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The Magic of Intention by Patricia Pauly

Maybe you made a resolution this year, like most Americans do. If you are still observing it, good for you! You are one of a select few.  Almost 80% of resolutions are broken by the second Friday in January, or National Quitters Day, the day by which most Americans are likely to have stepped away from their resolutions. 

This month at Vibe, we want to suggest a different approach. Rather than resolutions to DO something, perhaps you consider intention as a way to BE something.

When we make a resolution, we are operating on the level of DOING. The idea for most of us is that by DOING this thing, we will HAVE more of something else, in order to BE or feel something else.  It operates on a Do—Have--Be model.

So, for example, maybe I set a resolution to eat more vegetables (what I will do), in order to have a better diet (what I will have), in order to be healthy (what I will be or feel).

Intention suggests a different path.  We can set an intention to BE or feel something, then DO actions inspired and aligned with the intention, in order to HAVE what we see as the benefit of the action.  Intention works on a Be—Do—Have model.

So back to our example, what if instead of a resolution to do something, I set an intention to be healthy.  This leads me to take action inspired and aligned with my intention, and I reap the benefits of those actions. 

In other words, we move from resolution’s  DO—HAVE—BE model to intention’s  BE—DO—HAVE model.  Same elements, but the order makes all the difference!

Resolution can feel like a white-knuckled, willpower struggle. Intention simply calls us to action. 

Resolutions change one behavior. Intention can be more powerful because it can prompt more than one action, one behavioral change. So if I intend to be healthy, maybe I won’t just eat more veggies, maybe I’ll also decide to take a walk or go to bed early.  Just as importantly, maybe I won’t do other less health-supportive things. This means eating vegetables isn’t the only measure of my success and that I’m more likely to actually be healthier because more of my actions become aligned with my intention. 

Ultimately, intention is less about getting the goodies (the HAVE) and more about who you become in the process (the BE).

Intention might feel softer, but it works deeper. It begins to work on the level of self-identification.  Who we think we are shapes our actions in ways resolutions never can.  

I first learned about the difference between intention and resolution from my business coach. It has been a real game changer. I hope you find it as useful. I'd love to hear about your experience!