Just Begin - Setting Goals and Intentions in the New Year

Happy New Year! It’s 2021. This is the time of year when many of us are thinking about making new resolutions and setting goals.  While much research suggests that typical New Years resolutions are short-lived, we know it is powerful to set goals, intentions and think about what values are important to us moving forward. Sometimes it is hard to set a big goal, but just getting started with a small step and continuing to walk and step forward is often the journey to healing, wholeness, connectedness and success. I would encourage you to take the first step in the journey - just begin. Sounds easy enough, right?  Yet, sometimes the hardest part to just get going.  A few ways to get started...
  1. Write down your goals and intentions.  What will it look like and feel like when you reach this goal? As you move closer to it? Keep your focus on one main area at a time. We do better when we are less spread out and distracted and put our energy into one primary focus.  For example, my goal is to be more present - and I would see this in my relationships with family, clients, friends and in the ways I spend my downtime by being in the moment, working on tethering my thoughts to the here and now.
  2. Look at this every day and get it on your brain's radar.  Put it on your mirror or set up a daily reminder in your phone with this. Take a few moments to breathe and meditate on this intention daily. The more consistency and repetition, the more we change the brain and create new connections and the process eventually becomes more natural, possibly easier.
  3. Notice and observe, rather than judge, when progress is slow or you are not meeting your goals.  Think about what would help support your work towards your goal and what may be a barrier to movement. Know that there will be good days and bad days.  I believe that progress is a forward moving spiral, there are ups and downs always, but we can keep moving forward which is to a different place than we have been before. We are always evolving and changing - and growing if we choose that path.
  4. Growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum absent from hardships and blessings, progress and setbacks. Support is essential. Get a likeminded friend or family member to share your goals with and check in on your journey. Seek professional support - therapy is an amazing place to set aside time and space for yourself, your relationships and your goals and have guidance and support - someone to come alongside you in the journey. After all, humans are made for connection, not isolation. So whether it is professional or natural support (or both- even better!) that you seek, gathering community around you is essential in the journey and related to [positive results and outcome.
  5. Reflect on and learn from the past.  I know many people have been looking forward to saying goodbye to 2020 for a long time and could not be more ready to move on!  However, it  is important to take a look back on this past year, and prior years, and notice what was working well, what was not working well, and what lessons there were from those experiences.  We have to know where we came from, what we went through, and what we learned in order to better know where we are going.  It's like a map that helps us orient to where we have been on the journey and then reinforce our intention on where we are heading now.
Wishing you joy, health and love in 2021!