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Setting Intentions for 2022 (Part 1)

The start of the new year inevitably means new resolutions. But what if we shift our focus from resolutions and choose to focus on intentions instead?

I am sure you are thinking, what is the difference? Well, let me tell you. The Oxford dictionary defines resolution as- a firm decision to do or not do something. Definitely not a bad way to approach change, but it feels restrictive to me. It’s almost that all or nothing, or black and white thinking that I often see when working with clients.

Conversely, intention is defined as- a thing intended, an aim or plan. Doesn’t a plan seem more feasible than a firm decision? I certainly think so! Intention sets the tone for planning and taking action. It allows for a bit more flexibility when it comes to achieving our desired outcome.

One of the most commonly asked questions I hear from clients is, how do I figure out what I want to achieve? Or better yet, what are my intentions? When faced with these questions, I call on my clients to take action. Meaning, they have to actively work towards answering their own question.

One great way of approaching this is to start by jotting down our thoughts and ideas. Are your thoughts specific to you as an individual, do they include your family, your professional life, etc? It is important to note no thought is too silly or outlandish. The main focus of this exercise is solely to get you thinking, regardless of how far-fetched your thoughts or ideas may seem at the moment.

Once you have all your thoughts written down, it is time to start narrowing them down to the ideas you want to intentionally focus on. These intentional thoughts can now be shaped into goals. What specifically are you trying to achieve, what is your desired result?

One of the greatest tools we have when working on goal setting is the acronym SMART-ER.

S- stands for specific. Specify what exactly you are trying to achieve.

M- stands for measurable. Specify the milestones or key results that signify meaningful progress.

A- stands for attainable. Ensure your goal is challenging but possible. We do not want to set ourselves up for failure.

R- stands for relevant. Align with your broader goals and what you ultimately want to achieve.

T- stands for time-bound. Set a clear deadline and dates to track your progress.

E- stands for evaluate. Evaluate the progress you are making and the actions you are taking. Do they align with your overall outcome?

R- stands for reward. Reward yourself for achievements along the way and for goal completion.

When we think about our goals and desires in this manner they inevitably seem more feasible. But what if I told you there is something else you can do to help set and ultimately achieve your intentions and goals. Are you interested?

If so stay tuned for part two of Setting Intentions for 2022.

Until next time,

Jesenia Minniefield, MSW, LCSW


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