It is fairly easy to figure out where I want to go in life.
Figuring out the direction for my life is clearly quite pleasurable for my mind, otherwise I would not think about it as much as I do.
What I find more difficult though, and more important, is to figure out how to get there. I have learned that the most important decision is not where to go, but how to get there.
Along my journey, I will have to make many choices, some big, but most small. These choices are often made without complete information. If I wait until there is complete certainty with no unknowns, then I am not really making a choice. It has already been made for me.
The choices that move my life forward are those where I am not completely certain of the outcome. The question then is how to make these choices?
At the start of each year, I set an intention to help guide these choices.
My intention is like a magic wand that I will wave at any problem that comes my way, and it gives me instant clarity. It is a bright star in the distance, guiding me and giving me direction. Most of all, it is a trusted friend who is with me at all moments.
The moments when I feel lost and confused, I turn to you.
The moments when I feel agitated, angry and anxious, I turn to you.
The moments when I feel energized and inspired, I know it is because of you.
The practice to set an intention each year is a simple one: it is one word.
This year, my intention is Open. Last year, it was Space. In previous years, it has been Heart, Trust, Fearless, Freedom, Energy and Discovery.
The beauty of an intention that is captured in one word is that it is simple and subjective. It is abstract by design, as it invites creativity for how it might manifest. It is also deeply personal, as the same word might have a completely different meaning for someone else.
Compared to a goal, which makes me feel closed, as I stop seeing anything or anyone not directly aligned with it, an intention makes me feel open. Open to possibility and change. It is this quality of openness that keeps it alive, relevant and interesting all year long.
This is the eight year of me setting a one word intention, evidence that it works, as there are not many things that I did eight years ago that I still do today.
To set my one word intention each year, I will sit and meditate on it, take a walk in nature or journal. I reflect about what it is that is most important in my life right now. What it is that my heart truly desires. Many thoughts will arise, and eventually a theme will begin to emerge. I know I have found my word when I feel a spark of energy and excitement inside. It is the emotional, not intellectual, connection to the intention that makes it meaningful for me.
Once I have picked my word, I share it, as I am doing right now. This is really important, as it helps me further commit to it, ask for support and encouragement, and inspire others to also choose to live with greater intentionality.
Here are just a few of the one word intentions that friends have shared with me over the past few years. May these help inspire your one word intention for the year ahead.