Try this intention-setting process to unlock your next level self.
It’s that time of year again.
A new year is the perfect time for reflection, a fresh start, and the enticing possibility of a whole new you.
And yet… how many times have we set New Year’s resolutions, only to give up on them before the end of January?
I know I have.
It’s the equivalent of saying “the diet starts on Monday” (which always lasts until Wednesday, max).
Most people put this down to a lack of willpower, but perhaps the goal-setting system itself is fundamentally flawed.
Why New Year’s Resolutions aren’t the answer
When the New Year rolls around, we usually:
- Set way too many goals
- Try to change more than one thing at once
- Don’t focus on how we will get there (the process, the journey, the daily habits we’ll have to implement)
- Forget to figure out “who we need to be” in order to achieve what desire
- Don’t define why we want it (which would give us the motivation to keep going)
Having a goal also often translates into not being content with the way things are right now.
But the key to true fulfilment is to accept the way life is, whilst simultaneously progressing towards a desired outcome.
It’s a delicate balance between presence and striving.
Intend for the future, but attend to the present
We also often misunderstand the way transformation works.
When setting our resolutions, we get all excited and want to transform our whole lives in the space of a year (or less) – when in reality, transforming even one area can take between 2-3 years.
Let’s say we want to lose 10kg in 2019.
This is a reasonable enough goal in traditional terms – specific, measurable, and achievable.
But this is where most people stop (including myself when I set these types of goals).
We forget about:
- How we have to change not only our diet, but also our lifestyle and general routines
- The specific steps or method to get there, and/or who we’ll learn this from
- The mindset we need to have in order to become this person
- The habits we need to form to keep the weight off for good
- Being specific about why we actually want to do this – what will it mean for us and the people around us?
Understandably, it all gets a bit overwhelming.
But as someone who lost almost 20kg in one year I can tell you – the tough daily practices and mindset shifts are exactly how I did so (and kept the weight off).
I didn’t have a specific ‘target weight’ in mind, or a deadline to lose it by.
I just focused on doing what I could to be healthier, every single day.
I focused on the journey, not the outcome.
Feeling good should be the first priority
I would love to tell you that there’s a super easy system for rejigging your life.
The truth is that true transformation is complex, time-consuming, and difficult.
It’s also 100% achievable.
If we embrace this process through setting intentions, we can start levelling up to becoming the person we truly want to be.
I call this achieving soulful success, because it’s all about focusing on the present moment – how you want to feel, what truly nourishes your soul, what’s gonna get you moving and keep you motivated.
If we want to change our lives it’s usually because we want to feel good – so let’s start by making this our primary intention.
Step-by-step intention-setting process
We’re going to be creating specific intentions, genuinely taking time to think about what we want and why we want it.
We’ll be working towards what we want, but we won’t be placing our focus on a specific outcome that, once we achieve it, we can check off a list (besides, when we achieve goals that way, they usually don’t make us as happy as we think they will).
Step #1: Decide which area of your life you want to transform
This could be:
- Career & business
- Relationships & social life
- Home environment
- Passions & hobbies
- Personal or spiritual growth
I recommend choosing just one – it’s likely that whichever area you work on, the improvements will have a domino effect on the other areas of your life anyway (since ultimately, we’re holistic beings).
Step #2: Brainstorm the changes you want to make
Write down all the options available to you, and then pick the one change that would have the most impact.
For example, if you want to lose weight, write down all the habits you could implement to do this. How could you change your diet? Exercise regime? Water intake? Sleep pattern? Relaxation time? Lifestyle e.g. smoking, drugs, alcohol?
Step #3: Identify how you want to feel.
How would you like to feel every day, and what could you do to feel this way? Start breaking down the steps of the journey for the particular change you’ve chosen, and how these align with the feelings you want.
In our weight loss example, it might be that you need to learn how to cook healthy, nutritious meals to feel nourished, light, and energetic. In this case, you could learn from someone who’s done it – and buy a recipe book or a course that appeals to you.
Step #4: Identify who you need to become
The key to achieving something you never have before is stepping into that version of yourself and making it real.
Imagine for a moment you’ve achieved everything you want. How does that version of yourself think? What thoughts do they have? These are actually accessible to you right now – write them down and use them as affirmations. For example, if you’ve lost an incredible amount of weight and feel super healthy, your thought might be “I can achieve anything I set my mind to”.
Step #5: Get clear about why you want it
Write down your why.
When you have it, ask yourself why again. Continue this process (ideally through free-writing) until you get to the core of why this intention is so important to you. Then expand it by thinking about the impact it will have on all the other areas of your life, including the people you interact with.
For example, losing weight may make you feel good, give you more energy, and ultimately prolong your life. This would make you more pleasant to be around (which will impact your family and close relationships), help you work more productively (so your career might benefit), and mean that you enjoy your life more (thanks to good physical health).
My intentions for the New Year
My own intentional goal for 2019 is simply to impact as many people as possible through my work. The one change I need to make is to create more videos/blog articles, and I want to feel inspired, balanced, and creative.
To become this person, I need to truly think (and believe) that I have an important message to share with the world.
And my why? Teaching nourishes my soul, so I know that as long as I’m making progress in this direction, I’m good.