I believe in the power of setting Goals AND Intentions. Yes, friends, there is a difference, and I am so excited to share what that means AND how you can improve your goal-setting process.
It’s that time of year when many of us are putting the past behind us and looking to make some changes, set some goals, AND dreaming of where we want to be at this time next year. I know you are here looking for some tips and how to actually make good on that promise to yourself that you are making right now. And I am not only going to give you my process, but I’m also going to give you some tips that I use myself!
Let’s get started!
Setting Goals VS Setting an Intention
Before we can get too far into my process for goal-setting, let's work out Goals VS Intentions.
Goals are actual accomplishments, physical changes, or a desired result. But intentions are more like a theme or a broader picture. For example, my goal for 2020 was to write two blog posts a week and post them.
But my “Intention” for 2020 was to create a simpler life that brought me more peace. ( This was harder to do than I had planned at the end of 2019! )
Goals can have a wide range of finish lines you can see up close, but Intentions are best looked at from a distance.
Did I meet my goals? No… not really. I had moments of greatness, but I needed to stop blogging for a while and take a step back for reasons I'll explain in a bit. And as a result, I actually feel like I was able to embrace my intention of creating a simplified lifestyle that gave me more peace. Because I had to limit my internet exposure and spend more time focused on what I could control here at home. So at the end of the year, when I looked back and what I had written for my intention, I loved that I was able to accomplish this.
Let Go Of What Didn't Work This Year
I am giving you permission to completely forget what you had planned for 2020 and give yourself a clean slate. Nobody expected any of the craziness that happened, so how could you possibly plan for it?
Actually, let's start forgiving ourselves every year for what didn't work out as we had expected and praise ourselves for moving forward and reaching for higher goals and dreams.
When we think of the theme of 2020, my goals were for my year to be filled with making new connections, networking in better ways, and creating a simplified life for myself. The intention that I placed in my vision board was something like this:
But the realization of what was happening around the world and closer to home didn't lend itself to spending creative collaboration time with mentors and making better connections with my peers. Instead, I found myself even more isolated than before. But I did not let go of the intention for the year.
My intention was that I wanted to create a calmer, more simplistic life where I could be creative, successful, AND not be so stressed.
So the reality of my Intention looked more like this….
It's okay to be a harsh judge, as long as you also know when to let it go.
Here we are at the end of that year, and I'm looking at my goal list of both professional, personal, and physical goals and my first instinct is to criticize myself for not meeting most of those goals.
“You had 365 days to drop 10 lbs, and here you are exactly where you were. “
“You had a whole year to improve your blog and make more money. But where is the $$$?”
“You broke off relationships, and that sucks!”
Yep, I'm pretty critical of myself. But I also forgive myself as well, and that's what I'm giving you permission to do with yourself as well.
In 2020, I personally found myself paralyzed with fear and rage of the Covid-19 virus and the injustices inflicted on people of color. I found that I wanted to act. I wanted to march and yell. My soul wanted to stop the madness and break down in tears at the loss of lives. But I was paralyzed into stillness, and I found myself pushing back for my own mental health and taking a lot of time off social media and the internet. I put my focus back into mediation and being mindful of my words and actions.
I could have worked out more, but I didn't and that's okay. I actually took the year to practice yoga almost daily, meditate more, and tried out pilates! Did I lose weight? Nope! But… I'm proud of myself for trying to be more physically active.
I saw the world crumbling, and instead of writing a bunch of dumb ” Come look at my beautiful fake life” posts… I turned off social media and went outside… a lot. Sometimes I didn't come back inside until bedtime. I talked to a lot of fireflies, and it was a great conversation!
And yes, I ended several toxic friendships because I needed to face that sometimes people have overstayed their purpose and it's time to let them go.
So does that mean that I didn't do anything? Not at all!
My intention was to create a safe, calm, simple life for myself to battle the stress and negative energy from the outside world.
I actually met that intention very well because I devoted time and energy to letting go of the things we can't control and embracing simplicity.
We watched movies outside, lit bonfires with friends at a safe distance, and I learned that we didn't have to go to fancy restaurants to be social instead we could meet in parking lots, zoom calls, and send each other cards in the mail again! 2020 forced me to slow down and embrace the simple life I had asked for.
The Goal Setting And Intentions Process
In the year ahead, if you want to make consistent progress in reaching your goals you need to have a better process for setting goals.
My goal-setting process is to get clear about the areas that I feel that I want to work on.
I make a list in three categories:
Physical Improvements – working out, diet, strength training, and mastery over my physical limitations that I face living with Lyme Disease and Fibromyalgia
Professional Improvements- things related to my work, networking, time-saving skills, etc.
Personal Improvements – mental health, relationships, education or life experiences, skills, and more
Other categories might also include Finances, Nutrition, Family, Habits, etc.
The next thing that I do is make my phone hold me accountable. I go through my goal list and set daily, weekly, and monthly reminders. When you set deadlines for meeting specific goals and putting that goal in your phone's calendar with a weekly reminder of that deadline, you have accountability to those goals.
Example: In 2021, I would like to publish a cookbook. I made a long list of very detailed steps to accomplish.
“Come Up With Recipe Theme” – I set that goal for the first week in January.
Yes, I actually ask myself questions to engage my mind in a conversation for action. It helps!
Other goals require more mindset change.
Those goals I use in my daily meditations.
Write down your goal on a sticky note and place it in that place to see it when you are setting your daily intentions. This means setting what you believe you want your whole day to look like.
I like to take a couple of hours every morning to work on goals and intentions by getting up and looking at my daily calendar on my phone, which has small goals and reminders of more significant goals. Then I workout, and in my workout room, I leave myself sticky notes about what I am hoping to accomplish. Sometimes it just says, “Do it, don't complain.”
And finally, I mediate. That's pretty obvious that this is where I use some of that quiet time to think about where I am in the process of some of my mental and emotional goals.
Change your routines to accommodate attaining your goals!
In the mornings, after working out, I put on a podcast related to the three categories: Motivational, Career, or Personal Improvement and jump in the shower. Lord, so many times, I have heard something genuinely life-shaking, and I have given myself permission to get excited about it. This might sound a bit strange coming out of my shower, but I love podcasts that make a connection that sinks in deep.
Frankly, I adore Jasmine Star, and there have been times that I just can't even listen to her because I'm overwhelmed with excitement. And I know I have to pace myself and do my best not to get sidetracked and lose focus. This is precisely why I love listening to podcasts in the shower because I can go back and listen again and again and let that excitement and inspiration charge me for the rest of the day.
But I start each workday morning with a podcase that is going to inspire me to be the best, most productive version of myself. And it truly helps!
I believe in the power of setting goals and intention because I know how many times I've stared at an empty field and dreamed of a beautiful garden, a farmhouse of my own, and refused to let go of that vision. I've been homeless and lived in a broken recliner at a friend's house and closed my eyes every night setting the intention that one night I would wake up surrounded by the people I love, in a home where everyone feels welcome. And that's my new normal… the place where I welcome people to come and dine at my table and share their goals and dreams.
Thanks for sticking with this super long post. I promise you that in 21, most of the posts will be a whole lot shorter.
And you can get smaller clips, on our Instagram Feed where I encourage you to share your thoughts about this post and your goals!