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  • Writer's pictureJohanna McFarland

Setting Intentions for a New Year

It's a new year! The calendar says so. Like many, I'm having a hard time grasping that a New Year has started. I'm not a huge "new years resolution" type of person but I do like to set the tone and set intentions for the new year ahead, because... why not!!! In this blog, I'm going to be laying out some tips for setting intentions for a new year as well as note some of my intentions for 2021.

Before I get started I want to address the elephant in the room. This particular elephant is called, 2020-sucked-so-how-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-think-positively-about-a-new-year. Jeez, that's a long name for an elephant. I only speak for myself on my blog but I think it's appropriate to say that I speak for a lot of people when I say that 2020 was draining, horrible, exhausting, confusing, depressing, and stressful. With this mind, I find it more important than ever to set intentions for the new year instead of resolutions or goals. Intentions are about where you are right now. The future can be a stressful thing to think about, especially right now. So setting intentions is a lot more doable. Really think about how you want to feel this new year.

1. Year in review! No, I'm not referring to posting your "top photos on Instagram". This is a more in-depth discovery of what you went through this past year. This involves one of my favourite things; a notebook! Grab your favourite notebook (maybe an opportunity to purchase a band-spanking-new one!) and your pen (or penS - like colourful gel pens and pastel highlighters - yes, I used colourful gel pens and pastel highlighters). It might be hard to determine where to start, so here are some helpful questions that you can ask yourself to get your thoughts flowing (for each question think of your personal and professional life): *what was your proudest moment this year *what's 1-3 things you learned this year *who did you surround yourself with this year *what could you not have lived without this year (try not to say Netflix - but also, say Netflix) This part of intention setting is very personal, so I'm not going to share mine. ... but it went on for several pages. FRONT AND BACK (shout out to my fellow Friends lovers)!

2. Describe the feeling you want to have the most in the new year. Pick one emotion that you hope to feel the most this year. Now, describe what you need each day, week, and month to feel happy. *To feel _____ this year I need _____ every day, _____ every week, and ______ each month. Here's mine: to feel happy this year I need a routine every day, date night every week, and significant time with family and friends each month. You might have a different emotion! Like excited or relaxed. But do the same exercise; think about what you need each day, week, and month to achieve that feeling.

3. Give yourself a break! This one is VERY important. Yah know how we just finished the holidays? It probably looked different for a lot of people. But oddly, it was still really busy and stressful (anyone else feels this?). So even though we just finished the holiday break, I think we all need to take a break. But I believe taking breaks is something we should all make an effort to do throughout the new year. *I need to take a break when _______. *To me, a break looks like ________. *I need _______ to effectively take a break. Here's mine: I need to take a break when I feel overwhelmed and upset. To me, a break looks like me getting some fresh air outside. I need alone time to effectively take a break.

4. Think about having a bad day. Stay with me here... Bad days happen - they REALLY happened in 2020 and they are going to happen in 2021. What I decided to do for myself this year is figure out a way to better handle the "bad days". I want to re-wire my brain to welcome bad days. Did I lose you again? If you really think about it, "bad days" happen when 1-2 things didn't go our way. Those 1-2 things take up maybe an hour of our days. What about the rest of the day?! It's still a full day that we lived our life! So if a bad day happens, think about what you need to do to still get what you want out of that day. Also, from bad days come good days - because of what we learned during the bad day! *If I had a bad day I'm going to ________. *I'm allowed to ________. *To get over it I'm going to _________. Here's mine: If I had a bad day I'm going to let myself feel those emotions and then move on. I'm allowed to cry, punch something, cancel plans (with people and myself). To get over it I'm going to journal what happened, how it made me feel, give myself a break (see above), and learn for next time.

5. Failing isn't an option! Remember when we were kids, and we would write out our Birthday wish lists? The craziest things would be on those lists... a dog, a million dollars, my brother to be grounded for a month - you get the point. We would never be afraid to ask because we didn't know any better. Then we grew up and discovered this stupid thing called reality. In that reality, there are things like rejection, no recess, and failing. Let's set some intentions for the year but... let's remove the aspect of failing. *I want to BE ____ *I want to DO ____ *I want to HAVE ____ This is another personal one, so I'm not going to share mine. But for BE I did have "a millionaire". Because who doesn't want to be a millionaire?......

I wanted to leave you with a few more "typical" New Year Intention Setting prompts that should help you! When setting these - try to think small. This year is going to be about taking it one day at a time and achieving small goals. The last thing we need to do is to overwhelm ourselves.

Intentions for the next 6 MONTHS: Personal 1. 2. 3. 4. Health and Fitness 1. 2. 3. 4. Home 1. 2. 3. 4. Career 1. 2. 3. 4.

One final note: Let's do this more often! In 5-6 months, you should be checking in on your intentions for this year. Do some need to be adjusted (that's okay if they do!)? Do you need more time to achieve something (that's okay too)? Revisit, Revise, Reset your intentions for the year more than just once.

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