I’ve been on a high since January 1. The beginning of a fresh New Year is always a thrilling time, but if the conversations I’ve been having with friends on and offline are any indication, there’s definitely an elevated level of excitement for 2012 – and I’m vibing on its electric feel in a major way. Actually, there’s a good chance I may combust if I get any more fired up about this year.
I know we’re all in a flurry of vision-boarding and word-choosing madness at the moment but of course, intrinsic to all that dreamsetting is the selection of a handful (or more, or less) of intentions to work towards achieving before the year is out.
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes” ~ Andrew Carnegie
Intentions + Creations vs. Resolutions.
I’ve never been a fan of the word “resolution,” because to me, resolutions are weak, implying that we “should” be doing something – something that inevitably doesn’t happen when our dream stream conks out and Real Life gets in the way.
This is where intention comes in. An intention is a course of action that we intend to follow – the journey towards a more positive version of ourselves, reflected in our actions. I love that, but there’s still an element of wishy-washiness to the word intention, don’t you think? After all, intend means “have in mind” or “plan on.”
We can do better.
In two-thousand-and-twelve, the year of super-sized dreams and schemes, I’ve decided to blow things up and follow Kate Northup’s shimmering lead. I’m reframing my goals and intentions as “creations.”
Bringing into existence.
Definitive. Sure. Absolute.
I can work with that!
Below I’ll be interchanging the words “goal” and “creation” but ultimately, we’re about to step fully into this New Year by defining the big beautiful things you want to create in your life!
Everything You Need To Know To Set Your Goals (on fire) in 2012.
First, a question: why are goals/ creations/ intentions so important anyway?
Because they define possibility.
Because when we don’t get clarity around where we’ve been and where we want to go, we get stuck.
Because they unshackle potent ambition and open the floodgates to creative freedom.
Because dreaming them up requires us to stop and ask ourselves: “Why do I want what I want?”
Are we all ready to blaze a trail in 2012? Yes? Excellent. Here’s how we’re going to do it:
1. Dream extreme.
“Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors where only there were walls.” ~ Joseph Campbell
What would your life look like if you were told that you could have anything you wanted? How would you feel knowing anything was possible? It’s time for a bit of high-octane dreamin’ – which is, in my opinion, the most essential part of uncovering the things we yearn to create.
Taking action: Find a quiet place and get ready to unleash with wild abandon. Give yourself permission to dream bigger than you ever have before. Don’t self-edit or censor your passion as you go – simply tap into those tucked away corners of your soul and pour it all out on paper. Expand your vision and see where it takes you.
If you can’t get past “Earn more money” or “Quit smoking for good” and aligning yourself with humungo, scary dreams has you breaking out in a cold sweat, imagine you’re telling your best friend that their biggest dream (the most gargantuan one you can conjure up) has just come true.
“Honey, wait ‘til you hear what I’m about to tell you! Your book just obliterated the number one spot on the New York Times Best Seller List! Like, smoked it.”
“Sweet friend-o-mine, your album went triple platinum (!!) and Beyonce called, she said you’d know what she wanted – something about Madison Square Garden?”
“The black Lamborghini, Miss? Certainly. Nice choice. Shall we deliver it to the castle in Como?”
The best friend is obviously YOU, but playing this little mind trick if you’re feeling uneasy and battling the self-worth nasties is the easiest way to put those inner critics back in their box so you can let your dream stream flow unhindered. Brace yourself for breakthroughs.
2. Decide who you want to be.
Once you’ve done your dream purge – and learnt a bit about your deepest desires in the process, no doubt – ask yourself who you want to be. Your big goal might to be become a brilliant interior designer but I’m guessing that’s not all you want. Do you want to be overjoyed/ vivacious/ confident/ respected/ innovative/ mindful/ brimming with loving kindness/ all of the above? Define the vision for your ideal self and write down all the qualities and traits of this “supreme you.”
Taking action: When I started this blog, I jotted down a few number-based goals (for example, reaching 200 Likes on my bloggy Facebook page) which were nice (yet essentially out of my control) but I also wrote a few affirmations for myself like “I am genuine in everything I do and I give freely to others” and “I encourage, uplift and inspire others to greatness.” It’s a choice to use these core values as my personal Code of Conduct – and whether I achieve and receive the other things on my list, they’ll always underpin everything I do.
3. Get specific.
So you’ve done the big dream thing, you’ve worked out who you want to be and now it’s time to refine. Vague goals = vague results so give your subsconscious mind something concrete to work with.
What do you want?
When do you want it?
What tools can you use to help?
