VIlma Reynoso

Inspiring authentic transformation in people for a kinder, more compassionate world.


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Forget Your New Year’s Resolutions: Do This Instead

The new year is here (or almost here depending on where you are in the world), and you are feeling apathetic about creating goals for 2020. Or, you are sick of people asking what your goals are. Or worse, you are tired of setting up goals for the coming year and failing to achieve them (Sometimes giving up during the first week of the year!). Nothing could feel worse than this.

I have been there and emphasize.

“What are your goals for 2020?” “Did you create a list of New Year’s resolutions?” “Are you going to the gym on Jan 1st to start the new year with a bang?” Oh stop already! Shut up already, right?

Blah, blah, blah…

Here’s the hard truth: goals give us direction and purpose but they do not always make us happy. Read that again: goals give us direction and purpose but they do not always make us happy. So, then what?

Throughout my various decades of living with lots of trial and error including elation, misery, and everything in between, I have learned that without intent, goals do not make us happy, they do not ultimately satisfy, they do not bring joy, and we feel flat and discouraged.

What is Intent

According to dictionary.com, the word intent is defined as “the state of a person’s mind that directs his or her actions towards a specific object.” Intent is also defined as “meaning or significance.” The origin of this word, intent, was first recorded in Middle English (1175–1225). It is from Late Latin intentus “an aim or purpose,” and from Latin intentus “a stretching out.” Intending is directing your mind towards a path that gives your life meaning. It is the mindset that comes before setting your goals. An intent can be used for a life goal, a goal for the day, the week, the month, or the coming year. For the purposes of this blog, I will explain how to create an intent for the new year.

Why an Intent

We all seek and want to have meaning in our lives, but sometimes we fall short. Have you ever set a goal and not accomplished it? Or when was the last time you gave up on your goals when things got tough and then beat yourself up later? We have all been there. I believe that when we give up on our goals, it is because we did not set a personal intent. Our intent is the first step in accomplishing what we want.

If we ponder what the deeper meaning is behind what we do, we will survive the challenges that life throws at us. When things become difficult and we are tempted to quit, we will muster up our resilience and do whatever we need to do to make it happen. If we set an intention for the year, for example, we will not give up because we know the meaning behind the action. We will not give up because we know that every small thing we need to do to reach our goals contributes to a higher purpose.

How to Form an Intent

Consider what you believe, what you stand for, what you love, what you value, what you appreciate, what you see in the world that you think needs to improve, what you despise, or what makes you come alive to set your intent. Ponder, meditate, or journal about it. Does anything stand out to you? For example, my intent for 2020 and the coming decade is to inspire authentic transformation in others for a more compassionate world. This is my intention, my BIG picture and the reason why I get out of bed in the morning. Our world is very troubled, and I believe, together, we can improve it. So, based on my personal intent, my main goal for 2020 is to grow my business to a full-time status so I can inspire and teach on a bigger level. Make sense?

How to Take Action on an Intent

Taking action on an intent is where our goals come in. Yes, I mentioned the G word, “goals.” Here is a short process on how to achieve your dreams based on your intent. Remember that an intent precedes your goals: it is what gets you up in the morning and dictates what you will do each day.

  1. Decide what your intent is. Write it down and put it somewhere where you can see it every day: add it to your cell phone, iPad, laptop, mirror, wall, journal, or anywhere you will see it. Let it be an encouraging reminder for you daily!
  2. Ponder how you want to achieve that intent. This might take some time, so be patient with yourself, and give yourself time to truly consider it. What are your strengths, what do you love to do, what would you love to learn, or what do enjoy doing that you would do without getting paid? What could you do that would best make your intent a reality? You might go back to school, start a business, become a long distance runner, open a community center, become a philanthropist, start a Meetup, etc. The list is endless but specific for you.
  3. Decide how you will make your goals a reality. This is, in my opinion, the most challenging part. Brainstorm some main things that need to happen for you to accomplish your goals WITH your intent in mind. It is important to focus on your intent, so you are excited when writing down the major steps needed to accomplish your dreams. For example, if you want to start a dog-walking business in 2020, I would list something like this: decide on a name for the company, create a website, research established dog walkers and how they do business, learn how to run a business, etc. Depending on your level of experience or knowledge, these are major projects that will require some time to accomplish. Once you have these written down, you can proceed to step four.
  4. Break down your main goals into smaller tasks that you can accomplish daily. You could even just do ONE task a day, and you will get closer to reaching your ultimate goal. For example, to start the dog walking business, you could list what needs to be done to research other dog walking businesses: do a google search, visit your local Chamber of Commerce, ask your local community center if they know anyone in the business, read blogs or articles about the dog walking business. You get the picture! Every task will bring you closer to your goals. What is important is knowing that every task contributes to deeper meaning in your life (your intent).
  5. Do not give up when things become tough. Notice I said “when” and not “if.” You will experience resistance of some sort (we all do) because you are growing, and with growth comes some difficulty. Remember your intent for your week, month, year, or even decade and you will have the strength to proceed despite some obstacles. Some goals might take longer than you anticipated, and this is okay. It happens. If you have a clear intent, you will eventually succeed. Go for it!

