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  • Writer's pictureDena Lampert

2021: A Year of Intentions

Looking back over the last 12 months might be daunting, but let’s give it a go. When we explore what worked and what didn’t, we will be able to plan for the upcoming year, adjust a few things, learn from the year, be grateful, and realize how much we overcame in 2020. It will allow us to make better decisions, make a few mindset adjustments, and create more tangible joyful elements for 2021.

Reflect on the past year

2020 brought many unforeseen circumstances. It was a year of confusion, fear, uncertainty, and many other emotions that a lot of us couldn’t quite explain.

Although 2020 might have started off like any other year—a year with great goals and great intentions—it quickly went awry. Many of our goals quickly became unachievable and for many of us, this was a heartbreaking and difficult reality to accept.

Often when we don’t meet our goals or feel that our opportunity to succeed is being taken away, we get discouraged and might be likely to make new goals in fear that something similar might happen again.

As you mentally and emotionally review the events of 2020, ask yourself:

  • What went well?

  • What was successful?

  • What goals did I meet?

  • What goals did I not meet?

  • Why did I not meet those goals?

  • What emotions did I have during this year?

  • Why did I have those emotions?

Take an in-depth look at your year and what goals you met or didn’t meet, what emotions you experienced, and why you felt that way.

Setting intentions, not resolutions

Though it might be easy to say the year-old phrase, “New year, new me” this year did not start out so “new”. It almost felt like 2020 bled right into 2021. Regardless of your political views, we can all agree that the events at the beginning of this year made 2021 feel much the same or worse than 2020.

This year, however, try setting intentions and small goals, rather than grand resolutions. Yes, resolutions are goals, but often they automatically set us up for failure before we even begin. Why? Because often there is no structured plan behind achieving them. They are just goals floating around, hoping to be achieved.

Intentions are goals with a purpose. Intentions are relaxed, and flexible.

How many times have you set a new year's resolution only to feel deflated when you don’t succeed?

Intentions are there to give you a plan and a purpose. They allow you to adjust and change as needed. And intentions don’t make you feel deflated if you don’t achieve them within a certain timeline.

Adjusting your mindset

So how do we go about making new year's intentions? We first need to get our mindset in a place that will serve us and our intentions.

The events of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 may have caused you to be discouraged from achieving your goals to the point of not wanting to make any new ones. But goals give us purpose.

This year, it’s important to focus on the positives, the joyous moments and remember that good can come when we pursue goals with realized intentions.

How to set intentions

Discover what brings you joy

Write down all the things that bring you joy. Even if you aren’t sure why it brings you joy, write it down. Write down what gives you purpose and creates happiness for you. Once you have written down all the things that make you happy—no matter how small—start implementing a few of these things on a daily or weekly basis.

Stop doing things that bring you down

Keeping negativity around you will only make reaching your goals more of a struggle. So whether it be waking up late or hanging out with someone that doesn’t bring you joy, stop doing the things that are not benefiting your growth or are unaligned with your intentions.

Think about what is important to you

When we hold in our mind what is important to us, it is much easier to reach our goals, even if we’re surrounded by uncertainty. Whether it be your kids, your spouse, your pets, being outdoors or having a zoom call with a faraway friend. Whatever is important to you will help you align with your intentions for the year.

Keep things positive

Every time you think you “can’t” do something or you don’t want to do something, remember to think positively. I know it sounds simple but you’ll be surprised at how effective it is.

Even if a plan you had arranged goes a little bit differently than expected, remember to think positively. Keep in mind that just because a plan we make goes awry, it doesn’t mean it failed. There could be another way to achieve that goal. Maybe even a better way!

Create a vision board

Sometimes there is nothing better than visually seeing your goals and intentions posted on the wall! That’s why we like Pinterest right? Take clippings of words, images, quotes, short and long-term desires, and create a vision board.

Pro tip: Display your vision board on the wall of a room you enter most, so you can look at it every single day and remember why you’re working towards your goals. This will help to motivate you and align you with your intentions each day.

The events of 2020 knocked us all down, some of us more than once, but we are not knocked out. Like it or not, we are all survivors now and stronger than you may have imagined. Let’s not allow all that has worked against us to define who we are. Set your intentions that will prepare you for success, support you in reaching your goals, and allow you to be more flexible with those goals if things don’t go to plan.


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