The new year is a great time to reflect on the year past and to set new intentions, visions, goals and/or commitments to yourself for the year to come. You will notice that I didn’t call them ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ and the first thing I mentioned was intentions. I purposefully avoided the word ‘resolution’, mostly because, like many people, I’ve made so many, over the years, and rarely stuck to them. However, if you are not one of those people and they do work for you, then, of course, stick to what works. You may still want to read on and incorporate some of the strategies I mention into your existing plans, to empower you even more throughout the year.
Now let’s begin with setting your intentions. I feel like this is one of the most important aspects of planning or preparing for the future. Whether that is in the longer-term or simply preparing for a meeting or conversation you’re about to have. Without being clear on your intentions, it can all feel a little wishy-washy. A bit like you’re just hoping for the best. Perhaps you lose purpose, or get distracted by shiny objects, or pulled in directions that suit other people and perhaps don’t feel comfortable. Setting your intentions help to keep you true to yourself, your values and your desires for the year or particular situation you are facing.
Let’s explore your intentions for this year? I find it easiest to write them out. I create headings and brainstorm ideas and feelings that I want to have. I then consider what I need to achieve my intentions. Are the things I already have or do, or do I need to work on this? If I need to work on it, what are some things I can do? What have I already done and what still needs to be done? How achievable do I feel it is? Where are my strengths and where do I need to do a bit more work or focus more energy? What am I worried about and what are the barriers I may be creating for myself?
You can take it as deep and as far as you like. The only limitations are the ones you create for yourself.
At the end of this process, you will write a clear statement for each area of what your intention is. Followed by an “I will” statement, that will go something like this: My intention for my home life is to be calm, approachable, share and receive love openly and compassionately and be more conscious of how my emotions impact others in the home. I will do this by improving my self-care, working on communication and allowing time and space for personal self-reflection. I will be honest about how I’m feeling and invite others to do the same. I will practice curiosity and compassion when feeling challenged or frustrated. I know that I will need to practice this, so I will share my plan with my family and ask if they would like to join me in working towards this intention and support each other.
If you’d like a copy of my outline, click here to let me know and I’ll email one out to you.
- How you want to feel. Consider a variety of different areas of your life. And perhaps you’ll create subcategories for this. Examples might be, home, work, family events, social activities, with friends, the sports club/gym/yoga class, school, club. (I don’t suggest all of these, or it will become too overwhelming. Choose no more than 4. So it is achievable and sustainable)
- How you want others to feel around you. You may have subcategories for this one too. As you probably don’t want your colleagues to feel the same way about you as your partner or family members.
- What’s important is that you find the time and allocate it wholeheartedly to your own personal reflection and goals/dreams/aspirations. You can’t rush these things, and the less familiar you are with allocating time, just for you, self-reflection, setting intentions or planning for the future, the more challenging it may feel. This is another reason I avoid ‘resolutions’. There never feels like enough time on new years eve or day. Aim to complete it by the end of January.
You may struggle to sit quietly and allow your mind to go to these places. Or you might find it difficult to allow yourself the time or the freedom to explore. Your brain may tell you that you have more important things to do with your time. Please remind that overactive mind of yours that this process is crucial to your health and wellbeing and to your effectiveness and productivity, in the short and long term.
What intentions will you set for your yourself? What is your aim or desire for yourself in the new year? Please share in the comments below. This will provide you with a little extra accountability and may also inspire someone else who is finding it tough to commit. When we share our intentions with others it becomes harder to listen to that inner voice that tries to distract you and keep you in the same routines and doing all the same things. You feel like you’ve got someone else on your side.
Go ahead, don’t let anything get in your way, share with me. I’m listening.