Friday, January 22, 2021

Setting Intentions For My Word

Setting Intentions For My Word

Over the years it has been my practice to set intentions for my word of the year. If my word of the year is a lens through which I will view life, then setting intentions are the practices through which that word will become a practice in my life. In other words, how I intend to live it out. 

I am often asked what the difference is between intentions and goals. I think the main difference between goals and intentions is in how you view them. Goals are usually specific in nature and are future oriented. I want to save 100.00 each month or I want to lose 20 pounds. Intentions are usually focused more on daily living in the present moment and lean toward habit forming and lifestyle. Both play a role. In fact intentions can help us meet goals. But I tend to prefer intentions because I think they help create a lifestyle or mindset instead of just completing tasks. Intentions can help us become the type of person we want to be. So instead of simply setting a goal of how many pounds I want to lose, instead my intention is to eat healthier for my overall health. As I work on that I may or may not lose the pounds but will gain so many other health benefits. If I simply have a goal of losing ten pounds then every time the scale doesn't change I feel like I have failed.

Here is a brief, basic rundown of goals and intentions from various definitions I found online:

Future oriented
Present oriented
Concrete, tangible, specific
Aspirational, values-based characteristics
Action oriented
Way of being
Usually have a fixed outcome
Often ebb and flow as you grow
Generally more outwardly focused
Generally more inwardly focused
Usually focused on an end result
More focused on day-to-day living

I think both goals and intentions are valuable. However, I do tend to lean more toward using intentions, and here is the main reason why. To me, setting intentions is about making choices in my daily living that focus on who I want to be more so than on what I want to get done. And this is based on one of my personal core values: Doing flows out of being. Who I am is more important than what I do, and I want what I do to flow out of who I am. Who I am is about my character and my heart. I can change behaviors or habits and still have no change in my character or outlook. Because I also value authenticity - I want what I do to reflect who I am, or put another way - I want my actions to reflect my heart. And my heart is continually being transformed as I intentionally seek to be formed in the image of Christ. I wrote about having a set of personal core values last week. You can read it here.

So, I focus on intentions when looking at how I want to live out my word of the year. And I keep my values before me as I set those intentions. Then setting goals can help me put action to my intentions. But all of it is determined by my "why" - the values that guide my life. 

My word this year is rhythm. As I said last week, my vision for this word is to study and know the rhythms of Christ's life and to examine the rhythms of my own, tweaking and developing the daily and weekly rhythms that help me stay focused on my values for becoming who I want to be.

    My intentions are divided into the categories I want to focus on this year: 

  • The Rhythms of Christ's life - studying His words and His ways in the Gospels, studying my theme passage this year Matthew 11:28-30, and studying how the New Testament calls us to be Christlike.
  • Unforced Rhythms of Grace - this is from Matthew 11:29 in the Message Bible. This is about practicing spiritual disciplines and setting a rhythm for my spiritual life that helps me focus on how I live it out. 
  • Rhythms of Daily Life - I'm making weekly page spreads in a visual commonplace book this year to help me connect more with the moments of my days that are significant to me. The rhythms of my daily life is focused mainly on my creative life and participating in creative groups and projects. This year that includes my Words Art and Faith Group, Life Documented 2021, the One Little Word class with Ali Edwards and the 100 Day Project, plus whatever comes along later in the year.
  • Healthy Rhythms - I am on a continual journey to improve the way I eat and the way I live. I will begin my 6th decade this year and I want to fully enjoy the decades ahead of me and remain active, so I need to continue to make changes and choices that support that desire. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
What are your hopes for your word this year?

What intentions would help you live out your word n a manner that would help you be who you want to be? Do they align with your personal core values?

What goals will help you move toward your intentions?

Feel free to share in the comment section below or in the Words Art & Faith Group on Facebook.

Next Friday I will look at making a vision board for my word. So start collecting your magazine words and pictures.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate your posts. They give good direction and keep me on track. Without your help and your examples, I think I would eventually lose my way.

    Here’s another thing about intention. When we set an intention and when we live by it, great things happen. Intention is part of God’s way of helping us with the gift of His presence in our life. It is through our thoughts that we connect. Last year I set the intention to grow my faith and boy did I! Everything I needed rolled out in front of me as if it were pre-ordained - which of course it was!