With the year we just experienced it can be challenging to come up with specific goals or plans because we all just received a lesson on being flexible. That doesn’t mean that we have to put everything on hold. All we have is the moment that we are in, and the things we do at this moment set the stage for our next moment.
There is a way to set an intention that is beautiful and easily falls in sync with the flow of life. Taking time to consider what themes or values you want to welcome into your life. Before you dive into the process I want to share a holistic way of goal setting.
It is so fast to mindlessly jot down a list of things that would be good for anyone. “Exercise more” “stop eating sugar,” “go to bed earlier,” and so on. Rarely does this type of list-making have long-lasting effects. This method of quickly writing things down takes one fleeting moment of brainstorming, and then you feel as if you are on the right track. The trouble with this method is that there is a good chance that that list of “things” came from other people’s expectations and societal norms rather than your own soul and so just as fast as it came, it fades away into the pile of good intentions.
While it’s true that you may end up with a similar list when you take the time to do it mindfully, that list will hold more power. Using the mindful process that I will share, allows you to become deeply connected to your hopes and desires. This allows you to create intentions and goals that you really value and care about. These are the kind of goals that will lead to a fulfilled life for YOU. They will also flow more easily into your life because they came from the wisest part of you.
So, before you write your list of intentions, take some time to do this practice. It will help you connect to your deepest reasons. It is so easy to throw out ideas of goals that you may want or hope for, but until you understand why you want them, they are just words floating around. They become another task for your ever-growing pile of commitments. In a month or two, you won’t even remember them, or worse, you will feel guilty and shameful because you failed to keep up with them.
When you have some time and space to connect, sit down with the guide below, and using these 5 steps, allow yourself to discover the things that are truly important and impactful to you. As you do this, the intentions that are worthy of going on your list will be revealed to you.
Mindful Goal Setting
- Spend some time noticing your breath. As you breathe, think to yourself, I am inhaling, I am exhaling. Do this for a couple of minutes.
- Now that you have noticed your breath, move your awareness to your heart. Get a sense of what your heart feels like today. Does it feel small or large? Does it have a color? Is it cool or warm? What sensations show up? Just observe it without trying to diagnose or understand. Simply be with your heart for a few minutes.
- Next, bring to your attention the things that are important to you. One at a time, as you bring them to your attention also tune into your heart and how it feels. You can do this with things that you care about, intentions or goals that you are considering, roles that you play in your life.
- Pause and be sure to just tune in to one thought at a time, as you do this, simply notice what shows up in your heart when you sit with these thoughts individually. What does your heart feel like now? Get a sense of it compared to earlier. Once you have a sense you can move on to the next thought.
- When you have finished this exercise take time to reflect and journal what came up for you. You can write your intentions now if any came up, or take time to process first and go back to intentions in another session.
Bonus: Once you have the intentions written down go back to step 1 and 2, and then follow with seeing what each intention feels like in your heart. This will help you decide if it fits for you or if perhaps you can let it go.