Some people like to make resolutions for the new year, others set objectives. This year, I am thinking about setting my intentions. Intentions differ from objectives in the way that a direction, say East, differs from the places along the way as I am heading East, say the Atlantic Ocean. Intentions are more about the way we want be, rather than what we want to accomplish. Both can be interesting and motivating, but sometimes we get so hung up on what we want to accomplish that we don’t notice what we are experiencing on the way. Life can become one big “To Do” list. This can lead to a sense of disappointment once we arrive at our accomplishment (“Check!”) and a need to replace that accomplishment with a new one.

Imagine, however, if the focus was shifted to how one wants to be. For instance, as a therapist, I may decide that I want to be more compassionate with my clients, more available to them (or less!), or more structured with them. These intentions, or directions, might lead me to changing certain ways of doing my work. For instance, I might decide that I need to work on opening myself up more to their stories and suffering, or opening more evening hours to accommodate those who work during the day, or learning new therapeutic tools.

These intentions can be directed toward the workplace, our relationships, or our life in general. This year, one of my intentions is to be more risk-taking emotionally, try things that are a little scary and open myself up to the possibility of growing in that way. I will be looking for where I hold back and trying to step forward in those moments, and asking myself, “What is my way?”, “What is the next right thing to do?”.  If you were to choose to look at the new year this way, what would be your intentions this year?

Whatever they might be, I wish you joy and abundance in the new year.