I never would’ve thought that 2019 would be the year I quit my full-time job and became an entrepreneur.
Starting a business wasn’t my resolution on New Year’s Eve; after all, I’ve never really been a big fan of resolutions. With that said, my intention last year was to feel more fulfilled. I knew that I wasn’t fulfilled at the start of the year, so I set out to figure out what was making me feel that way. Rather than setting an “action” that I wanted to achieve (like many resolutions tend to be), I decided to set a “reaction” (or, in other words, an intention). From there, I worked toward resetting my mindset throughout 2019.
At the beginning of the year, I started setting daily goals, or easily achievable intentions, like, “I want to feel productive today.” By being mindful of how I began each day, I was able to turn my life into a more meaningful process. That daily process became focusing on how I wanted to feel rather than just what I wanted to accomplish.
If I had started the year by setting a resolution such as, “I want to lose five pounds,” I would’ve been stuck on that idea the entire year. I would’ve told myself things like, “I gotta work harder at the gym,” or, “I gotta do more cardio and eat healthy every day.” And when I didn’t follow those exact steps, I’d be plagued with guilt. Instead, I set the intention of “I want to feel fulfilled.” That shift of perspective and purpose forced me to look inward to understand what would make me feel fulfilled. Would it be having energy all day after a workout, or would it be fitting into my college jeans?
I continued to test this type of thinking. While I never thought I could be an early workout person, I went a little outside of my comfort zone to give it a shot. Soon I realized I instantly felt better for the rest of the day when I worked out first thing in the morning–eliminating my earlier misconception. I then started to feel more fulfilled by the new energy I was getting.
Even though my fitness routine improved, my new level of self-awareness made me notice that I was feeling unfulfilled when it came to my social interactions. Working solo was starting to make me feel the effects of burnout, so I needed to find another way to connect with myself and others to decompress. While I thought the problem was spending time alone, I tried going to events solo. I quickly realized how much more fulfilled I felt creating these new connections and how it enabled me to grow my network while being wholly myself.
By consistently questioning my intention and mindset, I was able to personalize my lifestyle better.
Why couldn’t I be the best version of myself each day? That was the thinking I embraced all of last year, and that’s where intention setting comes in.
The most challenging step in the process of setting intentions is the process of looking in and asking yourself those tough questions. Looking inward means actually creating the space to dive deep into your wants and needs through silence to understand how your body is feeling and what you need daily (without judgment).
Think about it as you would about the intention you’re asked to set at the start of a yoga class, but this is an intention for your entire day. As humans, our emotions can flip like a switch at any given moment. You may be in the best mood one moment, and then all of a sudden, it starts raining and you don’t have an umbrella or a friend calls to unload all of their problems. You can’t control external triggers, but you can control what you hope to get out of each day. Regardless of what happens, you can always return to an intention.
If you want to try it out, then an easy winter intention might be to feel rejuvenated. How you achieve that feeling is different for everyone. For some, it’s taking time to rest. For others, it’s going to workout. What’s important is that you do the work of “going” in to find out. Maybe you do it through journaling or meditation. Maybe you do it through a rigorous run or mental health day. Or perhaps you simply wake up one morning and ask yourself, “what do I need?” before grabbing for your phone.
The more questions you ask of yourself, the more answers you’ll be able to find. At least that was the case for me throughout 2019. I learned, much as I knew, that feelings and emotions change daily. I realized how life-changing it was to tune into my thoughts sooner rather than later for my goals to be actualized. The more I continued to set intentions based on how I was feeling each day, the more I understood how much quicker I was able to achieve what I was looking for.
Want to give it a shot? Check out my 7-steps to intention setting.
Here’s to a year of well-intentioned results.
Content courtesy of Liana Pavane, digital wellness expert and founder of TTYL—a tech-free community dedicated to human connection.
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, LIANA PAVANE
Liana founded TTYL in 2018 to help people have a healthier relationship with technology and social media. Since launching, she has been featured on NY1, Bedford + Bowery, The Joy List, the SHIPS podcast, and more for her work in digital wellness.
As a professional community builder, Liana believes in the power of unplugging and living in the present moment. Her tech-free events have been hosted at prominent spaces such as Athleta, Showfields, The Assemblage, The Phluid Project, and Tijuana Picnic.
Liana is also a born and raised New Yorker who studied theatre at Ithaca College. When she’s not growing her business or hosting an event, you can find Liana networking with like-minded people or finding joy away from her phone.