Something I’ve learned about myself this year is that I prefer to set intentions and areas of focus instead of setting concrete goals in my work and my life.
I’m much more motivated by living an intentional life than I am by ticking goals off my to-do list for the sake of it. Within the intentions I set for my work and my life are of course tangible goals, but I’ve found that focusing on the intentions first helps me to stay on track when it comes to living a life that is meaningful to me along the way.
Here’s how I break this down in a practical way each month:
First up, I have an overarching intention and focus for the year. For 2016, that intention is Wholeheartedness - which I talked about a little in more depth here.
Then I take things a quarter at a time. For each quarter of the year, I try and take the time to really understand what it is I’m aching for in that season. Is it growth? Rest? Reflection? Creativity? Personal development? Adventure? A new challenge? Understanding the bigger picture of each season helps me to really make the most of each and every month along the way.
Then each month I set myself intentions and areas of focus to guide me as I go. I usually break this down into three core intentions and areas of focus, and then explore how each of those will practically look in my day-to-day life and workload.
The questions I ask myself while I’m setting these intentions and core areas of focus are:
- How do you want to feel in this new month ahead to come?
- What does your business need from you this month?
- What does your life need from you this month?
- What does your ideal week and day look like this month?
- What are things that didn’t work last month that you would like to improve in this one?
- What are things that did work last month that you’d like to continue to make space for in this one?
- What are your non-negotiables in work and life for this new month to come?
As we’ve just entered a brand new month, I thought today that I would share with you my intentions and areas of focus for June, in the hopes of encouraging you to head into this new month with intention and focus too.
My three core areas of focus and intention for June:
1. Clients & business
- Focus on clients and enjoy the work we do together
- Launch and promote Make It Happen VIP Days
- Continue to attract and book dream clients for August and September
- Prep Make It Happen Season 3
- Continue to make space for a culture of less stress, more joy in my business
2. My creative projects & endeavours
- Knit and practice my calligraphy every week
- Carve out time for reading every single day
- Make space to work on my collection of personal essays (and don't let my fear of "not being good enough" hold me back)
3. My wellbeing & my life
- Continue to prioritise sleep, rest, a good diet, and margin in my life
- Get outside - take day trips out with Alex, try and go for a walk every single day, work from a coffee shop throughout the week for a change of scenery
- Listen to my body and take care of myself
As you can see, these are all very simple intentions and areas of focus - I’ve found simplifying my work and my life to the most essential areas that bring me joy and fulfilment has been the best way to really make the most of my time and energy. Having these core areas of focus and intentions for the month really helps me to stay on track, prioritise what matters most, and not get distracted by the things that aren’t truly aligned with my core values along the way.
A big part of this process is embracing a mindset of enough - I find that setting arbitrary goals only reinforces a negative mindset that I have to hustle for my self-worth in my work and my life. Instead, the concrete goals I do set (for example, financial goals, the amount of clients I’d like to work with each year, how much time off I want to take throughout the year, and trips I want to save for) all feed back into the core intentions I have for this season of my life. Setting intentions and areas of focus each month that are aligned with the essentials and non-negotiables in my work and my life, and that enable me to engage with my work and my life in a way that feels true to me have been the most effective ways for me to truly life my creative life on my own terms along the way.
If you’re aching for more focus, intention, and control over how you engage and interact with your work and your life, I hope this can be a jumping off point for exactly that. Ask yourself the questions I outlined above, and listen to what it really is you want and need to prioritise in the weeks and months ahead to come.
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