Rock solid intentions... 3 questions to ponder over the holiday season

“Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself you'll make a fortune.”

I came across this quote from Jim Rohn this week and I was inspired to open a conversation about how we can approach our goals from a simpler and more holistic perspective this year.

It’s December. That time of the year when conversations revolve primarily around how fast the year has gone and what our next year goals, plans and resolutions are.


This year, I challenge you to ditch those resolutions and instead ask yourself just three simple questions about how you want to live your life in 2020:

  • What will I stop doing?

  • What will I start doing?

  • What will I keep doing?

When I look around at the people in my life, both on a professional and social level, it seems most of them (including myself!) put energy into setting tangible career and business goals for themselves but generally neglect the personal goals. I’m of the philosophy that in this current climate our work and personal lives have become fused, so doing work in one area will absolutely impact the other. In light of this, why not put some focus into setting personal goals this year and watch how your professional life is transformed! Let’s take a leaf out of Jim’s book.


Do you consider yourself a goal-setter, a dream chaser, a visionary? If so, do you actually realise your ambitions? Perhaps you’re someone who instead prefers routine so you just keep doing what you’ve always done and wait for opportunities to come your way, despite having some hopes and dreams for the future.


Oftentimes the reason we don’t realise what we set out to is because we get stuck on the “how” rather than the “what,” which keeps us in one place. We might also find ourselves getting stuck with too much “should-ing” – I should do this, I should achieve that, I should take on this project or I should move in that direction. That’s a lot of “should-ing” and it’s very exhausting. Probably because it comes from a place of obligation rather than following our passion. I suggest you stop should-ing around the place and instead consider this more fluid approach to making progress in all areas of your life.


With any goal or resolution, big or small, consistency is key. With this three question approach, I prefer to call them “intentions,” because “resolutions” are too, well, resolute. This world is dynamic and requires us to adapt quickly, so why not set intentions which are a bit more dynamic too!?


These three questions will guide you in setting your rock-solid intentions. So over the last few days of the decade, as many of us shift into holiday mode, take a piece of paper or create a note in your phone titled “2020 Intentions” and add the subheadings "Stop", "Start", "Keep." List your intentions accordingly. Draw them from your work, your relationships, your hobbies or your health.


Take a moment to really see yourself this time next year doing less of what you don't want to do, more of what you do want to do and keeping up with more of the good stuff. How do you look? How do you FEEL? Imagine being even just a little better. Does that seem a bit less heavy than making a big resolution which sees you feel like a failure if you don't stick to it religiously from 1 January?


Dare I say it, but many of us also avoid taking on our biggest challenges because of a fear of failure. By breaking down these goals into more manageable intentions, it can help us move toward the upper edge of our potential with less resistance, as there is less at stake.

As we move into the new decade, use this approach to invite in compassion and be more realistic with yourself. This is not about pass or fail, it’s about being better than you were last year. Acknowledging that evolution is a process and that it's unnatural and unreasonable to expect perfection from ourselves in pursuing growth. Celebrate progress. Each time you stop, start, keep, even in a small way, you can feel good about knowing you’re moving forward. Soon your momentum will grow and the snowball effect will have you coasting in no time!


For a little inspiration… In 2020 my intentions include:


Stop

  • Saying ‘yes’ when I really feel called to give a ‘no,’ in all areas of life

  • Taking more courses to add to my qualifications – I already achieve great results with my clients so it’s time to focus more on the doing rather than the theory

Start

  • Scheduling time for exercise in nature… maybe even getting back to long distance running competitions

  • Investing more intentionally in my relationships with friends, family and my partner

Keep

  • Growing my network and putting myself outside my comfort zone in attending new events and engaging in new opportunities

  • Maintaining a nourishing diet of food and thoughts (the latter is just as important – our thoughts direct our experiences)!

What will you stop/start/keep doing in 2020?