December 30, 2019

Don’t bother making resolutions. You already know what they’re going to be—recycled versions of whatever you didn’t manage to accomplish in 2018, which have somehow dragged their way into 2019. Now, this isn’t just about entering the new decade on a fresh slate, or recognising and ditching the practices that never worked for you in the past. This is about shifting your perspective. Instead of making resolutions, take some time before or at the start of 2020 to set your intentions. And I don’t just mean for the year ahead, which is often the duration of your average resolution.

Intentions are tied to the bigger picture, the grand vision for your life and career, and that goes beyond the next 365 days. In fact, those yearly resolutions tend to be fairly limiting. They focus on the negative, attempt to fix whatever that you’re not satisfied with in your life, and count failure as the end of the journey, rather than a necessary step towards your destination. When you frame your goals as intentions, you’ll see that the road ahead is meandering. A momentary lapse doesn’t mean it’s game over for you.

With resolutions, however, your subconscious mind may have already given up on them long before you decide what they’ll be. The truth is, resolutions are not made for the long haul, which is why many can’t sustain them. Intentions, on the other hand, are flexible. They’re made with the full awareness that there isn’t a fixed path to where you want to be. You may lay out the steps at the start of the year, but those steps may change. What works for you in the first half of 2020 may not in the second half, all because as humans we’re ever-evolving too.

Intentions aren’t solely made of tangible goals either. They encompass your interior world, your mind, body and soul. You can’t always control what happens at an important meeting, but you can determine your approach and your reception of the events that ensue. Resolutions shed light on what you lack. Goals focus on results over effort. Intentions define the way you live your life. You could intend to practise gratitude, to show more kindness, to find more balance in your day-to-day activities, to contribute positively to the world around you. These overarching notions bleed into every aspect of your life and have the power to transform your entire identity.

Before you start setting those intentions, it is crucial to take a breather—particularly if you’ve had a frenetic month, bulldozing through work engagements. Consider Norway’s romjul, the period of time between Christmas and New Year’s that is set aside for your personal wellbeing. It’s a time of rest and meditation, a mindset that helps to reset your system, take stock of the past year, and reflect on the coming one. You could spend romjul indulging in long strolls, reconnecting with your nearest and dearest, or dream-setting for 2020 the way Yung Raja does it.

Here are a few guiding questions to mull over and ask yourself as you look within and rediscover your True North:

    1. What lessons are there to harvest from 2019?

    2. What are the limiting beliefs that I should let go of?

    3. What are my core values and how did I arrive at them?

    4. What’s the one thing I’ve always wanted to do, but never did?

    5. What do I want to be remembered for?

    6. What excites and motivates me to wake up every day in the morning?

    7. What’s currently missing from my life?

    8. Am I growing and evolving into the person I desire to be or do I feel stagnant?

    9. What does “living my best life” look like?

    10. What is my raison d’être?

Once you’ve settled on the direction you’d like to head towards, start defining your intentions. Write them down, lest you forget them. Devise a strategy to keep yourself accountable—don’t shy away from rallying a buddy to offer a daily dose of encouragement—and create a practical plan for each month to ensure you’re sticking to your intentions. Above all, remind yourself of your “why”. The moment all this becomes a drag, you’ll know that you’ve veered from the original purpose of manifesting them. Still, even if you end up falling off track in March, don’t abandon ship. After all, change needs time to take root.