How to Set Reachable Goals for the New Year, Reflecting on 2018, and 2019 Intentions

How to Set Reachable Goals for the New Year, Reflecting on 2018, and 2019 Intentions

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post about my “goodbye 2018, hello 2019” thoughts this year, but after finishing up my personal reflections on New Year’s Eve, I decided I did want to publish something. When I looked over my New Year’s Eve post from last year, I realized how much things have changed since then, and how encouraging it is to see that I stuck with my goals. The things I wanted to happen ended up happening. I do have selfish reasons for posting this – publishing some of my intentions for the upcoming year holds me accountable on a deeper level than just writing them down in my journal (more on this in a moment). It also helps keep my brain more organized.

Beyond that, though, I personally like to hear what other people’s intentions / resolutions / reflections are, because it gives me more ideas for my own self-improvement, so I figured some of you might want to hear mine, as well. I also thought this would be the perfect time to give you some of my favorite tips for setting truly reachable goals, so you don’t set yourself up for feeling like a failure when you have no reason to feel that way.

I talked a bit about this in my podcast about my New Year’s resolutions for 2019, but I always like to take time on New Year’s Eve to write out my thoughts about the last year and what my goals are for the year ahead, and I wanted to explain a bit more about that process. It’s important for me to close out the year on a positive note, and to make sure I learn something from all of my experiences in the last year. I use my past experiences and emotions to inform my future plans and goals.

This basically looks like a huge brain dump at first, and then it gets organized later on. The important part, though, is the brain dump. I start off by writing everything that stands out to me from the last year – events, people, places, emotions, accomplishments, etc. Then I’ll usually scroll through photos from the last year, just to make sure I didn’t forget anything. Next, I’ll make a few lists from there.

The first is a list of accomplishments, because it’s good to give yourself credit where credit is due. When I say accomplishments, these could be anything – making new friends, trying something new, learning a skill, completing an important work project, getting a promotion or raise, sticking with a healthy diet or exercise routine, reaching any type of goal, etc. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and never really stop to say, “Hey, it’s pretty awesome that I did XYZ.” Now’s the time. Humans also have the tendency to pay more attention to negative events and emotions than positive ones, so sometimes looking back at a situation with some perspective can entirely flip the way you view it. Maybe something you thought was a disaster at the time wasn’t actually so bad, after all, now that you’ve had some time and space. If something negative did happen, then I always try to pull at least one positive thing out of it. This exercise always makes me feel like my last year was a total success, no matter what!

After I write my list of accomplishments, big and small, I then make two more lists. One is a list of things that I want to continue in the new year – things that went well for me last year and I should keep up with. What made me happy? What felt good? What worked? The next list is things that didn’t make me feel that great – anything I was uncomfortable with or unhappy about and would like to see improved. It’s not about getting down about those things, it’s about using that information to make next year even better.

From there, I start to make a list of goals and resolutions. I often start with big picture goals (not necessarily for this year, but sometimes for the whole year), and that helps me create my list of more actionable steps to get there. After I make my list of intentions for the year, then I dream big. I write down all of the things I want to, and will, accomplish at some point – whether or not it’s this year…but maybe it is. I don’t need to put time pressure on it, but I won’t close the door on the opportunity for things to happen sooner rather than later.

Before I share some of my reflections on last year and intentions for 2019, I want to give a few tips for creating reachable goals for the New Year, or in general. I used to write goals without taking any of these tips into consideration, and I was never able to follow through. That discouraged me from even bothering to set any intentions for awhile… mostly because I was scared to disappoint myself. These quick tips were game-changers, and have been key in allowing me to manifest exactly what I want.

