3, 2, 1… Happy New Year! AKA the time when resolutions are flying and marketing shifts to themes of “New Year, New You” at every scroll, channel flip, and email notification. I admit, the annual reset button that is the new year is a tempting time to right all the wrongs, get into shape, organize the sock drawer, and myriad other to-do’s that, in reality, should have been done during the last period of resolution-making. Yet somehow, what starts out as a few days of astronomical expectations and lofty goals fades into another backlog of bygones by the time the holidays roll around. I don’t know about you, but after the way 2020 quickly devolved into chaos, I haven’t been in the mood for intangible goal-setting when it comes to the year ahead.
The reality of it is, or a least as I’ve found, is that inflexible expectations are the enemy of satisfaction. Setting goals is a good thing, but when those goals aren’t able to adjust and evolve as life inevitably does, you’re left with disappointment and unfulfilled dreams that, after a while, build up. That brought me to a dilemma in late 2020 with the New Year quickly approaching: is it possible to set goals and start anew without ultimately setting yourself up for potential feelings of failure?
After a virtual wellness check-in with a few of my close friends, I came to realize the answer, in short, is: yes! My friend and former bridesmaid Patricia (@patricia.cosulich) told me that her approach to the New Year, New You dilemma involves setting intentions, or themes for the year ahead. For me, this seemed much more palatable than hard-and-fast resolutions, and allowed for a more complete change by shifting the mindset, instead of being tied to a checklist. So, I became determined to set some intentions of my own for 2021, and do a little reflection along the way.
Watch the video below for a recap of my year in 2020 and my hope for starting anew in 2021, and keep reading for my intentions this year…
My Intentions for 2021
My first intention/theme for 2021 is gentleness, both with myself and with those supporting me. To me, this means creating less pressure to be perfect, destigmatizing mental struggles, and reducing the need to have everyone’s approval in every endeavor.
02- Calm Acceptance
My second intention for this year is calm acceptance: acceptance of myself and where I am in life, and acceptance of whatever situation arises. If I’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that it’s impossible to predict what life throws at you, and resistance to situations you simply can’t change only hurts you in the end. As a recovering (and often relapsing) control freak myself, this is the hardest thing for me to do, but it’s also been my biggest obstacle to joy, and there’s no time like the present to start.
It might seem like a lot of work at first to set intentions instead of resolutions, but the way I approached it is this:
01- Ask yourself, “What is holding me back from living my fullest life?”
The key is to focus on concepts that can be within your control, not things that may or may not be. For example, instead of saying “My lack of money is holding me back” dig a little deeper and say something like “My lack of financial responsibility is holding me back”. Making more money isn’t always certain or in your control, but choosing wisely with the money you have is.
02- Determine the mindset shifts that would help you overcome these obstacles.
Like the example above, if you find yourself constrained by a lack of financial responsibility, some mindset shifts can include being more intentional with your purchases, or finding fulfillment in other areas of your life that don’t involve spending money. These mindset shifts can pave the way for long-term success because they aim to create better, sustainable habits.
03- Turn these mindset shifts into intentions/themes using a few words!
Following above, your intentions/themes could be: Spending with Intention, or Self-Fulfillment. Start by remembering these phrases when you’re navigating your everyday life, and use them as tools to start building better ways.
While I’m far from an expert on this subject, and my knowledge is still pretty limited when it comes to living intentionally, I’ve found that this is what has worked for me so far. I’m planning on doing a lot more learning, but I thought these simple tips were worth sharing to hopefully combat the barrage of dialog that comes with each new year whose goal is ultimately to sell, not improve.
Wishing you a 2021 full of health, happiness, and love! Thank you for joining me on my journey; MDM wouldn’t be possible without you, my muses!