Some people are sprinters and they dashed off the starting line on January 1st this year and others, like myself, may need a little more warm-up time to find the pace that feels best. It doesn’t mean we don’t have big plans, goals or creative ideas. Some of us have been “planting seeds” and laying the foundation for growth and specific goals for months or even years. You can get started with your intentions, planning and goal-setting in your own time frame. It can be beneficial to choose a starting point and the new year does provide this. I recommend checking-in and identifying what speed works for you and respecting that without comparing to anyone else and their personal pace.
Each day brings us new opportunities and choice. To celebrate this idea and another “official” start to the year with the Chinese New Year on February 16th, I have a great exercise or technique to identify your priorities and goals moving forward. You can do the activity on your own or with family and friends. I like to do this exercise a couple times a year and have presented it to groups as well. When my family did this last we laughed and enjoyed sharing stories. It was also enlightening to hear what was considered special and made a lasting impression on each of us.
Check out this prioritizing and introspective activity. It also happens to be a great memory exercise. The goal is to identify what you truly enjoy and create more of it in your life. Here are the steps:
- Look back at the past 3, 6 or 9 months or even the past year. Think about the memories, events and experiences that strike you the most. What were the highlights? (This is the memory exercise portion).
- Write down these top memories and highlights. Consider setting a timer for 5-10 minutes to stay focused.
- Note the events that made you happy, brought you joy or were positive.
- Can you identify any themes?
For example, when I did this exercise, I noticed that connection with friends, family and nature we’re consistently part of my top, positive or happy memories. This also included family runs, skiing and hikes together, laughing with my girlfriends and starting to do more date nights with my husband. Now, I know how to proceed with the next step and making more specific goals and plans.
- Look these identified highlights and allow these to guide you when creating intentions or goals for this next month, quarter or year in order to increase more feelings of wellbeing, peace, and/or happiness — adventure and fun are always good too!
- Another option is to look back and notice what negative memories popped up – you may not want to repeat these experiences or it may emphasize how impactful it is to be proactive in bringing more joy into your life.
It is well worth the effort to feel more clarity with designing your life the way you desire by investing 15 minutes to complete this exercise to save you time and energy. This Indian Proverb expresses this so well – All of the flowers of all of the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.
My next blog post will go into more detail on intentions, and if you’d like to receive a free intention and goal setting worksheet, sign up for my newsletter for an instant download of my intention worksheet here >>