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Setting an Intention for the New Year

How you spend your days is how you spend your life.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash
Source: Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

The new year comes with heaps of pressure to change. You're supposed to set goals, kill bad habits, perfect new healthy ones, and become the best possible version of you. Every single year. You see headings like this all over the media, making you question whether you're good enough as you are.

Let me clarify that for you right here right now. You are good enough exactly the way you are. You don't need to change or improve unless you want to. You are more than enough being who you are and living life the way you want to live it.

Yet, if you do want to reflect on the future, and set some plans in motion, opt for intentions over goals and for progress over perfection. How? With these three simple questions:

1. What do I want to do more?

How you spend your days is how you spend your life. Hence, you want to make sure that you're spending your time on the right things. When you look back on the last twelve months, have you done things you've enjoyed? Have you made time for yourself? Have you had fun? Have you done what you wanted to do (not because of what someone said you should but because you truly yearned to)? These are all good questions to help you get clear on what exactly you want to do more of in the next 12 months.

For example, this year I wrote my third book and I loved it. So next year, I want to keep writing and hopefully write my fourth one. I've also played with sketching and poetry and enjoyed it. I want to do more of that too. However, I wish I had learned to cook more vegetarian and vegan meals as I want to eat healthier and more sustainably. So, that is an intention I am setting for the next year. Now, it's your turn. What do you want to do more of?

2. What do I want to do less?

When you look back on the last twelve months, what has annoyed you, frustrated you, or felt like a waste of time? How can you spend less time doing these things in the next twelve months - or at least make them somehow more enjoyable or quicker to do?

For example, as COVID-19 took over the world in the last twelve months, I felt I spent too much time online. So, next year, I want to spend less time online and especially on social media. I also want to spend less time worrying, especially about what others think. Yes, easier said than done. But, with practice, perfectly possible. And, now that the intention is there, I will be testing different strategies to do exactly that. So, your turn. What do you want to do less of?

3. How do I want to feel?

Such a simple question but so easily forgotten. And it shouldn't be. We, humans, are emotional beings. We are driven by our feelings and we are immensely affected by them. How we feel affects our mind, body, and soul. That's why it's important to take the time to reflect on how exactly you want to feel in the year to come. Try to get specific here. Visualize the experience of your desired feeling right now.

If you want to feel happy, is it about more laughter and smiles, or a calm sense of contentment? If you want to feel relaxed, is it about feeling physically looser or mentally more stable, or both? If you want to feel inspired, is it about feeling driven and motivated, or energized and focused? Whatever it is, set your intention for it right here right now. Setting that intention will help you to notice opportunities that will help you to feel more of your desired feeling.

Whatever the new year brings for you, I hope it's an adventure you'll enjoy.