On the Mat, Off the Mat

Off the mat / Philosophy

Welcome to 2016 – set your intention for the new year

Hello and a very happy new year! Wishing you all the very best for 2016.
I’m looking forward to a year with more mat time, more articles, sharing more ideas and knowledge and growing with you as you grow with me.


While I don’t necessarily believe in the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions, I do feel at the start of a new journey, it’s a good idea to set intentions. “Resolution” generally implies resolving something, like a conflict, based on action. The main issue with resolutions is that they never last and then you are left feeling disappointment or a sense of failure if you don’t “stick” to them. Intentions are different to resolutions in that they shift focus from what you want to achieve and be, to HOW you want to be or HOW you want to do something. Resolutions somehow set a hardline between success and failure. So instead of asking “what do I want to do” maybe ask “how do I intend to live or do …?” For example, if you resolve to do yoga or workout 3-4 times a week, rather set an intention to live a healthier lifestyle. So if your schedule gets too busy and you can’t stick to your 3-4 times a week schedule, you’re not failing because if the intention is to live a healthier lifestyle, this can still be achieved by eating well, sleeping enough or by making other healthy lifestyle choices. Intentions let you be more flexible and creative with your commitments.

Resolutions are set for and happen in the future, intentions happen in the present moment. Resolutions deal more with external relationships and events whereas intentions focus more on your internal environment. I’m not saying don’t have a plan for your year or goals, of course there needs to be a direction in which you want to progress your life, but it’s really about the HOW that makes all the difference. When I finished studying, I had a vision of working in a specific area of the city I was living in, I wanted to work at a big company and there had to be big windows. So I went out and I got just that. I got a job at a company with over 300 people in the area I wanted and I had a desk right next to a window but I was so unhappy! The company had no proper management for the department I was working in. The projects I worked on were really demotivating and uninspiring and the lack of leadership was very frustrating. Now you must know I am very much an optimist and am all about having the right attitude towards life and what you do, so when I say the work I was doing was making me unhappy, it really was very banal work and coupled with an environment with no proper management, it was hell. So right here is an example of ticking all the boxes, on the outside I got everything I wanted but on the inside ….I guess I wasn’t specific enough about how I wanted to feel in that situation.

What I learnt from that lesson was, when having a dream or goal, was to set an intention of how I wanted to FEEL in that external setting. It worked! Years later, myself and my life-partner, now husband, started our own company, just the two of us crammed into literally, half our garage. But the space didn’t matter because I was so happy doing the work we were doing! The intention to be inspired and work on interesting projects was what we were doing…eventually we moved out of the garage into offices but the focus has always been on how we feel about the work.

Spend some time thinking about your year last year, reflect on yourself and how you responded to different circumstances and events in your life. See where you want to make a change, where you can grow and then look ahead to the new year, you can’t always know what lies ahead but you can set an intention to try be a certain way in your life and imagine the life you want to lead. Start today. Go easy on yourself. Don’t lose heart when things don’t happen exactly as you think they should….they never do but as long as whatever happens is inline with what you had intended, be open and flexible enough to appreciate that.