Michael Thorley

How your intention is more liberating than a plan!!


By Michael Thorley on 25 January 2017

New Year is a time where people come together to celebrate, reflect and look ahead.  For many, it also lets us know the numbers and kinds of people we know. In what ways are we connected and included with those around us? New Year is a great time of year for many. Yet for others New Year can be a time which reminds us that perhaps we are more isolated or lonely than we would like. 

So, at New Year, we tend to make plans for the year ahead in order to change some things.  We may then get caught up in planning and the scheduling and that, whilst helpful for some, can be self-defeating for many. It can be all too much of a chore. If you look at the numbers of resolutions we make, how many do we hold onto for the whole year?  Some, but not many.

Not achieving our plans (falling off the wagon, missing a low calorie day, not reading that book or article, skipping a planned run, not calling that guy/girl you’ve been interested in for a while) can send us into all kinds of emotions and thoughts. These may range from a shrug of the shoulders; “no problem I’ll do it later” to deeper thoughts and feelings “well I’m not very good anyway so what’s the point”. 

In my experience, most people tend towards the negative judgemental aspects and, given that negative thoughts aren’t that pleasant, the plan tends to get placed to one side. So, whilst a plan can be useful it should not be the focus.

It is usually far more useful to hold the bigger picture of INTENTION.  We can review the choices we make in the context of the intention. In this context there is less room for judgement and more room for flexibility and learning and thus growth and achievement.

So, if we are working towards finding out what I intend to do this year, here are some thoughts to get you going.

•  What is it that I want? (my intention; run a 10k, meet a new person, stretch every day, feel happier)

•  When roughly do I want it? (short, medium, longer term)

•  Who do I want this for?

o  Is it for me? 

o  For someone else?

•  How will I know when I am on my way to achieving my intention? (this can include “I know more people, I have run for 30 seconds and walked a minute, I started reading and spoke to someone about it)

•  What am I prepared to invest to achieve my intention? (this can be time, money, relationships, changing habits e.g. ensuring I go to one networking event, ensuring I talk to one new person)

•  What is the benefit of not achieving my intent? (This is a nice brain teaser but helps us really think about our intent and motivation rather than the plan!)

•  What are the smallest signals that I am beginning to take the steps towards my intention? 

•  What else? (Who can help me? Who can I offer help to? Anything else coming up?)

So, remember, that while a plan can be helpful it can be a bit “all or nothing”, “success or failure”. Clarity on your intent is the more important thing. It allows you to reflect more thoughtfully on what happened and continue onwards. 


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