Spoiler alert: You don’t have to wait until January 1 to think about new possibilities and hope for better things. If you are like me and most humans roaming the planet, you tend to be a sucker for meaningful dates and “symbols” of new beginnings. We love our symbolism. 

Because of that, the New Year always brings a more marked spirit of renewal with it. And I am sure you are with me when I say, we could all use some renewal right about now. 2020 has been quite a year, and ushering in some winds of change sounds pretty darn good, doesn’t it?

Let me be clear: I don’t think coronavirus will magically disappear on January 1. Nor do I think the political divide and social unrest will stop the minute we start writing 2021 on our checks. 

I do, however, believe in the power of individual responsibility, the ability to respond at any given moment of our life in a way that encourages balance in ourselves and our greater world. We have the ability to create intentions that guide our choices and set a course of action for change. It is powerful, and it is your inner magic, if you choose to believe in it. 

The Difference Between an Intention and a Resolution

Intention is the catalytic energy that is the power behind a classic New Year’s resolution. It is the Being/Feminine/Yin energy that breathes life into the Doing/Masculine/Yang energy of a typical resolution (which is really more of a goal at its basic level).

“Discovery of an intention goes much deeper than goal setting and is more profound. It integrates the left and right brain, and is more holistic. Intention is the energetic starting point of any goal in its purest form. It is the seed that creates the magnificent flower. It’s a powerfully authentic vow that you make with yourself, which comes from your core.”

Andrew Wallas

Intentions are about how you want to feel; they hold the energy you embody when you think about the change you want to make. It’s the hunger, the desire, the raw emotion that makes you desire true and long-lasting change.

Think of intentions like the forest and each goal that will bring your intentions to life like individual trees.

If your intention is “I want to live a life of adventure and excitement, where I have the freedom to travel and explore and not be bound to a traditional Monday-Friday work schedule” then your goals might be something like, “Open up a savings account; change my direct deposit amounts to save more; speak with my boss about potential for promotion; take on 5 new consulting clients as a means to start working independently; hire a coach for accountability”

Each of those goals is fine on its own, but without the emotion and desire behind it, it lacks the inertia necessary to sustain itself. We all too easily forget our bigger WHY and get caught up in the daily grind of the actual change itself. This is why gyms are full on January 1 and typically back to being only half-full come March. People give up their goals because they have lost touch with their intention. 

The Yin and Yang of Intentions

This contrast between goals and intentions is such a great example of how the energy of being (feminine/Yin) serves the energy of doing (masculine/Yang). (Read: Restoring Balance of Our Yin and Yang Energies.) The feminine is the power and the cataylst that informs and drives the action of the masculine. It’s a perfect team that was always meant to work together. We have the ability to tap into the magical alchemy that occurs when we combine the two energies to bring change into our lives this year (and every day for that matter)!

Some people are more accustomed to the doing energy (the masculine/Yang energy). Our culture supports this constant accrual of money and success and accomplishments, rather than embracing the being energy that gives all of our doing purpose in the first place. If this sounds like you, then consider the following question:

If you know what you want to change, why do you want to change it? In other words, when you add up all of those individual trees, what does the forest itself look like?

Alternatively, other people are more naturally drawn to experience the being (feminine/Yin) energy first (shout out to all of my highly sensitive people out there!) If this is you, then consider the following:

If you know your bigger why and can feel your desire begin to change,challenge yourself to create small action steps that would bring that bigger picture change to life. What trees can you cultivate in pursuit of the whole dang forest?

Change & healing are possible for everyone. This inner alchemy is the power we all have access to right here in this life. My hope for you in 2021 is that you find the magic that has been inside of you all along. 

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