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Goal setting with a new approach in 2017

Do you find it hard to stick with the resolutions or goals you set in the New Year?  Is it already mid-January and you’ve already failed those workout or diet goals you set?  Well, you are not the only one.  Research shows that setting resolutions don’t work for most people.  So maybe, like me, you need to try a new approach this year.  I am recommending a new approach to goal setting that focuses not only what you want to do but also how you want to feel throughout the year.

In the past
Every January I spend time reflecting on what I want to do in the upcoming year.  The last couple of years, I created a list of all the accomplishments I wanted to achieve.  The list included goals such as take a trip, spend more time with family, lose weight, and workout.  And more broad goals such as be kinder, be of service and of course the old stand by for us single folks, to find love.

But it didn’t work when life got real
And for a while this process worked well for me.  I never achieved everything on my list but there were some years where I made huge leaps forward.  Yet 2016 contained some good stuff but it also had some downright hard life shit.   And over the last six months I have struggled to just keep my head above water.  When December rolled around I could not even bear to go back to my list to see what I did or did not do.  And I knew in that moment I needed to change my process for 2017.

Finding a new approach
In late December, I started thinking about what I want to do in 2017, but at the same time I thought about how I want to feel throughout the year.   I wrote the goals down.  I wrote the feelings down.  I meditated on the questions, “What do I want? and How do I want to feel?”.

When my list was complete I thought about how my life would look with me living these goals every day.   Also, I wanted a daily reminder of my goals.  So, I created a vision board and hung it on the wall so that every day I have a visual picture of the positive things I want in my life.

Some tips for intention setting

  • Spend some time thinking about what it is you want to achieve.  Get quiet and ask yourself “What do I want?”.  How does your heart respond?  Ask the question again and wait for the response.  The answer may not come right away and you may need to do this multiple times to get to the actual truth. But if you keep asking it will eventually come.
  • Once you have thought about what you want, spend some time getting the goals and feelings down on paper.  Make some of your goals small and specific – you will be much more likely to achieve them and less likely to give up.
  • Then, take those ideas and visualize how your life will look when an intention is active or when you reach a specific goal.
  • Give yourself a break throughout the year.  If you find that you aren’t so successful the first time, let it go and start over.
  • Check in with your list and intentions from time to time.  Are you making progress?  Do you need to make some adjustments?  But most important, how do you feel?  If it’s not going well, give yourself a break.  Let it go and restart it doesn’t mean you’ve failed.
  • Keep taking those steps forward each day and you may find yourself surprised at what you have accomplished when December rolls around.

The end result
This year, I created a list of some specific goals and events such as traveling back to South America and finishing my nutrition degree.  These goals I know will happen.   But, the list also includes intentions such as achieving a healthy lifestyle, to live love each day and to connect with others.   Last, the list includes how I want to feel throughout the year.

My intentions are open to fulfillment in many ways this year and leave me with feelings of opportunity.  I believe that this year is going to be full of exciting experiences and even if I sometimes struggle, I will feel better at the end of the year.

Wishing you much success and happiness in 2017.

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