Resolutions, especially for the upcoming year, usually fall by the wayside. Intent is a state of mind that directs your actions towards a specific object, to a specific dream life, if you wish. Learn to create intent, follow that intent with specific goals, and be mindful of your intent every day. If you do, you will accomplish great things. Your life will matter. Your life will shine.

Happy 2020 and the years beyond.


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The Pattern

“What do you know?”

There was no doubt that I was not prepared for this question at the interview! The question should have been, “Tell me about yourself?” or “What did you do at your previous job?” I was a bit perplexed and my mind froze for a few seconds as I desperately tried to think of a good response that would surely get me the job. But, as I write this blog, I seriously cannot remember what I said. I do know, however, that whatever it was did not get me the job, and now I know why.

If I were asked this question today, I would respond with something like this: “I know Me. I know what I like, what I want, what I do not want, and what I stand for. I know what it is like to spend a day in utter despair and also what it is like to spend a day so gratifying that I never want it to end; I know how to balance my checkbook, make vegan lasagna without a recipe, run a half marathon, research and schedule a trip to Europe, make love, spend a day at the beach, write essays, dance, get sucked into my favorite CD, laugh until my stomach hurts, meet and make new friends, and gargle. I know that people are more important than anything else, that life is not about what you have accomplished but about enjoying the ride; I know that happiness and joy are always, each and every time, my choice; I know what it is like to feel the freezing wind on my cheeks, the hot sun on my flesh, and the soft snow on my face. I know that things and money come and go but my experience and my character stay.  I know that no matter what the job entails, I can do it because I believe in who I am and believe in what I do. I know life. ”

It takes time (and sometimes lots of it) to come to the realization that life is a gift and truly is amazing!  It takes experience (and sometimes lots of it) to come to the thorough understanding that you know more than you think you know. At a time when I was questioning what I will do next in my life professionally, someone gave me a bit of great advice: they told me to list everything I have ever done (whether I enjoyed it or not), read it over, meditate on it, and then find the pattern. This includes listing every job I have ever had, every creative or recreational experience I’ve had, every trip or vacation I had taken, every creative activity I partook in, anything I accomplished and took pride in, schools I attended, hobbies I enjoyed, anything I tried only once, anything that made my heart come alive, and also the difficult, heart-wrenching life experiences I have had. I decided to take up the challenge, and here is a partial list of what I wrote:

  • Taught 2nd-5th graders as an assistant elementary school teacher
  • Bought a condo and a house
  • Started my own business
  • Created many recipes from scratch
  • Traveled to forty eight states
  • Attended both of my parents’ funerals
  • Took scuba diving lessons
  • Discovered I loved to scrapbook and made many albums
  • Moved across the USA to different cities a few times
  • Fell in love (well, more than once)
  • Experienced a broken heart (also more than once)
  • Volunteered to teach English to immigrants
  • Left an abusive marriage
  • Became a mother
  • Ran three half marathons and many other shorter distance races
  • Graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado
  • Obtained four different certifications in different subjects of interest
  • Painted almost every room in my house a different color
  • Read and studied many books
  • Fell asleep laying on a hammock on the big island of Hawaii
  • Met many people
  • Went to hundreds of concerts
  • Cruised in the Caribbean and the South Pacific Seas
  • Was a cheerleader
  • Worked as a reporting analyst, a travel agent, a teacher, a sales rep, and an administrative assistant (and more)
  • Visited and experienced the former twin towers in New York City
  • Performed on stage as a dancer and actress

And the list goes on!

What did I learn from this? Not only did I appreciate my life more, but I learned that I had experienced more than I had realized! I apparently love variety and the physical. I enjoy learning and stretching myself, inspiring others and teaching. I love to be creative. I need to be engaged and active.  Yes, it was encouraging to look over this list, but the most important lesson I learned from this exercise and reviewing my list was that I had the courage, confidence and faith to step out and do something new and different. And, as I step out once again with my own coaching business, I know that deep inside, I still have the courage, confidence and faith. Putting myself in someone else’s box or corporate version of who I “should” be is no longer an option.

Perhaps you are dissatisfied with what you are doing with your life and are struggling with what to do next? What is your list? Everyone has one. Even if you think you do not have one, you DO. I would encourage you to take some time and write your list. Without editing what comes to mind, list everything you have done in your life – your hobbies, your accomplishments, the schools you attended, clubs you were part of, jobs or careers you had, the good and difficult experiences you have had, etc.  This might take some time, so it is okay to brainstorm in more than one session. Once you are done, review all that you have accomplished.  What are the activities that made you come alive when you wrote and thought about them?  How did you feel when you performed the activity? Can you remember how you felt before, during and after you did those things? How you feel indicates whether there is life in that activity for you. Then see the pattern of your life. Are there activities in your past that you loved that are similar? Or, are you all over the map like I am? What are the common threads to these activities? Once you find your pattern, you will get a clearer idea of who you are, what excites you, and what your passion(s) is. Once you know that, you are on your way to changing your life to a more satisfying and joyful one.

The truth is you and I know a lot. And, deep inside, we know what our spirit is calling us to do. Sometimes, it is just a matter of clearing out the chaos in our lives so we can see our pattern. Once we see it, “What do you know?” becomes a very easy question for us to answer.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso