Setting Up Your Mindset For The New Year
As the new year comes, many of us are in the mindset of turning the page. Many of us are eager for change after surviving a year marked by a global pandemic, peaked media attention on white supremacy rearing its ugly head continually, and the daily reality of each of our individual lives.
Intention setting is an art that requires self-knowledge. If you hope to successfully open the door for continued growth, you have to understand what works for you, what doesn’t, and how to best structure your intention setting process.
A few things to consider when setting yourself up for continued growth in 2021:
What are the things I did well this year?
Whether 2020 felt like a year of positivity or hardship, reflecting on the year is an important step in the process of setting intentions. Many people fall into the trap of quickly jumping to the next goal without recognizing the work they have done to make it to the moment they are currently in. Living for the future often keeps us disconnected from gratitude, self-appreciation, and from the joy that the present moment has to offer.
How did I make it through the year?
You may have learned new things about yourself this year in the face of society’s unrest. Maybe it was that you surprisingly loved the extra alone time you found yourself with or maybe it was that you realized that community in fighting for social justice makes you feel empowered. Whatever your self-discoveries may have been, in assessing what carried you through the year you can gently ease your thinking into what supports or practices were lacking in taking the best care of yourself and in striving towards joy and wellness.
Starting from a place of recognizing the things that are working well for you is a way of approaching intention setting with a mindset of abundance rather than of scarcity.
In thinking about how you made it through the year, you may also realize there were things you relied on that you are not feeling so great about. Noticing these things can also serve as information for you about what patterns you may want to replace or alter in some way.
What kinds of goals or intentions work best for you?
For some, SMARTS goals are the ideal way forward and for others they respond better to looser self-chosen guidelines. Recognizing whether you like to track the progress you make is one part of the equation. Checking in with yourself about whether you are able to track your progress in a way that is not self-shaming or paralyzing in the case that you fall short of a goal is another important part of the process when considering whether you would like to set more specific and measurable goals (ie. SMARTS goals) or if you would rather give yourself more leeway in how you arise to fulfill your intentions. If you think that you will be too harsh on yourself, figuring out a way to set intentions with softer suggestions might better serve your progress.
What feels manageable to focus on?
Remembering that you don’t have to set and meet every lifelong goal this month, or even this year, is key. While you can appreciate your ambition if you feel called to write out tons of goals and intentions, recognize that it may feel more fruitful to focus in on a few goals at a time. Quality over quantity is a cliché you can remind yourself of when checking in about what is realistic. The new year is only one of the moments you can set goals. There are no real rules, so setting goals according to what serves you the best is ideal.
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