Setting Intentions for 2024 and Beyond!

Here we go!  We are already half way through January and, honestly, I feel like I just woke up.  Time goes by in a flash and I absolutely hate that feeling of having lost or wasted any of it.  It’s just too precious.  So, I want to talk about what we want from 2024, setting intentions for our goals and why I prefer intentions to resolutions.

Resolutions are Icky

Ok, so clearly I’m not mincing my words on this subject.  I don’t like New Years Resolutions.  Much like I don’t like diets, I actually think that for most people these resolutions are an unhealthy expectation that sets them up to fail.  And, just like diets, people yo-yo right back to where they were.  Sound defeatist?  Well, maybe, but that is certainly not what I’m going for.  In fact, I would prefer to start my year with a positive guideline for success than a pathway to failure.

You might be thinking, she’s looking to take the easy way out.  Yes, and no.  Does progress have to be hard?  Did you ever think about that?  While some people might thrive setting seemingly unachievable goal, most don’t.  When you tell yourself you’re going to lose x amount of weight, quit smoking or drinking etc etc, you go into a panic!  You’re already asking yourself ‘how am I going to do this?’.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.  Basically, I think people secretly expect to fail.  I mean, how many people do you know that are even excited about their New Years Resolutions?  Most people are going through the motions of a ‘new year, new me’.  They want to see improvements but they don’t get to the bottom of what that actually takes and looks like in the long run.

Intentions Work Better

For me, resolutions are very much from the head and intentions are from the heart.  Resolutions scream ‘action’ and intentions are more in line with how we are feeling.  For me, setting intentions is a million times better because it’s more about listening to how you feel about what you want from life, what capacity you have at this moment to move forward and then setting intentions based on what feels right to you instead of ‘everyone’s doing it’.

If you were to take the time to reflect on your life and which areas need growth, and formulate a plan based on what ‘feels’ right for you, don’t you think you would get further and do better?  This is the difference between going on a 3 day detox that you’ve never been able to do in the past or making the decision to add (or subtract) one food from your diet for a week and making adjustments from there.  The same goes for exercise.  ‘I need to lose x amount of weight in x amount of days’ is actually less likely to work than ‘I’m going to find ways every day to move my body’.  Once you’ve started the snowball begins to roll, and yes, the snowball will still gain momentum even if you start small!

2024 is Just a Season

We want this year to be our best year yet.  We want to achieve all our goals and be happier than we’ve ever been.  But, 2024 isn’t some new world.  Some utopia that will provide us with all the miracles and magic we’ve been missing up until now.  2024 is a season.  Just a season in our lives.  And we need to understand that seasons have their role to play.  Setting intentions for 2024 with this in mind can help us to reach for our goals without becoming so attached to them that we suffer terrible disappointment if they don’t materialize.  Think of the quote by Norman Vincent Peale, ‘Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.’

The way I see it if you set a New Years Resolution you’ve only got 2024 to prove yourself or you’re a failure.  But, if you see it more like a season of your life with it’s own lessons, in’s and out’s and phases you can think of setting intentions as a phase too.  I am going to give my best effort to…..(fill in the blank).   I set the intention to: show up for myself everyday, to dedicated 1hr a day to writing (exercise, guitar, studies etc.), work on my business skills or spirituality.  Setting intentions for a season allows it to be more of a shining star and less of a stranglehold.  More of a lighthouse and less of a runaway train.

Think Long Term

After referring to 2024 as a season I want to remind you that the seasons build upon each other.  So, after this season of your life there will be another and another.  Setting intentions needs to be setting you up for future success as a person.  Understanding that this year is a building block for your future can help you to stack each new experience on top of the last and recognize your own growth.  Remember, the more you see the small improvement instead of focusing on why you aren’t ‘there yet’, the better your chances will be of succeeding.

Think of this as habit building.  Start with something achievable and keep building on it until it becomes a habit.  Find ways to make things fun and keep boosting yourself instead of expecting the worst.  Eventually your efforts will pay off and it will become your new lifestyle but ONLY if you are kind and patient with yourself through the process.

It’s all About how you See It

The bottom line is this is about the psychology of how we set our goals.  Go for the resolutions if you’re someone who thrives under pressure.  But, most of us need a gentler approach.  And, I don’t mean we need to be wrapped up in cotton wool, I just mean we need to shift focus from the ‘push to succeed’ to a more intuitive and guided approach to life.  Ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal you’ve set for yourself.  What will it give you and how will it make you feel?  And, a special question, what does it mean to you if you don’t achieve this goal?

If we want real change in our lives it has to be seen from the perspective of ‘this is going to be my life’.  It’s not just for the hit you get from proving you could do it.  You don’t build a house by dumping all the bricks in a pile, you secure one brick on top of the other.  So, start doing that for yourself this year.  Setting intentions for: who you want to be and how you want to show up and then taking the 1st step.  Just the 1st step.  The rest will find you as you continue to show up for yourself.

Steph x

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