Setting Intentions for 2018

Hello Beautiful Warriors,

Another year down and the move into 2018. I hope you have had a great first week of the year and had some time to relax and reflect on the year. The new year always seems to be such a time of reflection, resolutions, and change. All these goals can be a beautiful thing, but I see a lot of people on social media talking about the flaws in this and how we all should be doing this all year long. I both agree and disagree with this thought. We absolutely should not limit our reflection and goal setting to one time of year; any time is good for this and should be done several times throughout any given year. It seems like a lot of people also fall into this false belief that by the clock striking midnight on a particular night that we will all of a sudden be a different person. The reality is that the time doesn't really mean anything, and in order to see the change we want to see in ourselves we have to put in a lot of work and time.

However, on the other side of this, I'm not one to discourage others from setting goals and trying to change themselves. Even though I'm someone who does try to routinely check in on my goals and is always looking for opportunities to grow and learn, what I like about New Year's is that it's a built-in reminder to take some time to reflect and set some intentions. A nice little reminder to slow down and turn inwards.

Whatever your belief about setting New Year's resolutions, intentions, goals..whichever term you prefer, I'd like to share some tips on reflecting and setting out to kill it this year. Then, I have some of my own goals and intentions for the upcoming year.

First, spend some time reflecting on the year. This can be done by just sitting alone and thinking on the year, but I highly recommend including journaling in this process. There's something about writing down your thoughts that makes them more real and helps the reflection process because you can reread what you've written and see it in black and white. I like to pull out the journal I have filled with thoughts, ideas, and notes and make a list of all the accomplishments I've had throughout the year. I also will open up my pictures as a way to jog my memory on what all has happened. A year can be a really long time! It's really cool to read over this once you're finished. I'm usually amazed on what all has happened, and it's a good reminder of how far I've come.

Include goals and intentions you've already been working on. Many of my New Year's resolutions are actually goals I've already set but still feel like need work or ones I just want to keep up. What are some thing you've been working on but still don't feel quite mastered or a normal part of your routine? Maybe you've been trying to reach a certain consistency in your workouts, been trying to cut out meat, spend more time with family, take better care of yourself. These are totally relevant and worth bringing with you into the new year. Start here and let your list grow from there.

Make your goals clear and measurable. This can be super difficult and the biggest pitfall in people achieving their goals. We talk a lot about this in therapy; treatment plans have to be specific, measurable, time bound, and achievable. 
For example: I will exercise in the morning for 30 minutes at least three times each week.
In other words, setting the goal to just exercise or be healthy likely won't set you up for success because it's too open ended. There's no direction on how you're going to achieve this. You can make being healthy the overarching goal but set more specific sub-goals underneath it to lay out how you're going to reach this. And, this might go without saying, but also write these down. Again, seeing your goals will make them more real and hold you more accountable. This might be challenging in the beginning and some might not seem to fit into this model, so just try your best and you can always make your goals more specific as you go.

Create goals specific to you by knowing your why. Take the time to decide what's really important to you, not what other people are setting for themselves. Your goals need to be specific to you - in other words, know your why, why you want to set this goal, why it's important to you. Also, create goals that you think are realistic; this ties in with the above tip of making it achievable. The worst feeling is setting the goal of exercising every day starting on January 1st, then January 3rd rolls around and you don't exercise. Three days in and you already feel like a failure, discouraged to continue. Try to find balance between having some self-compassion and holding yourself accountable for your own success. 

With these strategies in tow, here are my goals and intentions for 2018. Many of these are goals I've been working on for awhile and hope to continue (using the second tip!). Some are brand new and specific to this upcoming year.

Continue to make yoga a priority and work towards doing at least 20 minutes at least six days per week. Yoga has been a huge part of my life for the past few years...if you didn't know. ;) It has especially been a huge part of the past year, with starting to teach and really working on developing a home practice. For 2018, I really want to get to a point where I'm doing at least some yoga every single day, but I know myself and this isn't going to happen overnight and life happens. So, the goal is to get to a point where my average is at least six days per week, and I'd like to see this become an integral part of my normal routine by about the six or eight month mark.

