With the New Year being so young, many people are still thinking of what they want out of 2022. This year, instead of having a whole list of resolutions that I would inevitably give up on by the end of the first month, I’ve decided to set intentions and small goals.
We live in an unpredictable world, and so many of our schedules have changed over the past two years. Whether you’re working from home or have multiple jobs, whether you’re in school and participating in extra-curricular activities, or whether your schedule has stayed the same and life itself has changed to adapt to the pandemic, we’re all living unpredictably. Making resolutions in an unpredictable environment simply isn’t sustainable. When thinking about what we want from this coming year, setting hard and fast rules might not work because of the world we live in. That’s okay! We can still set goals, and we can still set intentions to meet those goals. This year, though, as we come into the third year of a global pandemic, we have to give ourselves some grace.
This week, I’m going to teach you all how I set my intentions for the year so you can try it yourself!
Make a small list of goals you want to accomplish by the end of the year.
When you’re making your list, make sure your goals are attainable. If you’re not a runner, maybe running a marathon would be too difficult a goal for you to accomplish. Some of my goals this year are to be healthier, finish a triathlon, and become more financially responsible. I set these goals because I’ve already laid the groundwork for all of them, so it won’t be a huge leap to get there. With goal-setting, I don’t want to set myself up for failure.
Make a plan on how to meet those goals.
Making a plan to meet your goals is so important. You don’t want to lose steam halfway through the year and give up, so start by making realistic plans to meet your goals. For my triathlon goal, for example, I know I need to start training on cycling and swimming, so my goal is to start by March to be prepared for the triathlon in August.
Set intentions around your plan.
Setting intentions is the most important part of the whole process. When you set an intention, it allows you to visualize and conceptualize your goals. While setting your intentions, keep your goals in mind. For me, I intend to continue working out and eating clean when I can. When working out and eating clean, I’m being intentional about it and reminding myself why. Each move toward my goal has a purpose rather than just being an arbitrary number I’m trying to reach. I’m also working on being more intentional about how and why I spend money to meet my goal of being more financially responsible. If I see something I want to buy, I remind myself what my goals are and what the intention behind purchasing the item would be. If they don’t align, I don’t need to buy it.
Give yourself grace. Your intentions are not hard and fast rules.
The difference between intentions and resolutions is that intentions don’t come with hard and fast rules, which gives more room for grace. We all need to practice giving ourselves more grace, especially at this moment in history. We’re living in an unprecedented time, so there’s no need to add extra stress into your life with a strict plan from which you cannot stray. Only a week into the year, I realized I can’t go from eating carry out for nearly every meal to making everything at home and trying to eat exclusively whole foods. If I’m craving a cookie or some dairy-free ice cream from Graeter’s (raspberry chocolate chip is back!), then I’m going to allow myself to eat a few bites. As long as I’m being intentional about how I’m eating, what I’m eating, and why I’m eating it, letting myself “cheat” is okay. No one is perfect, and expecting myself to eat exclusively healthy foods is unreasonable and sets me up for failure.
Remind yourself why your intentions are what they are.
The biggest reason people fail at New Year’s resolutions is that they lose motivation. If you truly want to make a change in your life and want to use intentions to get there this year, you have to know the reason behind the intentions and the goals. Why do you want to be healthier? Why do you want to be more financially responsible? Why do you want to do whatever it is that you want to do? Knowing the why is so important so that you can continue moving through 2022 with purpose and intention. I found it really helpful to make a vision board for the year. It’s hanging up on my wall in my bedroom so I see it several times a day, and it reminds me of what I want out of this year. I also plan to add to it as the year goes on and I find more goals that I want to accomplish. Having that visual reminder keeps me on track.
This year is still going to be a tough one. We’re still fighting through the uncertainty of the pandemic, still grappling between working from home and working in person, still trying to adjust to the new normal. There’s no need to add extra stress to your life if you don’t need it. Instead, be intentional about how you move through the coming year.
As always, stay safe + stay healthy.