Living With Intention

“Here’s what I discovered. Intention is different from setting goals or resolutions in that it “pulls us into” who we truly are. Goals and resolutions “push us out” into future possibilities. To set intentions, we must listen to our inner voice which tells us who we truly are.”

Katie Covey, Soul Matters Director of RE Resources

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So here we are again, in the month of January, with its talk of daring resolutions and demanding calls to become better. It’s hard to resist. After all, who of us couldn’t benefit from a bit of self-improvement? And so, most of us gladly go along and declare “This is the year I’m finally going to be a better me!”

But are we sure this is what we really want? When you read that quote above about being “pulled in” rather than “pushed out,” what happens in your heart? Is being pushed really what you want and need? Are you really excited about the New Year’s work of striving to create a brand new you?  Or do you suddenly notice an internal whisper that says, “I long to be pulled in more deeply to the self I already am”? In other words, maybe our real New Year’s work is not about pushing forward into self-improvement, but about pausing, stepping back, and asking, “What hunger has my heart?”

There is, after all, a big difference between becoming better and becoming ourselves. Self-improvement is not the same as self-alignment. Wanting to get from point A to point B is something quite different from longing to find your inner anchor. Bottom line: Goals and intentions may indeed be more distinct than we have thought. And being clear about that may be more important than we have thought.

This month, maybe our most meaningful work is to make room. All around us this month, there’s going to be tons of talk about creating goals and imagining who we might become. But living with intention seems to be more about creating a quiet space that allows us to connect with who we already are, a space that protects us from the pressure to accomplish and instead makes room to ask questions of integrity.

And if we are able to carve out that quieter space, then maybe we will discover that this isn’t the year of “finally becoming a better me.” Maybe we’ll decide it’s enough to simply “finally be me.”