  1. Focus on what you will add in or start doing, rather than things you’re going to cut out. The human brain responds more positively to addition rather than to subtraction. If you tell yourself you want to stop doing something, you’ll just be thinking about not doing it, and that will make it harder to stop! Instead, focus on a positive, new behavior that will help naturally crowd out the negative one, and set the intention to engage in that new behavior.
  2. Choose measurable goals. Instead of saying “drink more water,” write down exactly how much water you’re going to drink. Instead of saying “read more books,” how many books will you read? How often will you read? What will you read? Get as specific as you can. When people set general goals like “lose weight,” “exercise more,” or “eat more greens,” rather than specific, quantifiable goals, they’re less likely to follow through. When a number is attached, it will be easier achieve that goal because you’ll know what you’re aiming for! Plus, it forces you to commit to a behavior. Saying “I’ll exercise more” without saying how much is an easy excuse to not actually exercise more.
  3. Break apart any larger goals into smaller goals. Sometimes writing something “big” can be too intimidating. Instead of saying you’ll write a book this year, maybe break it down into how many chapters you’ll have done each week. Instead of saying that you’ll lose weight, break it down into how much you’ll exercise and what exact dietary changes you’ll make. Instead of saying you’ll be more social, what exact social activities can you do, and how often? Better yet, pick only one of those micro-goals for the whole year. Remember, you can always add as the year goes on, but don’t overwhelm yourself at first. If it feels like “too much” subconsciously, then that could paralyze you from even starting.
  4. Write your intentions down where you can see them, and / or tell someone. This will hold you accountable much more effectively than writing them down in a journal you’ll never see again, or not writing anything down at all. I highly recommend having an intention-setting partner – you can both tell each other your intentions and goals and act as each other’s accountability partners! Even if there is no follow-through with your partner (although I hope there is!), there’s something about verbally telling someone that will change things for you mentally and make you much more likely to follow through. When we tell other people our goals, we’re more motivated to make them happen.
  5. Write down your intentions as if they are already happening. This is manifesting. This is making it happen. I don’t usually talk about my intentions this way when I’m sharing them with other people, just for ease of sharing, but I wanted to point this out in this post so you understand what I actually practice. Instead of saying, “I will go to sleep by 10 P.M. every night,” I would write, “I go to sleep by 10 P.M. every night.” Instead of saying, “I will take 10 minutes of my day to meditate,” you would write, “I meditate for 10 minutes every day.” Act as if it’s already happening, and it will. When you frame your intentions as, “I will do XYZ,” the “will do” gives you wiggle room to put it off. It’s important to identify as someone who already performs the habits you want to practice. Telling your brain that you already do something makes it easier for your brain to comply – forming the habit is that much easier if your brain thinks it does it!

Hopefully those intention-setting tips give you some direction to make truly attainable New Year’s goals! Remember, though, that your self-worth is not attached to these intentions or goals. It’s amazing if you achieve them. If you don’t reach the exact goal you hoped for, though, you can set the intention in a new way. What is life meant for if not to continually improve ourselves?

Anyways, I wanted to wrap this up with a few things that stand out to me from 2018 and some of my intentions for the year ahead.

2018 was quite the year. I accomplished a lot of things, and I changed a lot, which is exciting. It’s been interesting for me to think about my mindset going into 2018 and how much my opinions on so many things have shifted. I can only imagine what I’ll be like in 2020! Here are some highlights from the past year…

