Setting Intentions & Forming New Habits: Sharing Life’s Lessons
Plus, join me on a 21-Day Total Transformation Beaming Cleanse!
by Colleen Angeles
The practice of setting an intention…
Each year I set an intention, in the form of a word. In 2016, my word for the year was: SPONTANEOUS. I am naturally spontaneous, yet I found that in the year prior I wanted to root more in LA and travel less, so I did. Then 2016 hit and my fire was relit! I set a goal to travel out of the country every month, and with the exception of only a few months (which I still traveled within the U.S.) – I nailed it! For me, adventure is a core value. I’d live in my bikini, traveling the world, chasing the sun, on/in the ocean, exploring cultures and helping to create impact in people’s lives all-day long, every day if I could. Well I do…and I want to do more of it! I’m a bikini nomad + social entrepreneur and I love it.
As I look to the new year, I haven’t 100% locked in on my word, and my gut says it will be: EXPANSION. Expansion in many different ways — expansion of my heart (and my soul), expansion of my personal development and growth, expansion of my professional development and growth, expansion of my mind thru intellect, yoga and meditation, expansion of my body through nutrition and reclaiming my rhythm of workouts, and expansion of my vulnerability to be open to things I may otherwise miss out on. I’m ready to spread my wings even more beautifully and take flight!
Through discipline, we form habits…
My vision is clear to me. Now the Type A in me then thinks: HOW. I’ve learned that setting goals is deeply important; however, not as a checklist, rather as a guide. There are two key things that come to mind when I think of the HOW – DISCIPLINE and HABITS.
For me, discipline is a part of having a practice (less about having control) – whether that practice is yoga, getting eight hours of sleep a night, focused work time, regular workouts, staying present with those around you, or prioritizing quality time with family and friends. It all takes discipline. There are so many “shiny things” (as my dear friend Alex says) that distract us. And yet, it’s not the shiny things that determine our actions, it’s our discipline (or lack of) that influences whether or not, for example, I will get up at 5:30 a.m. for yoga (that’s a real challenge for me). I’m not always disciplined and that’s okay. And I know that to reprogram my brain and to let go of old habits and form new ones that align with what I want in life and who I want to be, I must cultivate a consistent practice of discipline so I can tap into it when I need it.
Learn from others, as you don’t have time to learn it all on your own…
So that leads me to habits. There are many quotes I gravitate toward from life’s greatest teachers. Sharing a few here to spark reflection and inspiration for you as you think about your own habits.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
“Cultivating inner discipline is something that takes time; expecting rapid results is simple a sign of impatience.” – Dalai Lama
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.” – Dalai Lama
“I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” – Stephen R Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
“The time is always right to do what is right.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
So, how many days does it take to form a new habit?
In the context of habits, my left-brain (analytical side) thrives in wanting to understand neuroscience and how our brains work. I think about research studies that say it takes 21, 66 or 100 days to from new habits. I don’t get stuck on the number, rather I believe it is totally dependent on the individual, the complexity of the habit, consistency and probably a bunch of other factors. What I do believe is that it takes repetition – and my personal baseline is typically 21 days (besides, 66 or 100 sounds like a lot of days!).
My coffee experiment…
I LOVE coffee. I spent eight years of my life working at Starbucks Headquarters in Seattle and loved every minute. Then one night here in LA, I was sitting in a Buddhism class at InsightLA and the subject of Non-Addition came up. I asked myself: what am I addicted to? The only thing I could think of was coffee. So I set out to practice non-addiction, and quite honestly to prove to myself that I could reprogram my mind and body (queue my fascination with neuroscience).
At first I went 7 days without coffee (like I would do for a cleanse), then 21 (first coined by Maxwell Maltz), then 30, 40, 50, 60 … at each milestone I would taste coffee to see if I still craved it. I did … until I hit day 100. It was then that I felt completely in choice of whether or not I wanted it. My craving was gone, and I was free to choose. Wa-lah! It was such an insightful practice for me. I had to reprogram my brain to not rely on coffee. I reprogrammed my habitual behavior of going to get coffee every morning and instead formed a new habit to enjoy a Beaming Vitality Shot poured into warm water (inspired by the Ayurveda practice of warm water with lemon). Along the way, I told everyone I was off coffee. Part of a winning formula for any goal is to tell people so they can rally around you to help!
And ultimately, I learned a lot about myself, what I am capable of, and I was reminded that I am the author of my life. Plus, my competitive side was really proud that I tackled this goal head on and accomplished it. It felt good to be disciplined – like when I make it to 6 a.m. yoga (which means going to bed early and pushing myself to get up in the 5s). And, there’s so much power in small wins. After all, how we do the little things is how we do the big things.
I’m rambling now…and there’s a method to my madness. Habits also take form in the ENERGY you take in and give out. As you set your 2017 intention and contemplate which habits you want to let go of and create, think about your energy management – how you want to feel, how you want to smile, laugh, connect with and inspire others. The secret to your new habits may not be found in a “tactical” goal – the secret may be INSIDE OF YOU!
My 21-day Beaming Cleanse challenge…join me in January!
As with the vast majority of humans at the onset of a new year, I too will be kicking off a 21-day challenge! Beaming has a 21-Day Total Transformation Cleanse that has my name all over it. It will be totally customized to my lifestyle and my health and wellness goals. This will be the first time that I have focused on my meal plan for 21 consecutive days. I’ve done things like eliminate dairy, wheat, meat for lots of days – dare I say I really accomplished other 30-day challenges I’ve tried. Discipline, I lacked discipline. This is my year of EXPANSION and I can’t do it without discipline. And saying it out loud to you here means I need your support!
If you’ve made it this far down, then I would love to invite you to join me on Beaming’s 21-Day Total Transformation Cleanse. Learn more about the cleanse here and feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love building community and would truly value some extra support to help me live into my 2017 intention and form new habits that will make me (us) glow!
Happy New Year!
I can’t wait to hear what your intentions are, please do share. I love the quote, “You never know who you will inspire.” So live out loud and let others rally around YOU!
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