I don’t know about you, but I’m sliding around in my year’s goal setting like a bag of chocolate fish left in a hot car. I listened to a podcast about setting your big picture goals and was left fist pumping the air, yahooing and doing mental wheelies. Heck yes, I will own this year! Fire in the belly! 2020 is mine! I’m totally going to write down where I want to be in six-months, one-year, five-years! Yes, these goals do involve a pair of jeans from yesteryear and a multi-million-dollar business. What’s a goal list without some big dreams?
Now we’re 23 days deep into the new decade and already my enthusiasm for goal setting is waning slightly, edging away like when you realise your natural friendliness has elicited an invitation to join a religious cult from the person next to you in the supermarket line.
I feel like the pressure is just a little too much. How do I break them down? How do I make them actionable? I have these large, multi-year goals drafted in thick black pen and now they’re eyeing me beadily, tootling tiny trumpets whenever I open Netflix. ‘How is this helping you achieve your goals?’ they goad from the piece of paper, baring their sharpened teeth. Cripes.
So, I’ve changed tact. I’ve tucked them in the back of the diary because I think it’s pretty handy to keep half a brain cell tuned to the macro, but I’m starting a little smaller, with five or less intentions a month which have actionable steps.
Even the word intention seems a little more mellow, has a little more elastic around the waistband. You can use whatever word you like; manifestations for the more woo woo among us, visualisations, objectives, purpose. I want my intentions like my yoga practice; friendly, flexible and with a nice rest at the end.
What I think intention setting does for us is it helps us get a little clearer with what we desire, to then lead more purposeful lives. Not sure what the heck you desire? Start with your whys, your values, and work backwards from there. Value being outside more than anything? Maybe you need to look for a career that has less time under fluorescents. Perhaps being at home is at the top of your list; this tells you that keeping your feelers out for a role where you can work remotely is important. These examples are both around work, but we spend most of our days working; it’s no wonder they’re hugely linked to our sense of purpose and values.
But the biggest thing I’ve learnt when it comes to intentions is to choose feeling over form. No attachment to how it looks – only how it feels. Detaching from outcome means you’re open to all the possibilities that could come wafting in the door – and one of those might perfectly resemble your intention, simply dressed up in an unrecognisable guise with a moustache and a top hat. If you drop into your body and it feels light, expansive and on track, then you’re onto a winner.