Continue to eat more plants. I had decided late into 2017 that I really wanted to start becoming more serious about cutting meat out of my diet and create a more whole, plant-based diet. This isn't to say that I'm planning on becoming full vegetarian; I don't think that's realistic for me. Hello cheeseburgers and chicken wraps! But, I do know this - I don't need the amount of meat I'm currently eating; I feel better when I eat less meat, especially red meat; and I want to cut out what I can for the sake of our planet. Eventually, I'd like to get to only having one meal per day that includes meat or even less, maybe whole days that are without meat. I'm hoping to explore more vegetarian recipes and educate myself more about how to be healthy without meat in my diet.

Make writing a priority. I have been wanting to make writing a priority and find balance in it for some time now. I've gone back and forth between both extremes - writing so much that it burns me out and not writing at all. Because yo-yoing between extremes isn't any fun or effective, I want to find a balance that works for me and find a way to incorporate it into my routine. I still haven't decided how this will look, so this will have to be one of those goals that develops as I play with it. But, for this year, I want to make both this blog and my other, personal blog a priority, share more of myself through these platforms and Instagram, and use them to learn more about myself and to heal. 

Explore spirituality. This one seems to be a constant goal of mine. With a very strained relationship with religion for over a decade now, this has been a really hard one for me. I've had a couple of really healing and calming moments with both spirituality and formal religions over the past year, so I think I'm getting closer to resolving some of the issues I carry with this. I'll likely have some blog posts about this coming, as I'd like to share more of the story with you all, but for goals I'd like to dedicate more time to finding what spirituality means to me and be more open to religion in general.

Travel. Traveling has been a yearly intention for quite some time now, and it's making the list yet again. The hubby and I have some pretty exciting things planned for 2018, and I'm so excited to experience them. I really believe that travel can be both big, far away trips and little afternoon adventures in your own town. I'm hoping to do both during this year.

Get settled back in the United States. So, this one might seem in complete opposition to the travel goal, but I believe the year has room for both. While we absolutely love to travel, and living abroad has been life changing, we both are getting to a point in our lives where we want to create a sort of settlement, a long-term home for us to start building for the future. Moving around every few years (at times it's been every year) can be quite tiring - having to sell a bunch of stuff, moving it all out then back in, and restarting over and over again. We also have so much debt from student loans, as in enough to buy a house...a really nice house. And, it's about time we start working on getting these resolved. It's going to take years, and we'd actually like to be debt free at some point in our lives.

Share myself authentically. Being authentic is pretty much the theme of this blog, hence the name, and a huge value of mine and how I interact with others. But, the reality is that keeping this up can be really hard at times. I also feel as though I'm still learning who I am and what it means to know my true self. Knowing yourself seems pretty essential to being authentic. While I think knowing who you truly are is an ongoing process, for this year, I'm going to commit to better understanding myself and questioning why I do and think certain things. Basically, I'm going to be spending a lot more time reflecting and less time on social media taking in other people's ideas. This isn't to say that I think other people have bad ideas, I just think we can get consumed by others thoughts and ideas that we lose sight of our own. Social media and relationships in general are an absolutely beautiful thing, one that you can learn, connect, and grow from, but there are limits. I'm going to work towards not checking my social media accounts first thing in the morning and instead focus on exploring my own thoughts. Before posting something or holding onto a belief, I'm going to ask myself "why do you think this?" "Is this your or someone else's idea?" I'm really excited and scared about this one, but I'll be sharing the process with you all on both this blog and possibility other platforms. Keep an eye out for a post soon about the beginning of this commitment.

Commit to continuing to grow and learn. This goals encompasses a lot of possibilities but is an essential value of mine. I'm planning to make reading a huge priority, both for learning and self-care. I also want to continue to learn languages. Spanish has been part of my growth for several years now, and I want to keep this going. I'd love to get back to a fluent, or almost fluent, level. Icelandic has also become a project since we moved here, and I want to continue to learn it while we live here. Health, food, fitness, ethical shopping, and politics have also become huge interests of mine, and I'm setting the intention to continue educating myself about these.

There are a few more, like getting more tattoos and figuring out how to re-enter the social work field, but I'll leave you with these. What are your intentions, resolutions, goals for the year? What are you looking forward to the most? What scares you the most? I'd love to hear about your plans for the year and how you plan to incorporate them into your life. Feel free to share below in the comments, shoot me an email, or message me on Instagram or Facebook. Maybe we can all hold each other accountable and root each other on when things get tough.

Walking into the new year like a boss. - PC: the hubby at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland

Walking into the new year like a boss. - PC: the hubby at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland

Sending all the love and good vibes for a healthy, successful, and enlightening year,