Set Your Intentions for 2021 with these Questions

Jessica Lynn

Photo by Logan Weaver on Unsplash

December brings questions. Something about the end of the year and the crispness of the air prompts me to set my intentions for the coming year — a clean slate.

Which begs the question, how did I do this past year?

After introspection, a new year is an opportunity to reflect on the growth you made the previous year and set your intentions for the next with purpose. Start thinking about this now, and not wait until mid-January.

There is no time like the present.

What do you intend to manifest in the coming year?

Meditate on this for a bit before you answer. Another way to ask this same question is, “What do I want my life to look like in a year from now?”

Dream big.

What would your dream life look like a year from now? Too much? Then start with, “What one goal do I want to accomplish next year?” Start from there and see where it takes you.

Here are some big and small dreams.

  • Write a novel
  • Live in Paris for a month
  • Climb Mount Kilimanjaro or El Capitan
  • Build a full-time income online
  • Get a pilot’s license
  • Learn to tango
  • Learn to speak French fluently

I love doing this exercise at least once a year.

Thinking of big plans sets the wheels in motion, and propels you into thinking next, “What are the first steps I have to take to make this happen?”

Make a detailed plan. And then follow the steps to get to your goal.

It is the persistence of taking one step after the next that accomplishes big goals. One step at a time builds the whole staircase. One step at a time builds a dream.

Visualize what you want as if you have already achieved your goals.

Caveat: Achieving big goals only happens when you take deliberate action.

Visualization can make them manifest quicker. If you can imagine the feeling you’ll have when you reach your desired goal, your actions plus your feelings will align, allowing for them to manifest faster.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne validated what I’ve been doing since I was a little girl. If you haven’t watched or read The Secret, stop reading now and go watch it. It is an empowering and real concept.

I was practicing The Secret instinctively when I was little; I just didn’t know I was practicing creative visualization. I used to daydream about what I wanted.

As children, we don’t need permission to dream.

So often, as adults, we forget to imagine what could be. We limit our dreams because we are rooted so thoroughly in the day-to-day reality of what needs to be done to have a functional life — pay the bills, pick up groceries, get the children to school, call the doctor, etc., but adults need to dream big also.

I clearly remember starting this creative visualization practice in fourth grade.

When I couldn’t go right to sleep at night, I made up the life I wanted in my head in great detail. I would see it, visualize what it felt like to have it, every detail in color as if it were already mine. My tender age allowed me to imagine any grandiose goal I wanted. Whatever it was, it usually worked.

Whether it was an A-plus on a test or a boy I wanted to like me. I manifested what I imagined. I realize I wasn’t thinking big then, because my world was so small.

What do you desire? What do you want?

Make a list of what you want in the coming year. Write it down and get specific. Do you want to get into the best shape of your life? Write it. Do you want to buy a Tesla in cash? Write it down. Do you want to meet a partner you can share your life with?

Share the list with someone close to you, someone who supports your aspirations and doesn’t belittle your dreams, not matter how big there seem.

What went well this past year?

Get clear on what worked and inventory your accomplishments — those you intended and those you didn’t expect.

How did accomplishing those goals make you feel? What surprised you about getting what you wanted, and what systems did you put in place that made those goals easier to achieve? Can you improve on the habits that helped you get where you wanted and increased your productivity? Can you use those same systems to achieve different goals in the coming year?

What was your greatest joy this past year?

For me, it was writing online, sticking to the schedule I had planned — posting at least once a day — and making money.

What was it for you?

Writing your achievements on paper will allow you to see what you produced this past year in black and white, it may be a longer list than you expected.

So many times, we focus on what we haven’t done, and not on what we did do.

We forget to give ourselves credit for our hard work, we forget to take pleasure in the fruits of our labor. We forget to relish in the work we accomplished.

You did well; acknowledge your worth, your value and your work.

What was your biggest disappointment?

What went wrong this year? Could you have done something differently? Will you change course, so the same mistakes don’t happen next year.

I’ve had many little disappointments that added up; they amounted to not getting as much done as I wanted to. There never seems to be enough hours in the day, even when I pack each minute.

When you write out your disappointments, you might find you did the best you could at the time. If you learn something in the process of evaluation, you’ll do better next time.

Have an end of year wrap-up session with yourself, a small mastermind group between you and your thoughts. Come up with a plan for next year to reduce the disappointments.

What gave you a sense of purpose this past year?

What value or essential did you follow through on that gave you the most significant feeling of accomplishment?

For me, that was writing.

It takes a lot of time and energy to write. I don’t always want to do it. Some days it’s a struggle. But when I sit down for two or three hours at my computer and spend those hours with focused energy on my writing, I feel like I added value to my life.

Keep doing tasks that add value to your life.

Whichever tasks you spend time doing, those which give you a sense of self and accomplishment, do more of those tasks. You will see your confidence and your productivity rise to heights you never expected.

What do you intend to focus on that will add quality to your intimate relationships?

The quality of close relationships — partner, son, daughter, spouse, father, mother, friend — are what define us and the quality of our lives.

Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.

There is something to be said for putting in effort with those you love.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “a relative lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline, as well as with increased mortality.”

Focusing on meaningful relationships with your friends and family is the key to a happy and fulfilled life.

If you want to change your life, clarifying your intentions is the first place to start, followed by holding them in your consciousness every day. Having a clear intention going forward will sharpen your resolve to create the life you truly want.

You don’t have to wait for the opportunity of a new year to do this; you can set an intention and follow it all year round. At any moment, we can take a fresh-start approach to our lives.

A daily reminder

Come up with a short mantra to guide you in 2021. Say it when you need to refocus your efforts on your goals or during your daily meditation. Find a prompt to remind you of your intentions for the year.

This is mine from Dale Carnegie,

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Leave your mantra in comments. Happy New Year.

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Writing on all things California and Texas. It unfolds here. Your daily dose of local news. From politics to food, from celebrity culture to current events. Follow me for the latest updates. Twitter: @girl_thriving

Los Angeles, CA

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