2. The intention to set and applaud small victories
The bigger picture is a great place to strive toward, but the haunting question it proposes is always ‘where do I start’? When big problems came my way, my mom always asked me a simple question:
“How do you eat the elephant?”
“One bite at a time.”
The metaphorical elephant represents all those overarching problems in our lives, and how we can tackle them little by little. More importantly, we must plan and celebrate those tiny bites.
It’s a simple and easy intention that’s deliverable. Break up your goals and celebrate them, because what human doesn’t love a dopamine boost?
3. The intention to take responsibility
Mark Manson’s writing around responsibility is something I urge everyone to read. In my own life, I’ve noticed a lot of positive changes and avoided obstacles purely because I took responsibility for the actions I did take, and more importantly, those I didn’t.
4. The intention to care for something bigger than ourselves
I strongly disagreed with eco-activists’ attack on the art world’s prized possessions. Still, even without their acts, we know that the environmental crisis is up to us. When Shein was deemed the most profitable fashion company in the world, I shuddered. It showed me the reality of where most minds were at.
The intention to care, to truly consider something bigger than ourselves is perhaps the most important intention we can make. To you, that might look like no longer supporting certain brands. To someone else, it might look like converting to a sustainable beauty brand. When we act with the intention to truly dedicate our efforts to a world we might not see, we’re completely letting go of our ego, our “stake” in the matter, for the better of others. To me, that has to be an utterly fantastic intention that can actually be followed through quite simply.
5. The intention to try
This one might sound like the most simple, but in reality, trying is the hardest part. Trying to be kinder to yourself. Trying to be more disciplined. Trying to be more open-minded, or trying to be a better partner. No effort begins without an act of trying. If we don’t try, we’ll never do much of anything. It takes effort, and five seconds of insane courage. But the intention to try is the beginning of every active choice we make. It’s the merging of our thinking and affirmations combined with that first step. And no step is more important than the first.
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