5 Intention-setting Ideas for Individual Growth

Celebrating the Month of Love

When we think about the month of February, it often brings up thoughts of Valentine’s Day.  It is also a month to honor American Heart Month and Black History Month.  And this year happens to be a leap year as well!

I believe what ties all of these occasions together is an opportunity for individual (mental, physical, emotional) growth.  When world challenges loom so large, we might feel helpless or even hopeless, which hurts our hearts.  Yet, if we create space to turn inward, to look at what needs tending in our own gardens, whether our physical health or weeding out old beliefs that are choking our ability to flourish, then we can find some peace in knowing that our individual growth will contribute to the evolution of the collective consciousness of the world.

Below are some intention-setting ideas for consideration to support your journey inward this month:

  1. Be kind.   A good starting point for individual growth is to be more kind towards yourself.  Consider ways (i.e., thoughts, actions) that you might offer yourself kindness this month.  Perhaps write them down and put them in a place that you can see your list each day, maybe by your bathroom mirror or stuck to your computer screen.  Remember, the universe gets confused by the word “No” and all other forms of it (i.e., not, can’t, won’t, isn’t).  So when constructing your Be Kind list, make sure the statements are framed in a positive format.  For example, saying “I won’t criticize myself.” is interpreted by the universe as “I criticize myself.”  A possible reframe might be “I offer myself compassion more when I make mistakes.”
  2. What matters most.  If we know what matters most to us, it becomes the rudder in the storms of life.  Consider taking some time this month (maybe under the new moon on 2/9 or to celebrate the Year of the Dragon on 2/10) to sit and write down what matters most to you.  Perhaps expand on the items you might identify with the “Why” it is important to you.  If you might want a starting point to support this effort, a list of values (from Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead) can be found here.
  3. Make a difference.  Once you have a better sense of what is important to you, let it guide you towards spaces that support focusing your energy in making a difference, whether to others or the planet.  Those spaces can be any size, not just large spaces.  Remember, if we all focus on our individual growth, trust that the collective growth will be HUGE.  So consider taking small steps and know it is enough, you are enough!
  4. Express gratitude.  Taking time to identify those people, places, actions and things that you appreciate creates space for joy to present and grow.  Reflecting on those moments of gratitude allows you to savor the experiences.  Exercising your gratitude muscles on a regular basis begins to tilt the natural tendency of the brain away from the negative and towards the positive, so we are better equipped to deal with adversity when it arises.  Consider options of starting a gratitude journal or identifying 3 things each evening before going to bed that you are grateful for.  If you wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep because the mind gets active, perhaps try and give it a bone by focusing on the three things you were grateful for from your day.
  5. Celebrate.  If you do try any of the above, it is important to take time to notice your progress and change and celebrate it!  Consider visualizing how you felt in the past when you took a positive step forward on your individual growth journey, no matter how small it might have seemed at the time.  Maybe it was finishing that book you had been reading for awhile or it was after you spent the day volunteering at an organization you align with.  Can you now visualize how you might congratulate yourself for taking that step forward?  Celebrate you everyday, not just on your birthday!
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