We can be ambitious about what we want to achieve in life, we can have big dreams and big goals without burning ourselves out to get there.
A lot of goal setting methods are target or end point focused and that has it’s benefits, but goals that are about giving yourself clarity and direction are more flexible, more sustainable and most importantly, when we are faced with challenges, they give us something to hold onto, a way to ground ourselves because it’s not just about an end point but a deeper purpose that we're working towards and continuously building on.
If you want to reset your mindset around goal setting and give yourself, clear, self-compassionate goals, grounded in the energy of your word of the year, then let me share a more mindful approach to goal setting with you.
6 steps to setting intentional goals for the New Year
step 1: choose your word of the year
(& ground yourself in it)
Having a word of the year has become the new 'new year's resolution'; every January social media is flooded with inspiring, lofty words as people put their big ambitions out into the world - but I wonder how many of the them will still remember what that word is in a month, three months or six months later?
If you want to choose a word that really resonates with you, that can be the foundation for your goals and intentions moving forward, then you first need to look back & reflect:
- what were your highs/wins of the last year?
- what were the challenges you faced?
- what energy did you feel around the wins?
- what energy did you feel or show up with to your challenges?
Sometimes we can learn a lot more about ourselves when we look at how we show up to the hard days, the energy we bring to our challenges or the default mode we fall into when things get difficult; when you reflect on the past year and the energy you brought to your challenges, is this something you want to feel less of or more of? Now consider what energy you would like to bring to similar challenges in the year ahead - that is where you will discover your word of the year. That is the energy you need to ground yourself in and get clear on as you set your intentions.
step 2: choose what you want to improve or build on
Look at your life as a whole and ask yourself, what are two or three areas that you would like to improve? These could be anything from your relationship, health or home to your career, financial security or passion projects. Maybe you started to work on a particular area of your life last year and want to continue to build on this work?
Don't overwhelm yourself by focusing on too much - look at the big picture, but then get clear & prioritise just two or three areas that you want to focus your energy on in the year ahead.
step 3: dream big
Get out your journal, open your mind (and your imagination) and reflect on the following:
if you showed up with the energy of your word of the year, to each of the areas of your life that you want to improve, what would that look like? what would that feel like? what could that accomplish or where might that lead you?
Let your mind run wild here; don't try to limit yourself with practicality or rational thinking - maybe you don't yet know how you might achieve all of these big dreams, but lean into the feeling of showing up with the energy of your word, let that clear the blocks in your mind and see what desires it brings up for you - you might be surprised.
step 4: get clear
Now that you've connected to your deepest desires and started to visualise a bigger picture, it's time to ground yourself in the energy of that feeling and get clarity:
If you show up with the energy of your word of the year, to each area you want to improve, what could that look like in one year from now?
You can still dream big here but try to bring a little more clarity to the exercise and narrow down that vision to a realistic place that you could get yourself to in one year from now. Create two to three statements, one for each area of your life you are focusing on improving, "if I show up with an energy of [insert your word of the year here] to my [relationship/career/area you want to improve], in one year from now I could...", and start to get clear on the direction you want to go in rather than an 'end point' that you want to reach.
step 5: create your roadmap
Look at each of your one year statements and start to break them down into smaller steps, mapping out your year and further fine-tuning that sense of clarity and purpose:
- Reflect on your half way point - if you show up with the energy of your word of the year, what could that look like in six months?
- What could it look like in 3 months from now?
- What could you achieve in 1 month from now?
- What could you start doing in the next week?
- What's one small right action you could take today?
step 6: hold yourself accountable & show up
One of the biggest pitfalls people fall into with goal setting is that they don't hold themselves accountable to showing up and taking action so that they actually begin to bridge that gap between where they are and where they want to be.
This is probably the most important step in the whole process: set a reminder in your calendar for one month from now to check in on your progress.
Reconnect with the energy of your word of the year, get back out your journal and re-read your reflections and roadmap. Did you make the progress you hoped you would this month? Did you stay grounded in your word of the year each week and take small right actions? If not, what could you do next month to set yourself up for more success?
Reset your calendar reminder and repeat this process throughout the year so that you hold yourself accountable to showing up for those BIG dreams.
Want more support with your goal setting? Listen to this episode of Fill Up Your Cup Podcast...