by Josh Millar
Recently, we took a look back over the last year with the idea of highlighting the things that weren’t so helpful to us, so that we didn’t bring them with us into 2020. This week, I wanted to take a forward look at the year ahead. What are the things you do want to cultivate in the new year? Whether you decide to set specific resolutions or not, I think that most of us can benefit from starting a bit more zoomed-out. Rather than immediately diving into clear-cut plans, beginning with intentions, and getting more specific from there, can be an even more powerful way to kick off the new year. Here’s why:
Inform Your Actions, Decision, and Goals
Sometimes, our goals can feel a bit disjointed. We’re not always clear on the deeper purpose behind them, and it can be easy to lose sight of our initial motivation. When we start with some intentions for the year, these can create the foundation for our goals and resolutions. When you look more generally at the things you want to see in your life, you can then zoom in to the specific things that will help you realize them. This gives you a bit more control in shaping the overall direction of your year.
Weave a Thread Through Multiple Areas of Your Life
While goals are often separated by the different areas of our lives — professional goals, personal goals, etc. — I like that intentions tend to be a bit more overarching. Instead of compartmentalizing, they allow us to link everything together. This helps us create more realistic plans that align with the life we want for ourselves more generally, not just in one specific context. Then when we do start getting more specific with our goals, those threads will create a strong foundation from which we can build.
Leave Space for Adjustment
Unlike a rigid resolution, intentions leave space for you to evaluate and adjust your goals without feeling like you’ve somehow abandoned your mission. If your intentions for the year ahead are balance, inspiration, and accountability, for example, there are countless goals that can help you foster these things. As you move through the year, you can continue using those intentions as a reference point. Are your goals helping you move closer, or do they need some adjustments?
Who will you be a year from now? When we try to take too much control over this answer, we can leave ourselves boxed in. We don’t know how the year ahead is going to unfold, and that’s part of what gives it so much potential. Setting intentions for the year creates a strong framework, but it still gives us the freedom to fill that in as the year unfolds. A year from now, rather than just checking accomplishments off a list, you can be looking at the ways in which you’ve transformed overall.
When we bring our focus to something, we give it power. Identifying those intentions at the start of the year can create a perfect fuel supply to motivate us through the next twelve months. What are your intentions for 2020? Did you have intentions for 2019? And how well were you able to cultivate them over the last year? I’d love to hear your thoughts.