As we move into a new year, it’s common to reflect on the past twelve months and set resolutions for the upcoming year. However, all too often these resolutions are made from a place of shame or guilt, and not only do you lack motivation to follow through, but they don’t truly address your desires and needs.
By setting resolutions that are coming from a place of obligation or the things we think we “should” commit to, we set ourselves up for failure, and in turn, beat ourselves up when we don’t succeed. You can see where this is going — if you’re beating yourself up, then you’re going to want to avoid feeling that way by avoid the task altogether… and well, now you’ve got that resolution held at arms’ length and really don’t want to touch it.
If this sounds familiar, I invite you to reframe your approach to resolutions by reflecting on your life lessons throughout the past year and reviewing your values and priorities to see if they align with those resolutions you’ve been thinking of making.
Here is the process I use for my own reflection, as well as what I suggest to the women I work with:
- Celebrate your wins – make a list of all you have done (or not done)
- Appreciate your circle of trust and support by reaching out to actually thank them
- Acknowledge your own resilience and amazing ability to overcome challenges in the past year
- Reclaim your energy from all the people and places you overgave
- Release what no longer serves you – this requires thinking about what is zapping your energy and depleting you vs energizing you
- Reconnect with who you are and your greatest vision of yourself and your dream life
Vision Comes Before Goals
How many times have you randomly added resolutions to your year or goals to your week because you thought you “should”?
Do your resolutions or goals intentionally move the needle closer to your desires?
So how do we visioneer a life that we love and make sure that our goals are in alignment with this amazing vision that we have for ourselves?
Step 1: Choose a word, not resolutions
After having done the work of reflection and reconnection with our personal vision, one way to capture the essence of all that you desire for yourself is to choose a multi-dimensional word of the year.
Instead of focusing on achievement, consider how you want to feel and who you want to be at the end of 2023.
Some examples of words that have been chosen in the past are growth, courage, abundance, creativity, love. But there are no right or wrong answers – ultimately, the word you choose should be personal and meaningful to you.
If you’re stuck on what word to choose, consider these questions:
- What did 2022 teach me?
- What do I need more/less of in my life?
- Who do I want to be and how do I want to feel at the end of 2023?
- What feels like a life priority to me right now?
Once you’ve landed on a word, get creative with how you want to integrate it into your daily life. Find an anchor – a powerful reminder of what your word stands for and how you want it to guide you in 2023. It will help you remember your word and bring you back to your intention over and over again.
In the past, I’ve gotten jewelry stamped with my word on it, painted my word on a rock, and even bought a little trinket for my desk that I can see every day. Your anchor has to be something that speaks to YOU. Other ways you can anchor yourself to your word and your intention include creating vision boards or mantras around your word, meditating on your intentions daily, journaling about your word – get as specific or as general as feels good for you. The sky is the limit!
I’ll go first – my word for 2023 is “water.” I didn’t choose it immediately, though. At first, I had a more 2-dimensional word, “restoration”, that didn’t quite work. When I allowed myself to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned in 2022 and my personal values, the word “water” suddenly came to mind as a lovely representation of the changes that I want to make.
Now, I have a gazillion reasons for choosing this word, from wanting to embody a sense of flow and ease to the responsibility that comes with causing a ripple. It represents replenishment and restoration, as well as strength and power. I could expound for days, but WATER probably warrants a post or two of its own. (Watch this month for more!)
The point I’m making is that we can choose a very simple word (there’s no right or wrong here), but sometimes it’s worth sitting in your own creativity and waiting for a deeper, richer word to come to you.
I encourage you to choose a word of the year that supports your personal and professional development. Leave a comment below with your word of the year! 👇
Step 2: Visioneer
What is visioneering? It’s the process of taking your vision and engineering it into actionable, real life goals. This is where we really begin to not just think about how we want to feel, but about the changes we want to make in all areas of our life.
What will your life look like in December?
How do you want to grow? Simplify? Succeed? Change? Begin?
What values are key in your vision?
Envision your life in ALL areas.
Write it down. You can be creative and make yourself the heroine of a fabulous tale or magnificent work of art, but try to make a record for yourself so you can use it as motivation.
Step 3: Decide on Areas of Growth
It’s time to figure out your priorities by revisiting your “life accounts”, or all of the different areas of your life. These might include your kids, your job, or any other areas that are important to you. At the minimum, check the life accounts listed in this graphic as a starting place, but feel free to add as many accounts as you need to represent your life and what you value.
A Life Wheel allows you to measure your contentedness and where there may be a need for growth. Once you’ve identified areas that need attention, this will help you prioritize your 2023 and where you might want to put more energy.
Step 4: Choose Aligned Action
Now as you set your oh-so-SMART goals, allow those to be shaped and informed not only by your values and interests, but by:
- Your lessons learned in 2022
- Your word of the year
- Your vision for 2023
- Your identified life accounts that need the most growth
When you are able to reframe the process of making “New Year’s Resolutions”, and instead, take the time to create POWERFUL goals for yourself, rooted in reflection on life lessons and our vision of the future, then the motivation and energy that you need will be there to allow you a much better chance at success. Acting in alignment with your values and priorities also points you towards personal growth and evolution. When you are moving the needle closer to your vision of your ideal self and acting from a place of authentic desire, you will begin to notice transformation in yourself — the discrepancy between who you are and who you want to become will grow smaller each day.
So reframe the resolutions, especially if you find yourself in the middle of January with no motivation to pursue them already!
Need help with this process? Feel free to schedule a free, 30-minute call with me to talk through anywhere that you feel stuck.