Understanding the Purpose of Positive Intentions
While it may sound like a little too much to hope for, setting positive intentions does not mean that you only plan to have positive experiences in the new year. While spending a year without a negative thought or experience does sound wonderful, it may not be the most realistic goal as there is so much in our world which we cannot control. Instead, intentions should focus on that which we have the power to do for ourselves and for those around us. It can be as simple as deciding to say “good morning” to the first person you see every day or a greater commitment, such as vowing to journal for one hour each evening. It is the intention behind the action that is most important.
How to Get Started
The key to setting meaningful intentions is to think about what we want for ourselves and our loved ones, then plan action items to help turn those hopes into simple daily tasks. For example, if you or your loved one is struggling with a physical ailment or emotional distress, consider setting a daily, weekly, and monthly intention to help process the negative experiences and focus on the positive ones. Here are some ideas to help you create intentions for a positive new year.
Make time for daily reflection.
Quiet time alone to prepare for the day or process the day’s events can help manage stress and provides a dedicated time to think positively, even about the things that challenge us throughout the day. Here are some ways to make the most of quiet reflection.
Write it down | If you enjoy journaling, feel free to write until your heart’s content. For those who struggle to get started, consider making a daily checklist for both morning intention setting and evening reflection.
Morning Intention Setting:
- Today will be a good day because I’m playing cards with friends after breakfast.
- Today will be a challenge because my arthritis is bothering me.
- I will manage today’s challenge by going to water aerobics and resting after lunch.
- My positive action for the day is to smile when I hear my name.
- My favorite moment of today was eating pasta primavera for dinner.
- Managing my challenge today was difficult, but being in the pool felt good.
- My positive action made me feel like I have a lot of reasons to smile.
Say it Out Loud | For those who prefer not to write, consider posting your daily prompts somewhere easy to see in your home. You can read them each day and simply speak your intentions and reflections aloud instead of putting them in a journal. And don’t worry if you struggle to remember what you said this morning or last night, just make the most of the current moment and try to remember the positive feeling instead of the specifics.
Devote one day per week to learning.
Whether experiencing something for the first time or just trying to see it from a new perspective, leaning new things is valuable at every age. Committing at least one day per week, or even one hour each day, to pursuing new things not only helps to keep us sharp, it also helps us create new opportunities for joy in our lives. Who knows, you might discover a new passion for something you never even knew about! Here are some ideas:
- Try your hand at sign language
- Master the sonnet or haiku
- Ask a friend to tell you about a time when they had a change of heart
- Watch a TV show or movie about something unfamiliar to you, like crabbing in Alaska or competitive baking
- Challenge a friend to learn a new card game with you
When it comes to learning, the experience is just as valuable, if not more so, than the skill itself. So allow yourself to enjoy the process without worrying about reaching any specific outcome.
Assign an intention to each month.
Whether planning your months all at once or just deciding what you want to focus on as each new month arrives, assigning an intention ahead of time helps keep you on track with staying positive. It’s like making a theme that will give you lots of ideas for how to spend your month. Here’s an example:
- January | Patience
- February | Compassion
- March | Charity
- April | Hope
- May | Art
- June | Nature
- July | Memories
- August | Service
- September | Change
- October | Courage
- November | Gratitude
- December | Family
Feel free to follow this list or create your own. What matters most is giving yourself the time you need to create more joy in your life.
SLM is Your Partner in Senior Living
At Senior Living Management, we’re committed to helping seniors live richly every day of the year. Contact the community nearest you for more information.