"A goal without a plan is only a dream’’ Brian Tracy
Tomorrow is Tibetan New Year and as New Year is a time for making resolutions I’ve decided to focus this journal on setting intentions.
I’ve been lucky enough to have grown up with ceremony in my life - art therapy, tarot and women’s gatherings feel natural to me. Ceremonies help brighten dark nights, bring a sense of belonging, are a way of sharing with friends and connecting the spiritual with the physical.
My family, friends and I have created many ceremonies - one of my favourites is for the New Year, wishes are written onto paper and then folded origami style to form a boat – sometimes we share what we’ve written, sometimes we don’t. We then light a candle, put it in the boat and sail it along with our intentions on the river. We’ve been doing this boat ceremony for many years now, and what I’ve realised is though my wishes were always well intentioned and the ceremony very beautiful, nothing really changed for me. The ceremony itself was the highlight, and the wishes a ‘tag on’ like New Year’s resolutions, I didn’t take it too seriously. To give wishes a better chance to come to fruition - action, and the power of daily intention are needed.
Below are a couple of techniques I’ve used to help me get my sh*t together, part law of attraction, part goal setting. This isn’t something I was ever taught at school, and yet the techniques have transformational power - if you’ve been struggling like I was, they may make a big difference for you -
*Create a relaxed environment in which to work. Then brain storm. Get all your dreams out onto paper, it doesn’t matter how big or small, just get them written down.
* Your intentions need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time framed. Each goal you make needs to touch on each of these key points.
*Highlight 5 goals for each time frame you think achievable e.g.; 1 years, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years.
*Once you have them all set out, make an action plan, what can you do today that will get you closer to your 1 year goals, or to your 10 year goals? The more often you ‘check in’ and ‘check course’ with your goals the better your results.
*If this resonates for you, get more organised by buying a planner - there are some great ones out there - really dig deep and put some structure around your goals, get specific.
*Once you've created your intention 'map' you may decide to make space for your own ceremony and give some life to your intentions.
*The law of attraction is the concept that what we pay attention to, we attract. Research has shown the brain has an information filtering system known as the reticular activating system and vision boards help this part of the brain tune into external stimuli, which in turn help us move toward our goal.
* To create a vision board, you’ll need – scissors, glue, large board or cardboard (minimum A3), images (from magazines or printed).
*When I make my own vision board for the year I create a quiet space where I can really feel into what I want from life.
*Focus on the things you want and how you would like to feel.
*Look at each area of your life – love, health, wealth and creativity - and think about what you’d like for each area.
*Collect images that best represent your desires and attach them to the board – You could do this in a methodical way for each aspect of your life – or you may have another way, and that’s fine too.
* Put your vision board somewhere you can see it every day. You don't always need to have everything figured out on how you'll get to your 'destination', just trust and make steps when it feels right.
*There’s lots of vision board information online if you want to research further, it’s a great tool for getting more specificity around your goals.
Points to remember
*Try to make 90 day incremental goals toward your bigger picture - it’s scientifically proven to take 90 days to form a new habit.
*Give yourself a reward or celebrate when you are successful - and be specific about what your reward will be.
*Make your goals juicy, but also obtainable, when they are too big it’s easy to get burnt out and give up. When they aren’t juicy enough you are likely to lose interest.
*Plan. Make sure you have a ‘road map’ for your intentions, break each goal up into smaller do-able goals and commit to them on paper/diary/calendar.
*Don’t be too harsh on yourself – remember you are usually your own worst critic. Give yourself the space to reflect on things that aren’t working so well and the things that are and correct course as necessary.
*A ceremony helps to create space for your intentions, simply lighting a candle is enough, or you could be more elaborate - whatever suits you best.
This article was written with gratitude for all the wise women that have helped guide me this far ~ I couldn't have done it without them.
~ Now it’s your time.
With love and gratitude,
P.S. I’d love to hear about your ceremonies, intention setting stories and your wins and fails - leave your comments in the box below.