New Year Intentions: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

Out with the old, in with the new.

The start of a new year presents the opportunity for an alternate plot twist as we turn the page into our next unknown chapter. What are the stories that we hope will unfold? Much like the “choose your own adventure” books that I so enjoyed in my childhood, we can actually influence the outcome in the story of our lives if we have been paying attention to what our main character actually needs!

I have always enjoyed a good new year’s resolution in the form of a personal goal: losing a few pounds, drinking more water and decluttering my home or office space have always been personal favourites. I will probably set a couple of resolutions in advance of January 1st, but this year I am also thinking about my intentions and how I would like the next chapter of my life to unfold. My intentions will guide me more in developing the story of my life, rather than simply adding a few character details. So here are some of the questions I am reflecting on this year.

Am I being authentic and true to myself?

Have you ever gone along with something because you thought it was the right thing to do, only to wish that you had followed your own instincts? It is really easy to do and lately I have found myself bombarded with “expert” advice. With advancements in technology, even google seems to know what I am thinking before I speak it and I am spammed with many offers to help me become more successful. Success is usually defined by a promise of an outcome (“lose weight fast!” or “how to get more referrals!”) and it is tempting to start seeking from those who claim to have found the answers. The truth is that when we are our authentic self, we are more likely to be guided towards success than trying to become someone else’s story. Notice when this is happening and reflect on your own instincts before you act on someone else’s promises.

Is being productive more important than being satisfied?

It’s no wonder we fall into the trap of busyness when productivity becomes more valued than pleasure. During the holidays, when small talk and socialization surround us, we are often asked about the successes of our life. “How is work going?”, “What are the kids up to?”, “What else have you been doing?” leads to hours of conversation about how busy life has been and how time flies by in the hustle and bustle of being productive. Wouldn’t it be interesting if instead we asked questions such as, “how have you been taking care of yourself?”, “what do you like to do in your quiet times?” and “what gives your life meaning?”. I sort of suspect we’d have a lot more pauses in the conversation if we did this! This is a symptom of the society we live in, when productivity is favoured and the need for rest is viewed as a limitation. This year, I am going to be asking questions differently and giving myself praise for choosing a satisfying life over a simply productive one.

Do I need to set more limits for myself?

When we are more tuned into our authentic selves and evaluating our priorities, there will come a time when we will need to set limits in order to be successful. Don’t let yourself become the tiny metallic ball in life’s version of a pinball game, being catapulted from side to side in response to pressure from various angles. While it can be exciting and inviting to simply be responsive to whatever life throws at us, it can be depleting as well. Choosing where to focus our energies is going to lead to more personal satisfaction than simply responding to our environment’s demands upon us. If we want to have more energy to focus on relationships or pleasure in our lives, we are going to have to make sure we create the space for this to happen.

Will this nourish my body and spirit?

This has become one of my favourite personal mantras lately: Will this nourish me? In the quest for personal growth and satisfaction, we expect a lot from our physical and spiritual bodies. So what do we offer it in return? If we are not ensuring time for sleep, nutrition and reflection, we can hardly expect that our bodies will be able to support us with optimal performance. Rather than focusing on the expectations of what we wish our body looked or felt like, instead try giving it what it needs instead. Like a car without fuel, we will not go far on an empty tank.

I am glad to have taken some time away from my usual routines over the holidays to re-energize and refocus on my own personal goals for 2020. Do you typically make new year’s resolutions? Please share any comments or questions you may be considering as we prepare to enter the new year!