Happy New Year, Mama!
The New Year is already 15 days old (how did that happen?!) and even though you may have started 2015 with enthusiasm, your motivation could already be waning. The beginning of a new year can be the perfect time for setting goals and dreaming about the year ahead. However, the stats show that most of us don’t stick to our New Year’s resolutions.
Is there a way to set goals with soul and substance, and to maintain your motivation for the entire year?
The answer, my friends, is to set intentions instead of resolutions.
I revel in the energy of the New Year, and I’ve always set New Year’s resolutions. As a child, they were usually innocent wishes for the future, like This year I will finally get a puppy! And then, in my teenage years, there was a steady streak of This year I will finally get skinny (ah, that makes me cringe now).
Six years ago, I swore off resolutions altogether (I never stuck to them anyway, right?). That was two months after meeting my now-Husband, and our first year together was full of adventure, love and new beginnings, despite my lack of resolution. Although, deep down I knew that I truly thrive with some structure.
Having clear intentions gives me a sense of purpose and something tangible to work towards.
Over the last few years my approach to setting goals has evolved from writing simple SMART goals to setting intuitive intentions that govern how I want to feel and what I want to experience. I set my yearly intentions in early January, and I revise and update them throughout the year. I now focus on how I want to feel, rather than what I want to accomplish. I’ve done away with restrictive, soulless resolutions, and I now set heart-filled intentions – goals with soul and substance. It’s a pretty powerful way to start the year.
So, how do you write goals with heart?
Celebrate the Lessons of the Previous Year
This is a big, important first step – not one to be glossed over. Grab your journal and your favourite cuppa, and record all the major (and minor) life-changing events of the previous year.
Say goodbye to last year, and look for the lessons. What insight did you gain from that failed job opportunity, unsuccessful lifestyle change, or disagreement with your spouse?
And don’t forget to celebrate all your wins (big and small), because even if you look back at 2014 with a heavy heart, there is always something to be grateful for.
For some structure around this process of releasing the year that was, I use Leonie Dawson’s 2015 Create Your Shining Year Workbook, or Susannah Conway’s (free!) Unravelling The Year Ahead guide. I also use these gorgeous eBooks for the next steps.
Brainstorm the Areas of your Life that Need Some Love
Now is the time to get all your hopes and dreams out of your head and onto paper.
Think about how you want your life to look like a year from now. Where are you? What are you doing? What are wearing? Who are you with? Use these prompts to guide you as you record your aspirations for the year ahead.
Consider each area of your life. The life areas that feature in my heart-storming sessions include: Health, Relationships, Parenting, Study, Personal Development, Home, and Blog. You might have others, so add those in too.
Keep your dreaming positive. Instead of ‘Lose weight’, you could write ‘Nourish my body’. It’s all about perspective. Don’t be afraid to dream BIG. Don’t limit or censor yourself. Be bold.
Create a Plan of Attack
With your lofty dreams out on the page, grab a red pen and circle the ones that really jump out at you. Which dreams create butterflies in your belly and truly light you up? Put the others aside for now – this will give you the space and time to buckle down and focus on the goals that make your heart sing.
This year, I have chosen two life areas that I want to focus on (for the first three months, at least), Health and Career. I want to nurture my body, mind and spirit. I also have career goals that involve blogging, freelance writing and study.
The old adage, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”, is spot on. I choose to set goals that are dripping with feeling, that represent my deepest desires. But without a plan to support them, it’s hard to make any true progress.
Making a rigid plan for the entire year can be restrictive, and it may not be possible to predict all the necessary steps to take. Instead, choose a timeframe that is long enough to make real progress in, but not so long that your dreams get lost in a sea of To-Do’s. This year I have chosen 3 months. In early April I will take stock, review the 90 days that have just passed, and determine how I will continue to move forward.
I’ll ask myself, are my goals still relevant? Do they need to be updated, or am I on the right path?
Right now, no part of the plan has to be set in stone. This will allow you to use your intuition throughout the year, and your eyes will stay open to new opportunities and experiences. A good plan is flexible and inspiring.
Brainstorm the next right actions that are necessary to get you moving towards your goal. Put your list in order, from the first item to complete to the last. This forms the outline of your plan. To reduce the overwhelm that may surface when you are faced with a mile-long list of things to do, choose your very next move and just focus on completing that.
Choose a guiding word for 2015
After writing your plan for the next 90 days, it’s time to inject some soul into your goals. Read over your intentions for the year ahead, and think of a word that summarises how you want to feel this year. Imagine how you would feel if you had already achieved your goal.
Would you feel Grateful?
Or would you feel Abundant?
This is your guiding word. It is your main intention and your central focus for the year. It can be a feeling that you want to fill your life with, like Joy or Peace, or it could be a reminder of what you want to experience throughout the year. I like to choose a word that will both challenge and support me.
My guiding word in 2014 was HEALING, and it was a powerful guiding force throughout the year. With Healing as my main intention, I learned how to meditate, and I enrolled in the Cleansed eCourse*. Both of these decisions were life-changing and deeply rewarding. Just like last year, my word for 2015 came to me naturally, appearing in different blog posts, books, conversations and meditation, until I could no longer ignore it!
This year, my word is EXPANSION. To me, expansion is all about growth. It means to spread my wings, to live bigger and to deeply immerse myself in my passions, relationships and spiritual practices. I will continually step outside my comfort zone and put myself out there. To expand is to live big, to live fully and to live on purpose.
The word CREATE has also been popping up a lot for me over the last week, so I am using the motto “Create before you consume” as a guide. I intend to be a more conscious consumer of media and to overcome my habit of mindlessly scrolling through my social media feeds. I believe that choosing to consume less and create more, will allow me to expand my creativity, expand my blog, expand my personal practices. With less time spent consuming mindlessly, I will have more time to devote to myself, my family, and my vision for my life.
Build a vision board
This is my favourite part of the process! To begin the process of manifesting your wicked goals, lovingly and intentionally create a vision board, and refer to it daily. Keep it in a prominent position – I have a copy on my fridge, above my desk and set as my desktop wallpaper.
I adore vision boarding. Compiling text and imagery on a vision board motivates me to do bigger and better things, and it is one of my favourite ways to spend a rainy afternoon.
I collect clippings from magazines before I recycle them, and I use them to decorate the kikki.K vision board above my desk. I also make vision boards on Pinterest, or I gather images online and create collages in Picasa (like the one below).
Choose words and pictures that convey how you want to feel in 2015, as well as what you want to see, do and purchase. Place your guiding word in the centre of the board and fill any gaps with quotes that get the fire burning in your belly.
You can make a separate vision board for your different goals, or one for the year as a whole. Just make sure that you look at it every day to keep your intentions front and centre in your mind.
Your goals matter too, Mama
Making time to write out your intentions for the year is one way of putting yourself first. As mums, our goals can sometimes get dropped to the end of the To-Do list, but making a commitment to our own development will ultimately make us happier women and better role models for our kids.
I would love to hear in the comments below, how do you call in the New Year? What word will be guiding you in 2015?
*FYI, this is an affiliate link – but I wholeheartedly recommend it!