Mindful Moments: Intentions

It’s hard to believe that second semester has begun, and the first full week of classes has already come and gone.

Over break, as the new year rolled around, I noticed many people discussing their various New Year’s resolutions and what they were looking forward to with the fresh start. Although reflection and change can happen at any moment in time, the new year is a good opportunity to reflect on the past year. It can be helpful and healing to review the growth, challenges and happy moments the year brought with it and where one has moved on their life path.

I’m not typically one for New Year’s resolutions — they can often set up unrealistic expectations and thus lead to disappointment. Instead, I like to think about setting New Year’s intentions. I usually think about what I want to expand in my life to help me live up to my fullest and happiest potential. I consider what is motivating me to achieve that, summed up into a word or a phrase that I can remind myself of throughout the year.

The new semester, in many ways, can be treated as sort of a “new year” as well. Whatever the fall semester may have brought, good or bad, there is always room for reflection and growth. Winter break can act as a sort of reset, and coming back to Tufts after some time off is a good way to clear one’s mind and feel refreshed.

Focusing on new intentions for the semester can be helpful and grounding, especially during such a volatile time in our country and our world. It isn’t easy, nor is it realistic, to avoid worry and anxiety at all times, but having a word, phrase, idea or feeling to always come back to is a good way to re-center oneself during a moment of stress.

I’ve decided to approach this semester with the intention to be more mindful, present and compassionate. To me, this entails living each moment to its fullest and trying to minimize worries about the past and the future. I want to be focused on where I am right now in my life and enjoy the moments as they come. I will spend the semester practicing gratitude and enjoying the little things.

Because of my own shift in intentions for this new semester, I’ve decided to change the direction of this column somewhat. Last semester, this column was called “Jumping Hurdles,” and I wrote of my various musings about life in college. This semester, the content of this column won’t change much — I’ll still focus on “jumping hurdles,” but I want to focus more on my own personal New Year’s intentions — mindfulness, being present and compassion and how these can translate into daily life.

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