A couple years ago it started to become a trend to have a word for the year. Rather than just setting resolutions that are goal-oriented, like “I will lose 15lbs” or “I will travel to 5 states,” having an intention, a feeling that you’re striving for, makes you less likely to quit when things get difficult.
So what’s my word?
I was doing an exercise in intention setting this past Fall and part of that exercise included choosing words that describe how we want to feel. One word stuck out to me that day and I decided that it would be my word for 2016, and hopefully beyond.
Having or showing great life, activity and energy; very bright and strong.
That is who I want to be; that is the life I want to live. I know I have always wanted to feel vibrant, I think many of us may feel the same. I know I already put myself out there in an attempt to live this way without putting a word to the feeling. But now I have some solid to hang on to, a word that I can picture in my mind to keep me moving forward rather than feeling like I’m running in circles.
Yesterday I was going through some notebooks and an old, folded piece of paper fell out of one. I picked it up and saw it was a “To Do List,” but rather than being a daily list of things I needed to get done, it was a list of things I wanted to pursue in the near future.
To Do List
- Become fluent in French
- Pursue Beachbody Coaching full time
- Change at least one person’s life through coaching
- Write and publish a book
- Have an Etsy shop as a creative outlet
- Be a friend who makes people feel good about themselves
- Adopt a dog
- Be able to donate 10% of my income
- Become a Christian mentor
- Feel fit and strong with energy
- Give back to my family
- Become a skier again
- Feel confident in my clothing (both body & style)
- Have a clean and comfortable home
- Pray every day
One thing I’ve learned about setting intentions and goals for myself is that I need to set those that I can control by my own actions. We cannot control other people and we cannot control all the circumstances in our lives, but we can control ourselves and what we choose to do and how we choose to act and think. All of these “To Do” items are things that I know will make me feel vibrant, so finding this list was like a reminder from the Universe that I’m on the right path.
So how do you decide what little actions you want to do throughout your day, week, month or year to get to your intentions?
1. Imagine the life you want to live.
Sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes and really imagine the future. Where are you? Who are you with? What kinds of things are you doing or creating? And most importantly: How do you feel?
2. Think about what you need to add.
Why don’t you feel that way now? Think about what actions or thoughts you’re doing in your life that are holding you back from that feeling. What can you add in to get closer?
For example: if I want to feel strong and fit and have energy, I know I need to consistently exercise and that I need to do strength and functional movements so that, in my daily life, I feel strong.
Another example: if I want to feel closer to God, I know I need to dig into his word and have a faith-based community.
3. Start with baby steps.
Let’s take the exercise example. If you are someone who rarely works out, starting up an every day, or twice a day type of program that pushes you to your limits might be too much. When you do an 180 on your actions and life, you will most likely mentally rebel, resent the activity, and quit.
Start with smaller things. Workout 3 days a week for a month. Then add in another day for the next month. Add in vegetables for a couple weeks, start cutting back on sugar. Just don’t go all or nothing, or you’re more than likely to end up back where you started.
4. Keep a visual.
When things get hard, it’s easy to forget why you started in the first place. Keep a quote or a vision board somewhere that you will see it ALL THE TIME. Remind yourself every day of why you’re working hard. Change isn’t easy, it takes work and dedication, but the results are worth it.
Take some time to really think about what you want. Don’t get dragged one way or another by your friends or family, or even society. Be true to yourself and search for joy that outlasts your circumstances.
Do you have a word of the year?
Do you like setting intentions, or do you prefer big goals?