5 Steps To Setting Intentional Goals (And Why Your Success Depends On It)

January did not get off to a rolling start in my world.

After a whirlwind flurry of holidays, family and travel I woke up on January 1st exhausted from the holiday season. Then we all proceeded to get sick and pass the stomach flu around for a solid week or so. Oh, and our furnace broke.

Super fun!

But despite my slow start, I still love the feeling of a new year. It’s the perfect time to refocus your life, set new intentions and decide how you want to grow through the year.

And if your year has started out a little bit like mine, I’m here to tell you:

We still have plenty of time.

Even though we are half way through January, the year is 12 long months. Taking some time to set intentions for the new year can mean a BIG difference in the progress you make towards your goals.

Setting intentions for the new year doesn’t have to feel rigid or restrictive. But it does take some thoughtful reflection and planning.

Here are the 5 steps I follow to set my intentions for the year:

1. Start with some reflection

It’s really helpful to start with some reflection on how the previous year went for you. Use your Instagram feed, calendar or journal to help you remember all the fun things accomplished in 2017. It’s crazy how we forget all of the good so quickly. I had already forgotten about a boat trip to the San Juan Islands we had taken the past summer!

2. Pick a word of the year

Once I have my reflection list, I can see what is missing or what I want more of in my life. (This is similar to the process I put my coaching clients through) I consider how I want to feel, what I want my life to look like, and evaluate what isn’t working.

Then I start to brainstorm words that represent what I am calling into my life. And it sounds corny, but when you find the right word for your year, you just know. My 2018 word is Thrive.

3. Have a visual reminder that is part of your daily life

This is the fun part. Once I have my word I hop on Pinterest to find images that represent the general goals I have created and also represent my word of the year. I pull these into a collage (use Canva or PicMonkey) and make it the lock screen on my phone so I can see it everyday! It’s amazing the inspiration I get every time I unlock my phone.

4. Create an action plan

Now it’s time to get more specific about how you are going to allocate your time, energy and money in the new year. I love outlining the big projects I want to tackle for the year, but I also like to create “baby step” goals. Things I could be doing a little bit everyday to help achieve my goals. Honestly, a lot of the time I am more successful with my baby step goals!

One of my baby step goals for 2018 is to try more vegetarian recipes. That’s it. As simple and undefined as that.

5. Have a way to track your progress through the year

Honestly, I have not been great at checking in on my progress through the year and this is something I’m trying to get better at. This year I’m putting reminders in my calendar at the end of each quarter to check in and course correct based on how the year is going.

And that’s it! Remember, this is YOUR process. It doesn’t have to be done on January 1st or even 31st. But worth taking the time to follow this process (or your own!) and to be intentional about what you want to see develop in your life. Don’t just sit back and let life happen to you, take back the control and the power and choose which direction you want to go.