We’re at the end of 2018 and it’s that time of the year again – where we commit to changes that we probably committed to last year but got sidetracked by “life” or whatever. Jan is also when I start teaching my traditional shaman classes and begin working the south wind again. We’ll be going through south wind for the next three months. The south wind archetype is the snake, which teaches us to shed the things not in our highest good like the snake sheds it skin. Like the serpent, we emerge a better version of ourselves. This past year I made huge changes. I’m going to be making more in 2019. However, this year, instead of making resolutions or setting goals, I’m setting intentions. Here’s why: GOALS RESIDE OUTSIDE OUR CONTROL As shaman, we learn to be unattached to outcomes and operate from a place of personal power. That means, we control the things WE can control and let go of the things that we can’t control. We can’t control what other people do. We CAN control whether or not we react to it and how we react to what that other person does. How does this relate to goal setting and resolutions? First, lets look at what a goal is. Ahhh…goals…that check list we gauge our productivity by! What happens when we reach that goal? We check it off the list and set another one! It’s a never ending list, isn’t it? Also, goals are black and white. You either did or you didn’t achieve them. Like that saying “Close enough only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” What happens if we don’t reach that goal? We get down on ourselves for not trying hard enough to achieve it. But how much control did we REALLY have over whether or not that goal was achieved? Did it depend on other people or circumstances to line up? Did you really fail or just miss your mark? When you set a goal that depends on outside influences, you place the control over whether or not you succeed outside your self. You are not in total control over whether or not you achieve that goal. You can put in the effort but at the end of the day, it may not be completely within your power to achieve it. INTENTIONS LIE WITHIN OUR CONTROL Intentions, on the other hand, live within your Control. As shaman, we know that all things are connected energetically. Intention is energy directed toward achieving a specific outcome. We control where we direct that energy. Living with intention is a lifestyle, not a to do list. We wake up and work toward that end outcome every day. We direct our thoughts and actions in a positive manner that results in arriving at the intended destination. When we live with intention, we’re also leveraging the power of the Universe’s law of attraction by putting out the vibe “Hey, I am living my life as if this outcome has already been achieved.” The universe/higher self/spirit- whatever you choose to call it will line up exactly what you need to manifest that outcome. So how do you change a goal or resolution into an intention? Let’s use probably THE most popular New Year’s resolution: To lose weight. Goal setting experts will tell you to get real specific. How much do you want to lose and in what time? What are you going to do on a monthly/weekly/daily basis to reach that goal? You might say I want to lose 25 lbs in three months. You make a plan to go to the gym 5 days a week and eat a specific diet. You download apps to keep you accountable. You are all in and the pressure is on to do it so that in three months you can look at that scale and see it reads 25 lbs less. WOOO that’s a lot of work! What if instead of all that, you just set the intention every day (when you start your day) to make healthy food choices for your body and to move it at least 30 minutes. Just for that day. Healthy choices can mean anything from eating paleo or keto to just cutting out sugar. Whatever – you consciously decide to be kind to your body, feed it what it needs and not consume the stuff that hurts it. If you live with this intention, I guarantee you that you will lose weight. And you form a lifelong habit of caring for your physical body. And that’s what we’re going for with intentions vs goals: developing habits that result in improving our lives, whether that’s in our career, relationships or physical health. That’s why I’m setting intentions this year and not resolutions or goals.