The New Year is an opportune time to reflect upon your values and priorities, and to set an intention to align your life with these values. Setting an intention shouldn’t be confused with goal setting—it’s not something you attach an expectation or evaluation to; rather, it’s a deliberate vision, a purpose, or attitude you’d be proud to commit to, one that matches your deepest sense of who you are.

"You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment." - Seth Godin

Establishing an intention helps create more clarity in your life, especially when the seed is properly planted and nurtured. Intention setting creates an internal mindset in which you can be mindful about your thoughts, behaviors and actions in support of your vision. Unlike a New Year’s resolution, which is often quickly cast aside, intentions can be revisited and reaffirmed throughout the year. Practicing in this way keeps us mindfully living in alignment with our conscious desires and values, and supports us in living lives of meaning and purpose.

My seminal intention for 2017 is to be mindful about the activities and experiences that support my mental healthiness.

Mental healthiness forms the foundation of our lives. Our mental health, or lack of it, affects our sense of self-worth and identity; it also impacts our intimate relationships. As a therapist, it is my ethical responsibility to support my own mental healthiness, because I can only take my patients as far as I am willing to go. Therefore, my seminal intention for 2017 is to be mindful about the activities and experiences that support my mental healthiness. I intend to:

  1. Aim to make time for reflection through journaling, therapy or art.
  2. Muster up the courage to face my fears, especially the ones that make me feel particularly vulnerable.
  3. Meditate and be self-aware so that I can continue to grow my pre-frontal cortex--the wise, human part of the brain.
  4. Be flexible in my responses and pause before I react, especially in my most intimate relationships.
  5. Choose to have a growth mindset and be open and adaptive in my daily life.
  6. Be mindful of my programmed identity and default coping mechanisms.
  7. Live more fully in the present moment.
  8. Engage in activities and with people that connect me to my vitality and aliveness.
  9. Express myself authentically, even when I think it may disappoint others.
  10. Have self-compassion.

There's no better time to start intentionally envisioning your connection to your values and highest aspirations. What’s your boldest vision for your one amazing, precious life?

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Dr. Nadine Macaluso has been in practice as a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist since 2008, living and working in Manhattan Beach, CA. The vision of her work is to help people gain awareness of and express their authentic self. As well as reach their full potential, have rich intimate connections and to relieve suffering. She believes that the more connected one is to their authentic self they will have greater connection with others. Awareness of and connection to our authentic selves supports well-being and greater mental health. For fun, Nadine likes to paint, exercise, cook and spend time with her husband of 16 years, 5 grown children and 2 poodles.

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Intention.

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