As 2017 winds to a close, and 2018 approaches, this is a great time to look back at the year that has passed and set new goals and intentions for the year ahead. When I invite people to set an intention in the yoga classes I teach, I sometimes am asked what the difference is between a goal and an intention, so I thought I would start there for this post.
The way I like to think of it is that an intention is more like a mindset, whereas a goal should be more specific and measurable. Your overall intention should guide your goals, and they should be made with your intention in mind. Here is an example: let’s say that your intention is to live a more peaceful life. This is a very broad idea, and not necessarily tangible. When you set your goals, if you know that your intention is to live a more peaceful life, you will keep from setting goals that make your life busier or more hectic. You might set a goal that you will go to bed at 10 pm every day so that you can get a better night’s sleep. You may set a goal to stop drinking coffee, if you notice that caffeine makes you feel agitated. These are specific goals that will help you move towards a feeling of a more peaceful life.
As we move into the new year, before setting intentions and goals, I think that looking back and reflecting on the past year is a very important step. Take a moment to think of the things that you really enjoyed from this past year. Think of the moments that brought you joy, your favourite moments. If you’d like, you could write them down. Now take a moment to think of some things that might be improved in the year to come. Write them down as well. Lastly, think of the people who have been most important in your life over the past year. The people who have been with you during good times and bad, the people who make you laugh, the people you have meaningful conversations with, the people you have fun with. Write them down as well.
Once you review what you have written down, it is time to set intentions and goals for the year ahead. Remember, your intention doesn’t need to be something concrete, it could more of a feeling that you want your year to have. As you set your specific goals, make sure that they are in alignment with your overall intention. I like to choose one intention, and perhaps a maximum of 3 long-term goals. These long-term goals can then be broken down into smaller goals that can be done a little at a time. An example of this might be:
Intention: see more of the world
Long-term goal: learn a new language
Short-term goals: find a language course to take, find someone to practice with, learn a new vocabulary word each day etc.
I would love to hear from you after you have gone through this exercise and learn more about your intentions and goals for next year. May you all have a safe, healthy, happy 2018!