Being Intentional

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It’s the start of a new year. We always intend to set intentions. We mean to manifest our destiny. Yet the day to day sweeps away our focus. We’ve all read the statistics on how quickly new year resolutions fade. But what if 2022 could be a different? There are lot of ways to set goals and intentions. It’s less about the tool or the process. It’s all about time and truth. My plan for 2022 is to focus on a wheel, how I want to feel, and committing to seal the deal.

Start Your Roll with a Wheel:  The Wheel of Intention is a visual that helps you think about each segment of your life independently. You can find a variety of templates online – find the one that speaks to you. I broke my wheel into Self Care, Career, Travel, Family, Friends, and Community. There are no right or wrong areas of focus. Under each of the areas of focus, answer the following questions:

  • What is currently working well in this area of my life?
  • What would I like more of/to improve?
  • What would l like less of/to eliminate?
  • A year from now, what will have I done?

Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted an allow yourself time for honest reflection and write down everything that comes in your head. 

Fuel Momentum with Feeling: Once you’ve identified your areas of focus and goals, ask yourself, How will I feel when I am living this life?  Write down as many words as you can for each segment of your wheel. My words included strong, grateful, refueled, balanced, and joy. Again, there are no right answers. Write from your heart not your head and let every word onto the page.

Commit Seal the Deal: After about an hour of reflection I have a nice wheel, complete with reflections and aspirations. But I’m not done- I’ve just started. I went back through the list of words that I had listed and noted that fulfillment was a theme. I thought about what fulfillment means to me and landed on building habits that lead to joy. Boom. This year I will commit to prioritizing and fueling fulfillment. This means looking at my home and work calendar and if it’s not a hell yes, saying no.  It means being fully present with my team and my family. It means scheduling my priorities not squeezing them in. And it means doing this for a full year.

It’s easy to make a resolution on January 1st.  The secret is making sure you’ve focused on something close to your heart. A wheel of intention can get you started with the “what.” Tapping into feelings can help you connect to “why,” and reflection can give you a path to “how.” Let’s roll into 2022 with strong intentions. Who’s with me?

Set a New Year Revolution vs Resolution

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At the start of the year many of us set our new year’s resolutions. According to the  article, Ten Interesting Facts New Year’s Resolutions, the most common resolution made is to exercise more (almost 40%!)  Unfortunately, about 22% of resolutions fail after about a week, 40% after a month, and 50% after 3 months. So why do we get back on the same hamster wheel year after year? Perhaps it’s time for a new cycle- a revolution vs a resolution. The word revolution has several definitions: (1) the action of going round in an orbit (2) the completion of a course (3) a sudden, radical, or complete change. Send 2019 into a new orbit with your own revolution.

Get wrapped around the axle. A common challenge with resolutions is that we don’t stop with just “exercise more.” We decide our real goal should be exercise more, be faster, get stronger, look better, and wear cuter exercise clothes. Sometimes the power of simplicity can power a goal to the end line. Pick one thing you want to improve on. Keep narrowing in on that idea until it is finite, measurable, and doable. Refine your “exercise more” goal to “I want to ride my bike 3 times a week for 45 minutes.” Now make that your thing.  Schedule around it. Post about it. Track the # of times you ride and for how long. No need to add miles or speed… just focus on the goal. Maybe your thing is to read one leadership book a month. Great! Same steps apply… and so can great results.

Complete a course. You may decide your course is a spin class or maybe it’s an online certificate. In either case building your goal around something with a clear beginning, middle, and end can be helpful.  A lack of timeline in the “exercise more” resolution is part of its downfall. How much is more? For how long? When have I achieved that goal? A key word here is complete. It’s ok to take six months to complete six online sessions. It’s also ok to knock through the same sessions in six weeks. The only right answer is what is right and realistic for you so that you can see it to completion. Then mark that completion with a celebration. Reward yourself for your hard work once you break through that ribbon at the end.

Change your perspective. Another definition of revolution is a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something. This may be the way you think about exercise (Who would spin? Why would I get up that early? I just can’t do it), or the way you think about leadership (Who would believe that? Why would people follow her? I just don’t get why they don’t get it). Changing our paradigm is critical to achieving our goal. Franklin Covey has some fantastic resources on paradigm shifts. I love the quote they shared from Thomas Kuhn.  “All the significant breakthroughs were break-withs old ways on thinking.”  Challenging assumptions, listening and talking to people with different perspectives, and jumping in and trying something new are all steps we need to take to create our revolution.

In 2018 I set a goal to ride or run 2018 miles. I achieved that in December. I focused on my revolution. I completed all the class challenges at #addiction cycle, my spin studio. I got over myself and got up and did it. So what will be your 2019 revolution? Whatever it is, if you make it your central focus, commit to completing it, and are open for a change, you can meet whatever goal you set.

Resolve, Go Solve, Absolve

New Years Resolution

Happy 2018! It is that time of year where think about our goals for the new year. We purchase new gear and goodies to help us reach that illustrious goal. Yet despite our initial anticipation, 22% of new years’s resolutions fail after one week, 40% after one month, and 50% after three months. How can you buck the odds this year and make your resolution a reality? There are three actions you’ll need to take: resolve, go solve, and absolve.

Resolve. It’s easy to look at these statistics and think why bother. But the very act of making a resolution matters. Setting a goal means you’ve identified something you want to strive for.  One key to a successful resolution is picking something important to you that are passionate about. You may feel pressure to climb the corporate ladder but if you love your current job, resolve to deepen your skills instead of getting promoted. The next step is to take that goal and make it a plan.  Think about how you will deepen your skills by doing X by Y date. Setting specific, measurable goals makes your resolution more tangible and therefore more achievable.

Go Solve. “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” This is a famous quote from Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple executive and entrepreneur. Once you have your idea and your plan, ask yourself, have I gotten this far before? What got in my way? If you resolved last year to deepen your skills by getting your MBA but fell short because you didn’t have the time or money to make it happen, is that the right goal for 2018? Unless your financial or time commitments have shifted the likely answer is no. So how else could you solve for that? Could you take one class online? Could you learn new skills at work? Find a mentor? The specific solution is less important than finding a solution you can implement. Creating realistic momentum helps get you out of the gates and gets that idea into motion.

Absolve. Merriam Webster’s definition of absolve is to “to free from guilt or blame.” This is a crucial part of resolutions. We know that half of resolutions fail in the first six months. Yet we fail to plan for failure.  I love the blog  The Tiny Buddha by Leo Babauta, and in this post Babauta challenges us to relook at our expectations for building a new habit. He wisely says, “What if the problem is our hope that we’ll never have to get disrupted, that things will always go perfectly? This hope is, of course, greatly misguided. Things don’t ever go smoothly, progress is never linear, and we’ll always get disrupted….what we need to do is get good at starting, then starting again.” Absolve yourself from the guilt that you didn’t sign up for that online class yet. Absolve yourself from blame that you haven’t found a mentor. It’s never too late to restart. Just go back to solving again. Take any step- no matter how small- to regain momentum and look forwards, not backwards.

So break out your new 2018 calendar or journal, and think about what goal excites you for this year.  Write down some specific steps you can take to achieve that goal. Start doing – try anything, just start. Then prepare to restart. Approach 2018 with a resolve, go solve, absolve attitude and it will be a very happy new year.