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You deserve to make the most of your life. In order to nourish and develop the sources of happiness for yourself and others, it takes strength, clear intentions, and persistent effort. It does not take writing a wish list on a piece of paper and not considering that list again until the end of the following December.

Here at St. Jude Wellness Center we support ‘Intention’ setting as a practice and invite you to take this journey with us.

Intentions are the fuel to manifesting your goals and visions and to setting the tone for true change (resolutions if you will). Think of it as drawing a map of where you’d like to go. Those “directions” becomes a driving force of a higher level of consciousness you’re able to access.

In case you’re thinking this is just something that vegans in our yoga classes do, let me back this up with a little science.

Our brains have neuroplasticity, meaning we can change pathways even if they have been in place for many years. The more we repeat a process the more neural pathways activate, eventually creating new neural circuits that interconnect with one another forming new, positive, creative and even inspiring large-scale brain networks.  For the brain, these new messages means forming positive habits and thought patterns that eventually become much more effortless and at times even automatic.

That said, an intention cannot be forced. You can’t (and I certainly wouldn’t) set an intention that you don’t believe in. Here are three tips I recommend when setting intentions for the week (or even daily) in 2019.

  1. Set the tone. Take a couple slow deep breaths in a place that’s quiet and calm if available. As you become present, ask yourself one or all of these questions: “What do I need to let go of in this season? What is my desire for this week? What do I most want to happen in this coming week? How do I want to feel as I go about my days?”
    As the answers develop write down what comes to mind, choose a word, a phrase or a sentence that describes your highest intention. Re-visit these intentions at a minimum once a day.
  2. Make sure your intention has a positive tone. If your intention is to de-stress, then say something like, “I am at my best when I am calm and centered,” or “I will remain calm and centered regardless of what this day brings.” Try to avoid saying negative tones like, “My intention is to fight this stupid stress.”
  3. Be sure your intentions and affirmations have movement. They can evolve, shift and change as you do. This is one area where I try to encourage others to think a little more short term.  You can still think of the big picture — It just may help to divide your long-term intentions into a few shorter ones that can feel much more manageable.  

Now by all means set your 2019 intentions, post them, write them on a white board or mirror, or type them on your computer or phone and thrive! Live in the deliberate articulation of who you want to become. We support you – Happy New Year!

Author: Heather Schwartz, MS, LMFT, CEDS Heather is a licensed psychotherapist and health coach at St. Jude Wellness Center. She runs the REACH Weight Management program, teaches classes on a variety of psychological topics and sees clients individually. Heather is also a part of the Ornish Cardiac Rehab Program.