Setting your intentions for the new year
Jan 18, 2021
Throw resolutions out the window, it’s all about intentions and I am here for it! We all have that long list, but how often do we actually follow through with the aim of a more intentional life. While resolutions are restricting, intentions set us free, and setting our intentions give us purpose.
Reflecting on the past year is such an important step to take before you can move forward with your intention setting. Ask yourself questions about your year, some examples are:
“What have I learnt?”
“How did I handle inevitable challenges?”
“What were some big failures?”
Just as important, “What were my big successes?”
“Could I have made better decisions?”
“What did I accomplish?”
“What worked well?”
You don’t have to answer all these questions, and perhaps your list of reflection questions looks very different but the key here is to dedicate time to reflection, and honour its space and value.
Last year was a particularly challenging one for everyone, and I encourage all of you to look at one specific question before setting your intentions and that is:
“What motivated me?”
Write down your motivations, highlight them, circle them, and use these motivations when setting your next intentions.
When examining the past year and answering your questions, I really encourage you to be absolutely honest with yourself, especially with the shortcomings, where you held back, and what fears you had. These are such raw, honest reflections that hold a great value in moving forward in a constructive way.
4. Be positive
For me intentions are really a positive motivation rather than focusing on the negative. Don’t say “I intend to do less of this or that.” Think about the word “growth,” it’s such a beautiful concept. While I am not one for focusing on the negative I, of course, see such value and importance in identifying what you want to eliminate from your past in order to create a brighter year. You must be specific: you can’t say “eliminate negativity” but rather add a growth element to it, for example: “I will eliminate negative relationships which give me anxiety, and rather focus on relationships which make me feel joy.”
5. There is a difference between a “stretch” and a “struggle"
Intentions are supposed to stretch you, often challenge you, and make you grow and strive but they should by no means add anxiety, stress or be a continuous struggle within your daily life.
6. Think about “what” not “how”
Whatever you do, do not think about “how am I going to do this” in that panicked kind of way. Focus on “what” — what you want to achieve, what brings you joy, what you want to do better, what areas of growth you will focus on. The “what” is the intention while the “how” comes afterwards — how you navigate your life to meet and fulfil your desired intentions.
7. Write them down
Write your intentions down in Your Edit. They will be with you all the time to motivate and remind you. When you are making tough business or personal decisions refer back to them - which answer will align more with your ultimate intention for the year.
8. Intentions are for you
Even work related intentions are for yourself. You do not need to be held accountable to anyone or answer to anyone. Be realistic, your intentions may evolve and change through the year but always come back to your original motivation.