Example of a powerless goal: “I want to drop a few kg’s/ pounds and lose the jiggle (when I wiggle)”
Example of an powerful goal: “I want to lose 5kg’s by my wedding day on 11 March so I can feel proud and empowered, knowing I did everything I could to look exceptional.” (notice I added the feeling in there too).
Taking action: Measure your body to see what you’re working with. Stick a calendar on your wall with your start date/ end date. Download the MyNetDiary or MyFitnessPal apps for your phone to teach you about the calories in the food you’re eating. Get a personal trainer. Have a nutritionist do you up an achievable meal plan. Move more. Watch your portions. Make a happiness compendium – a folder full of inspiring stories/ quotes/ images. Get a fitness buddy. Do the math: working backwards from your end date, how many grams do you have to lose a day to reach your goal weight? What does that mean for you – cutting out the sugar in your coffee? The chocolate bar after lunch?
When you chunk it down into palatable pieces, anything is possible (you’ve gotta believe me on this). Make it measurable, and nail it.
4. Have a goal that scares you.
Time for a You Revolution? You need a goal that requires you to grow in order to achieve it!
Taking action: Get uncomfortable in your pursuit of sizzling passion and world-changing genius. I often put my whoa-Nelly goals on my vision board so that I’ve got a visual right there staring back at me every day. Funny thing is, over time, those whoa-Nellies don’t seem that absurd anymore.
5. Drum it in.
Make them visible. Find the highest traffic area in your home and stick ’em right there. Commit to taking a few minutes morning and night to visualise your goals and feel the way you’ll feel when you accomplish them.
Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame talks about this daily discipline increasing what psychologists call “structural tension.” What that means is that your brain wants to close the gap between your current reality and your goal, which in turn stimulates motivation and creativity and heightens your awareness of the resources that will help you achieve that goal.
Taking action: While I’m not usually a tension fan, I’m all for gap-closing so I write my goals on index cards and leave them beside my bed to read before I go to sleep. I’m also a huge advocate of putting positive reminders in your phone to pop up at random times during the week.
6. Borrow someone else’s brain (well, at least pick it).
Ever heard the Anthony Robbins saying “Success leaves clues?” Basically it means that whatever you goal is, chances are someone has already achieved it – and left clues to help you on your way.
Taking action: These days, there are blogs for every topic under the star-studded sky, full of how-to’s and real life stories of triumph. There are books, courses, webinars, podcasts, workshops, the whole shebang. Let other people light the way and act as your greatest resource. Pick brains, ask someone out for coffee (or cocktails) and ask them how they rock it like they do.
7. Rinse and repeat.
Taking action: I conduct a six monthly review to update my vision board and my intentions to (a) tidy up the list once I’ve crossed a few off or (b) get rid of the ones that no longer interest me. How you feel at the start of the year is often very different to how you feel mid-year, and life sends us off in weird and wonderful directions sometimes so what you yearn for may change in the process.
My Personal Creations for 2012
I’ve got a list of things that I want to achieve before December 31 this year but my primary focus for the first six months is our wedding (you only get one shot!) and after the Big Day in June, I’ll be conducting a dream review and setting new goals for the latter part of the year. Here are (just a few) from my list that I’ll be focusing on for now:
I will create the wedding of my dreams. I will have our wedding completely organised by 1st May, 2012. I want to ensure that everything is sorted out a month before our big day on 2nd June (all vendors booked and double-triple-checked, all crafty projects completed, table layout defined) so that I can spend the last month tying up any unexpected projects and enjoying the lead up with the love of my life. Preparation is golden.
I will create an e-book. By August 2012, I want to have incubated and launched a stunning e-book. I will team up with an amazing graphic designer and bring together a mix of words and images to create a book that will be as useful as it is beautiful. Watch this space!
I will create my heathiest, fittest body. My knee injury will be completed healed by Jan 31, 2012 and I will complete the 16-week half marathon training (still undecided if I’ll run the actual race here as I’d prefer to run one somewhere else in the world!) I will follow a healthy meal plan and replace my sneaky 3pm chocolate habit with fruit. I will be accountable and as I mentioned on Facebook yesterday, I will be reviewing what I’m doing to get in the best shape of my life right here for you all.
What do you intend to create/ achieve/ change/ nurture in 2012?
I’d love you to leave me a comment and let me know what you’ll create this year (especially interested in those big, hairy, audacious goals!) I love hearing people’s dreams and I truly believe there’s this energy that attaches itself to publicly declared dreams that calls forward the resources needed to bring them to actuality.
With bright eyes and a sense of euphoria, I welcome 2012. Align. Ease. Amplify.