Intentions Vs. Resolutions: How to Move Forward Into the New Year by Kathy Koenig
Most of us are more than familiar with the concept of New Year's resolutions. Those lofty goals that often reflect some spot in our lives where we feel the need to improve or reduce shame. If those are the background, no wonder we find ourselves abandoning them within days or weeks and then feeling more shame.
I'm all about reducing shame whenever possible and moving forward with intentions. I see intentions as coming more from an internal drive that reflects some personal meaning. The "why" is personal and isn't necessarily reflected in an outward manifestation such as weight loss or a bank balance. It may be reflected by increased smiles, not engaging in gossip or unkind chatter. Maybe it's the 10, 20 or 60 minutes spent in reflection and meditation each day.
My intention as 2021 begins is to be a better listener. I come from a professional background as a therapist and coach to have the training to do so. Sometimes I'm pretty good at it, but I can use some improvement. I work with families involved in caregiving. It's my passion project at this phase of life. I have been a caregiver on multiple occasions and it's been a driver for my efforts to create and provide programs for family caregivers and promote the growing needs. But, I still have a "fixer" in me. When I hear of a need I want to make it better. It's reflexive and I am learning to slow down and listen for what the recipient needs. Sometimes I have suggestions, resources and solutions they want. But, I need to wait. I intend to work on listening and waiting.
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year has felt challenging as several people close to me have new diagnoses that will alter their lives in significant ways. I'm aware that I'm crying more, praying more and patiently waiting for their timing to share information or ask for help. It comes in their time and I respect and honor that.
When I stumble and offer something prematurely I steady myself by apologizing and taking a breath. We always move forward. It's new territory in our relationships and we're learning. No matter how much I know, I also strive to stay humble. To be humble is to be teachable. My intention is to listen, learn more and stay present. Intentions have more flexibility than resolutions (at least in my mind) and I intend to stay flexible in the coming days, weeks and months.
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