Do you set goals for the new year? Do you create a word for the year, an intention, or maybe even a resolution?
For most of us, the answer is yes. Even if it’s done in an informal way, most of us take some time during the end of one year and the beginning of the next to stop and consider what it is we want as we move forward. There’s something about crossing the threshold of time, moving into a new space of unknown challenges and possibility, that makes us want to slow down and take stock of our lives.
Are we doing what we want in life? Are we achieving the goals we set for ourselves? What is it exactly do we want? The questions naturally arise, making us pause (if only for a second) and slow our busy lives to contemplate our lives.
This is a valuable process, and one that is essential for growth. We need to look back at where we were, acknowledge how far we’ve come, and to set intentions for where we want to go. It’s an important part of the journey of our lives, and one that should be done not just at the end of the year, but consistently throughout the year—each month, week, or even day! Without this, we can wander aimlessly, unconsciously reacting to whatever is happening around us without ever considering what it is that we want, where we want to go, and what we want to create in this world.
This is one of the reasons why we start each COR workshop by asking the participants and the staff to set an intention for the weekend. Setting intentions is like turning toward what it is you want. You might have to swerve around obstacles as you travel forward. You might get distracted by new trails, or choose to change your path altogether once you see new things along the way. But without at least picking a direction to head toward at the start, you’re not likely to get where you want to go.
But, is setting up an intention enough? Is creating a word, a resolution, or a whole list of goals going to get you where you want to go in this new year?
The first step is always to set an intention, but it’s just the first step. In order to live out your goals in 2020, you’ll need to do more than intend. Here are some suggestions for additional steps that will keep you on the path of your 2020 goals, so that you don’t just intend change — you live it.
1. Write it Down
Something shifts in our brain when we write things down on paper. Study after study shows that whatever we write down, we remember better. And remembering where you want to go is, for obvious reasons, helpful. In today’s nonstop world of distractions, stopping to write down what you want, with a pen and paper, could be the difference between it being something you live for the year or something you quickly move on from and forget. Bonus! You can return to it throughout the year to check your progress.
2. Create Some Next Steps
It’s not enough to just set an intention. You need at least one or two action steps to attach to that intention in order to get moving toward it. Create a few very next steps that will move in the right direction. These steps can be small, tiny even, and you don’t need to create a 1,000 step plan here. The goal is to not get overwhelmed here, but also to make sure those dreams don’t just stay in dreamland. Step toward them.
3. Tell Someone about Your Intention
Whether this is a friend, a partner, a coach, or a group of people you engage with regularly, make sure you don’t keep your intentions, goals and dreams to yourself. Being seen in a powerful tool to activate your intentions and to bring in people who can support you with keeping your vision.
4. Set a Reminder
Even with all those steps above, sometimes things just slip through the cracks. Take a minute now and set up a few reminders in your calendar to remind you to bring that intention back up into awareness. These can be as often or as far away as you want, but toss in at least a few of these reminders throughout the year to make sure you stay on track.
5. Review and Adjust
If, when those reminders come up, you notice that your goal no longer resonates, review it and adjust! A resolution is a decision to move forward toward a determined outcome, but an intention is a bit more gentle. Time and life lived will work on our intentions — reshaping them, peeling away layers of aspiration, and revealing what we truly value beneath them. It’s okay to adjust your intention or your goal if your life or even just your perspective changes. You’ve got full permission to review those goals and change them if they need (or want) to be changed!
Setting intentions is a practice, not a one-time event, and like all things healthy for us, our ability to hold our intentions strengthens the more we engage in the practice. By putting some of these next steps in place after setting your intentions, you’ll continue to help yourself strengthen those muscles and keep yourself on the path of moving toward your goals and dreams.
Just imagine what might be possible for you, and in your life, this time next year – if you keep those intentions in action.
Jen Underwood is a COR Coach who specializes in helping people to design a joyful, passion-driven life through a mix of big picture planning, accountability & goal-setting, and trauma-informed coaching to move people through emotional blocks into purposeful action. You can learn more about her on our website at www.corexperience.com/coaches