  1. I graduated from the NTA and became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.
  2. I began a very strong spiritual journey, became a Reiki Practitioner, and have tapped into a whole new side of my intuition. 2018 was the year I became infatuated with energy healing, crystals, and intuitives.
  3. I grew to understand, more strongly than ever, that there is not just one road to healing. It’s important to incorporate as many different healing modalities as possible, to individualize the approach for every person, to look at every person as very unique, and to open yourself up to new ideas you haven’t before. Write nothing off.
  4. I traveled quite a bit. I felt like I was constantly on the move this year! Canada, Chicago, Indiana, Austin, South Carolina, and San Francisco were just a few of my stops. I am lucky to have so many incredible friends in so many different cities and states!
  5. I rebranded my website and podcast! It’s hard to believe that happened in 2018, because I’m so used to it now, but it did! The Actually Adultish podcast became the Wellness Realness podcast, and Addicted to Lovely became Christina the Channel. Growing up, ya know.
  6. I hosted my first retreat, and I still can’t believe it happened! It was such a rewarding experience. This retreat was in Austin, Texas, with a group of incredible women, and I can’t wait to do something similar again in the future.
  7. I moved out of Los Angeles and found a new place in San Diego. Living in L.A. was very much a part of my identity, and I still haven’t fully processed that I moved. It will always feel like home on some level, but I had outgrown it, and it wasn’t serving me anymore. I have wanted to live in San Diego for a long time, and I am so so happy that I finally made the move.
  8. I released another ebook, #NoSugarNoProblems Part 2. This ebook is filled with over 30 paleo sweetener-free / sugar-free dessert recipes, and it contains my absolute favorite recipes to date! I am SO proud of this ebook.
  9. I finally figured out what was at the root of my chronic health issues for so many years. It has been a journey, to say the least, but I’ve found out a ton of answers in the last few months, and all of the pieces are finally fitting together. Discovering 3 parasites, heavy metals poisoning, and mold toxicity were game-changers after addressing my CBS / COMT mutations and trying to figure out why I had reccuring Candida and SIBO the last few years. I am finally on the final leg of my healing journey, and I am so happy to finally have gotten the answers I was looking for.

Those are just a few of the main things that stood out to me… and here are a few of my intentions / big ideas for this upcoming year.

  1. Protect my sleep. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night will be my usual.
  2. Fine-tune my waking and sleeping hours. I’m hoping to regularly be sleeping from 10 P.M to 6 A.M., or close to that.
  3. Keep the mornings and evenings to myself, rather than letting emails or messages take time from me. This relates to keeping strong phone boundaries, and only having certain hours during the day when I’m allowed to check my phone and email. (Don’t worry, I’m specific about this in my own notebook, :P).
  4. Keep to “work hours” during the day, and don’t let other people disrupt those hours.
  5. Less time on technology in general, and more time in real life. This means more regular social media detoxes, and turning my phone on airplane mode as often as I can.
  6. I’ll be reading for at least 30 minutes every night before I go to bed, and reading a lot more fiction this year. My brain needs a break!
  7. Say “no” to anything that drains me, even moreso than ever before. Always. I’m pretty good about this now, but I think it will always be on my list.
  8. Getting ahead on my work rather than procrastinating, which makes sticking to my work hours and phone-use hours even more important!
  9. Tuning in to myself and tuning out the outside noise. Recently I have spent a lot less time consuming other people’s content, and it’s made the world of a difference in terms of my mental clarity. I’m excited to continue this trend!
  10. Focus on continuing my spiritual journey and opening my third eye. This will only enhance my reiki practice and make me even better able to help others and myself.
  11. I plan on running my Paleo Women Lifestyle Program at least twice this year, and cannot wait to meet even more incredible women and have them join our tribe.
  12.  I have a lot of exciting changes coming to my blog this year. I’m changing up my website a bit, shifting the focus of my content, and expanding the membership portion of my site!
  13. I created a huge secret project in 2018 that I’ve been waiting to release in 2019, so this will be the year that I finally show the world what it is! I can’t say much, but I can say I know it will help a lot of people transform their lives.
  14. I’m doing a lot of brain retraining work this year. Recently I’ve learned a lot more about how training the brain to respond differently can help with a number of chronic health issues and can help mitigate the effects of past trauma, and this is something I’m focusing on this year.
  15. Slowing. Down. Lots of “me” time whenever I need it. I definitely got trapped in a go-go-go cycle last year, and this year I want to shift in the opposite direction.
  16. Overall, 2019 is the year of taking no B.S., only focusing on things and people that enhance my life, and continuing to follow my own path.

Those are just a few brief highlights from my NYE reflections, but hopefully it gives you a helpful glimpse into what my intention-setting process is like! I like to keep the specifics a bit more private, but you get the idea. I think everyone can feel the shifting energy of the New Year on some level, so use it to inspire you and motivate you to reflect on where you’re at and plan where you want to go. Remember – you can take this year in any direction you want. I have a feeling 2019 is going to be an amazing year for us all!

Do you have any intentions for this year? Share below!

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