In our last exercise for preparing for the New Year, we will focus on moving from creating ideas (old man/old lady) to narrowing ideas (more/less) and now on to the decision point for what we want to focus on in the New Year.

If you prefer video, check out the YouTube version!

By raising our awareness of who we want to become and evaluating the negative implications of staying the same, we are raising the stakes on ourselves to make change not just seem preferable but necessary.

In our final exercise, we are focusing in on more/less statement of intention (you’ll need to read here and here first) and making commitments to ourself for change.

Today we’ll use the prompt “In Order To/I Will” to get us from idea to action.

  1. Choose one statement of intention from your brainstorming over the last few days. What is your highest priority in 2020? Don’t get stuck here. Any positive growth in any direction is going to help you increase your confidence in your ability to change. So pick one and stick to it.
  2. Write that one intention at the top of your page. Now, begin the prompt:

In order to become (statement of intention), I will:

3. Choose specific, time-limited tasks you will commit to that will move you toward your intention.Most of us will need a few tries at this before we hit an actual, measurable, task-oriented commitment with a clear “yes” or “no” attached to our success.

For instance, here is my statement of intention for 2020:

In 2020, I want to become a more present, less preoccupied person.

Here is my “in order to” statement:

In order to have more presence and less preoccupation, I will:

  • minimize distractions at home with my family
  • develop a better relationship with email

Now, are those two tasks specific and task-oriented? No. Can I measure if I’ve completed it at the end of the day or week? No. Using words like “minimize” and “develop” are soft, squishy and subjective. Moving toward the person I want to become is measured in small, specific steps of action over time. Intention means nothing at this point. Action means everything.

So, let’s try again:

In order to have more presence and less preoccupation, I will:

  • HOME: For the month of January, I will put all of my technological devices away at 8pm from Monday-Friday
  • WORK: research and choose an email management system by 1/20/20.

Now, are those specific, time-oriented and measurable? Yes. I will know by the end of January if my specific tasks are moving me toward my intention. Although more presence/less preoccupation is a yearly goal, notice that my action steps are monthly, so that I can evaluate if the action step is working and re-tool as needed each month.

4. Now, get your action steps out of your journal and on to the wall. Post your action steps in a highly visible place. For my home goal, I will post my commitment on the refrigerator. My built-in accountability is my family calling me to my own growth plan.

5. Remember, you will fail. But failing will teach you as much as succeeding will (or maybe more). When you fail at a task, you have the opportunity to do a feedback session with yourself. Most of us are not in touch with our fear, our insecurity and even our actual desires, and it’s in trying and failing that we begin to hone in on what holds us back as well as who we really want to be.

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