By Paul von Bergen

With the new year firmly established it is appropriate to reflect on the direction of our life and whether we are creating the reality we want. It is also a time when a lot of us set goals with the belief that this will more likely make them happen. How often do you find breaking new years resolutions within the first few weeks?

It is important to understand the difference between the setting of goals and the setting of intentions and I would suggest that it is more important and more beneficial to focus on intentions.

Goals are an imagined future state where we hope or wish for something to occur. Maybe to get that new job, find a boyfriend or get rich. Whilst goals are useful in that they help us organise our time and energy they are often not completely in our control and lots of other factors come into play. The failure to achieve them can lead to disappointment and unhappiness.

Alternatively you can focus on the setting of intentions. These are more focused on inhabiting a certain state of mind or a way of being. These grounded intentions are completely within our control because they are internal. It might be that you are suffering from a particular emotion, a negative thinking pattern or an intense physical sensation.

An intention might be to focus on a different emotion, sensation or thinking pattern or indeed to create a daily practice where you observe the particular thing that has been causing you suffering and you deliberately practice not labelling that thing good or bad, desirable or undesirable but observe it for what it is, just a physical sensation, thought or emotion that has arisen within your consciousness.

By regularly practicing this slight detachment from the unhelpful thought, sensation or emotion you will start to dissolve its power to cause you suffering or unhappiness.

These topics and more are explored on the Mindfulness Retreats held twice a month at