It’s that time of year again. Social media flooded with fad diets, “new year, new you”-esque posts, and an innumerable amount of other crazy resolutions. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to become a different person in 2021. You don’t need to set yourself a million resolutions. BUT, if you DO want set a few intentions, then read on.
First things first
As mentioned above, I don’t believe in “new year, new you”. For a number of reasons, including a) you don’t need to wait for a new year to change and b) “new you” implies abandoning everything that makes you you. Which is totally crazy because you are unique and therefore doing so would lose that essence that distinguishes you. And, contrary to what social media wants you to think, you don’t have to wait for the 1st of January to implement changes. You can start a new habit, set a new intention, learn a new skill whenever you choose to. If you missed the New Year, start today. Start tomorrow. Don’t wait for another calendar year. Take charge of your own life.
Write them down
Right, now that that’s over with, let’s get onto the main part of the post: setting intentions. My number one tip when setting any intention is to write it down. This makes it real. By writing it down, you acknowledge it and are almost accepting the challenge. You can write it on your phone, on a word document on your laptop, on a piece of paper… or, my personal favourite, in a (bullet) journal. If you want to make it pretty and use visual aids, then create a spread with photos/ diagrams/ doodles to help solidify the intention. But the most important thing is the act of writing it down.
Keep them realistic
I’m all for dreaming big. BUT. When setting intentions, you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. An intention, to me, isn’t the same thing as a dream. An intention should be manageable, realistic and, at the very least, possible. For example: I set myself intentions for every month in my bullet journal. At least half of them I already know will happen, such as “try one new recipe”, “see X friend”, “go for a walk in a new location”. These are incredibly manageable intentions that you definitely wouldn’t call “dreams”. I then also have more aspirational ones, such as “get a 1st in this essay” or “hike a munro”. It’s important to stretch and challenge yourself, after all. But I would never put myself under so much pressure by setting myself the intention to “try 10 new recipes” or “hike 5 munros”. Hope that makes sense!
include bullet points
When I write my slightly “bigger” intentions for the new year, I don’t just write the intention. I also include a few bullet points beneath them that will help make the intention more achievable. That way, you’re not just writing down something big/ scary/ intangible, because you’re including smaller, actionable steps to help you attain it. For 2020, one of my biggest intentions was getting my periods back. Some actionable steps I included below it were: follow Jess’ (coach) advice, snack 3x a day, restore my weight completely. And, by following those smaller steps, I eventually achieved my goal.
They don’t have to be concrete
My 2021 intentions for the year are less concrete than my 2020 ones. Not because I don’t have proper goals or aims, but because I’ve simply decided to phrase them that way. Giving them less concrete wording means there’s room for flexibility, growth and change. One of mine is to “value myself”, and one of the bullet points is to “no longer give time to those who don’t (value me)”. But there are so many other ways I can value myself, and I’m going to let 2021 take me where it does so I can learn those other ways.
If this is all too wishy-washy for you, no worries at all. I just thought it was worth mentioning in case labelling a concrete intention was a bit too scary for you, or not right for how your brain conceptualises things.
Anyway, I think I’ll leave it there. In “me” time, it’s currently the 31st of December 2020 – but when you read this, it will be 2021. That’s a strange thought. I hope 2021 brings you everything you hope for.