How About New Year's Intentions, Instead of Resolutions?

This year, try setting intentions instead of making resolutions. The difference is subtle, and your success may surprise you.

I was chatting up art stuff with my new friend and transformative artist, Judy Shintani. Judy recently completed curating and organizing the art show and fundraiser at Pasta Moon in on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Judy is someone I admire and consider to be really successful. She left the corporate world after receiving a Master's Degree in Transformative Art from JFK University and is now a full time artist and art facilitator.

I couldn’t make it to many of the events for the Doctors Without Borders show due to moving and being sick, but I heard from so many people who did attend various panels, or the opening and closing ceremonies how great this show was. Judy said they raised a satsifying amount of donations for the cause, and she was pretty exhausted from all the work it took to organize, put up and take down the show with all the attendant activities.

I asked Judy about what it takes to be successful in a show and she advised that you have to be really clear on your intention before you have the show. Are you seeking to get your work out there and seen, and if so, by what audience? Are you wanting to sell work? Are you simply wanting to say you were in a show?

None of these are right or wrong - but her answer was a good one: be clear about your intention.  When I have intention, I am more likely to experience success. Is this true for you? Do you notice a difference if you go at something willy-nilly, versus setting out goals and objectives for yourself?

It IS that time of year to make resolutions, if you are so inclined. I’ve long since stopped making resolutions, switching instead to making intentions or goals for the year. However, I am gentle with myself that these are not like work goals and objectives where I chastise myself if I fail to meet a goal. They are suggestions. I consider them wishes that alight gently onto the paper, knowing the Universe will see them, hear them and possibly respond to them. My favorite saying is by Lucius Annaeus Seneca: luck is when preparation meets opportunity. 

If I have done my homework by sifting through my thoughts to find my intentions, then when opportunities present themselves, I will feel prepared and ready to seize them. I often say I am lucky, but I know that the luck is in realizing there is an opportunity to be taken by me. I have more courage and can quickly act on my intuition when my intentions have been put to paper.

It is not enough to just think about my intentions, and it is not required that I write them out in gory detail, with timelines and percentage and sub-goals, as I might do for important objectives at work. My intentions live in a magical place out in the soup of the Universe, floating around waiting for some fairy dust and sunshine to ignite them.  That energy is felt by me down here in the real world and I know, with a lurch in my gut that it is time to make that move toward realizing the goal.
Things happen really fast when everything is aligned, and that’s why people around me think I’m lucky. I’m grateful for the opportunities I receive and I do my part by acting on them to realize my success.

I started by patting myself on the back for 2011 successes. There's nothing like that heady feeling of "I can do it" to put you in a good place for more success.

Here's what I got done in 2011:

  • Launched Bad Art Night west and didn’t miss any meetings. Had a few extras during "off" weeks. Supported the Canadian group. Got some great press throughout the year.
  • Held two mixed media workshops that participants loved.
  • Went to Puerto Vallarta in February for a fantastic destination Vision Card workshop and vacation with family and friends.
  • Co-led a fully subscribed Vision Card workshop with Laurie Phillips.
  • Participated in several art shows of my work: , my own solo print show, Flesh of My Flesh, and was the featured artist on the Women's Caucus for Art website through all of April.
  • Sold some artwork.
  • Progressed my engineering consulting career by doing some great projects for great clients: UCOP, SCE, KTVU/KICU, TBC, and Genentech.
  • Built and moved in to my new house and art studio.
  • Participated in .


For 2012, here is a start on my list of intentions:

  • Curate a Bad Art Night show with help from an artist friend that includes panels, opening and closing parties and a book/calendar; get the word out there about Bad Art Night.
  • Get my show booth situation straightened out so people start buying my work.
  • Have a solo show of my Bad Art. (Soon after I thought this, I was offered a space for May. COMPLETED).
  • Refresh my art website and add new images throughout the year - COMPLETED.
  • Submit my Sketchbook Project sketchbook, "Tell Me A Story" in January, and go see it when the collection tours.
  • Do a 2012 Sketchbook Project.
  • Help Bad Art Night launch in 2-3 more locations.
  • Hold 2 Vision Card workshops.
  • Do a collaborative art challenge with my art twin Laura McHugh in New Jersey - WEBSITE IS SET UP.
  • Do a photo a day 2012 with others or on my own.
  • Hold at least 2-3 art spas (workshops) in my new studio space.
  • Get my art into 2-3 group shows.
  • Take 2-3 art classes/workshops.
  • Support 1 woman at the Women’s Art Institute summer residency through a scholarship donation.

What intentions will you put to paper this year so you can have success in 2012?

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Laura McHUgh December 30, 2011 at 01:14 AM
you go girl....that is some list both past and to come...keep up the great work sister Laura McHugh....looking forward to our venture this year....... xoxo laura
Linda Theroff December 30, 2011 at 06:58 AM
Laura, this is wonderful! I will focus on and write my intentions too and send blessings and Light to you and for your intentions! Thank you for all your inspiration, kindness and friendship! Hugs, Linda
Laura McHugh December 30, 2011 at 09:14 AM
Laura and Linda - I just plod along, clear about what I want in my heart. The rest just takes care of itself. What wasn't on 2011's list? Meeting some wonderful new people like the twos of youse!
Judy Shintani December 31, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Hey you're a true inspiration Laura! Looking forward to "art-ing" with you in 2012!
Laura McHugh December 31, 2011 at 12:34 AM
Thank you Judy. I think we all inspire each other. Happy New Year!
Laura C. Strom January 04, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Great idea, Laura! I love it. The difference between resolutions (which nearly always fail) and intentions (which any movement towards is to be celebrated) is huge! Good luck with yours, and you've given me food for thought about mine. Thanks!
Laura McHugh January 11, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Laura - we are all in good company when we intend to make things better. We limit ourselves with resolutions - they aren't expansive enough to allow the Universe to respond with all that is possible through intentions.


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