I just finished reading this article on how goals are the root cause of failure. In exaggerated terms, goals are the anti-progress in our lives. How could this be? The article explains that by focusing solely on the vague outcome of our goals, we forget to define the process of getting there – the structure that brings our goals to fruition. By focusing on the outcome rather than the journey, we set ourselves up for discontentment in the current moment. The goal-oriented mentality of “I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal,” teaches us to continually put happiness and gratitude off until the next milestone. So by committing to a process rather than a goal, it takes the stress off our shoulders and creates a structure we can operate within to enjoy progress and accomplishment each day.
With this in mind, I’ve curated a list of my favorite intention setting tools that help cultivate mindfulness around the journey and create structures that help manifest our New Years intentions…
No. 01 – Get Healthy
Isn’t “losing weight and feeling great” the most common New Years resolution we hear time and time again? Then by January 20th you find yourself still noshing away on those stale holiday cookies in your cupboard while marathoning old episodes of Downton Abbey over that long MLK Day weekend, right?
Let’s change that pattern by creating new structures that support positive health habits! Join me from January 4-17, 2014 for this guided whole food and juice cleanse that teaches you confidence in the kitchen and cultivates that intuitive connection with your nutrition. More details and registration on the Vidya whole body and mind detox program here. Registration for the winter program closes Jan 2nd, be sure to sign up before then and join the Vidya online cleanse community!
No. 02 – Be Productive
Create your daily structures then infuse them with your souls passions! You’ll find your productivity increases when you’re truly excited about the project or task at hand.
Danielle LaPorte’s “Desire Map” does just this. The maps takes you a step deeper into your process planning and asks you, “What are your desired feelings in life?” Rather than focusing on the material outcomes, can you bring balance into the structure by aligning your process with your emotional desires? I also recommend ordering her lovely hardcover day planner to keep you refining your daily intentions behind your to-do lists.
No. 03 – Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is a potent practice. But it’s just that: a practice! So pick up a new blank notebook, title it “Gratitude Journal”, and keep it by your bedside. Before you go to sleep, take 5 minutes to reflect on your day and write down (don’t just think it!) what you were grateful for. It could be as simple as “I’m grateful for the perfect cup of chai I drank this morning” or “I’m grateful that all the traffic lights were green on my drive to work this morning”. Don’t by shy to explore both the seemingly simple and the profoundly meaningful moments in your day.
I challenge you to adopt this ritual into your daily process and see how it manifests your desired feelings and goals in beautiful and unusual ways! And for my tech loving friends who want to do both, here’s a little app to visually track your 365 days of gratitude.
*Above image from Michela Picchi’s “Dive” collage.