Use Reverse Intention-Setting to Set Your New Year on the Right Track

I’m not a fan of setting New Year’s Resolutions. New Year’s Resolutions are the annual tradition we all love to mock, because we know how ineffective they are.

And yet… most people — myself included — seem to half-heartedly participate anyway. What’s the harm, right? It’s good to put some thought into visioning out what could be in store for the year ahead.

But when those Resolutions crumble, as they tend to by mid-February, it feels pretty deflating.

So, this year, I want to suggest something different.

Today, I have 10 easy journaling prompts to that put a different spin on intention-setting by starting in the future, not the here and now.

Instead of ruminating on what you want to commit yourself to in the hours and days ahead in this New Year (2017), I want you to consider what you want your New Year to feel like next year. I want you to imagine reflecting on your full year, the memories you made, the strides you achieved, and what unwanted baggage you left behind.

We’re about to play in a thought-experiment where the “intention-setting timeline” runs backwards, starting in the future, before gradually return to the present moment.

In doing so, we broaden the scope of desire, vision and goal-setting over a longer term than “What do I want and need instantly, right now?” (which creates make-or-break pressure to perform).

Reverse intention-setting can renew your clarity about what you desire, intend, and wish for yourself and others around you… only from a longer, more holistic perspective.

10 Prompts to Re-Start Your New Year

  • Spend as little as 1-2 minutes per prompt. Use a timer if you like, or write to a favorite, familiar soundtrack to guide your explorations in time and space.
  • If one prompt really grabs you? Stick with it for longer: keep pulling at the thread of the feeling or thought that’s resonated with you, and really try to unpack it as fully as you can.
  • When you’re done, progress to the next prompt. Try not to self-edit, mute your innate responses, or hamper your voice. Flow is key, which requires trust, letting go and abundant freedom to express without judgment.
  • Break my suggested rules and replace them with your own whenever you see fit.
  • Beyond all else, have fun in the writing.

Ready to get started? Grab your pen…

 

Prompt #1

“It’s New Year’s Day, of next year. What is my New Year’s Resolution?”

Where do you want your focus to be 1 year from now? What matters in those months’ time? Where is your attention, heart, mind?

 

Prompt #2

“By this time next year, I will describe this New Year (2017) as having been ___________, ___________, and ___________.”

Choose 3 core feeling states that describe how you want 2017 to have felt at this time next year.

 

Prompt #3

“Next year, I’ll reflect back on this New Year and remember memories that I made, like ___________, ___________ and ___________.”

What memories would you have like to have made in this year?

 

Prompt #4

“Looking ahead to December 31st of this year, I will look back on my year and feel like I really ___________.”

 

Prompt #5

“This year will be the last year that I ___________, and the first year that I ___________.”

What do you want to stop doing this year?

 

Prompt #6

“How do I wish to be seen or witnessed by others in this New Year?”

How do you want to “show up” in the lives of those around you?

 

Prompt #7

“What qualities or traits do I wish for others to know me for in this New Year?”

Ideally, how would you like to be valued?

 

Prompt #8

“What mission, goal, or direction does my heart demand that I embrace, once and for all, starting this New Year?”

Is there a single focus, a long-standing inner truth, that is calling for your attention this year?

 

Prompt #9

“How do I wish for life to ‘show up’ and provide for me in the New Year?”

Flip the script: What do you want life, Source, the Universe, and others around you, to help provide to YOU?

 

Prompt #10

“How do I wish to express my inner truth — out in the world — in the New Year?”

Expression matters. How will you embody what you believe and desire?

 

So, how did “reverse intention-setting” feel for you?

The New Year is a wonderful annual tradition — and a collective invitation to observe and assess the flow of our lives, our goals, and the stories we’re telling.

And yet, if we’re really committed to aligning our inner truths and authentic values for embodiment, we owe it to ourselves to stretch the field of vision beyond the first 6 weeks of the year (when those resolutions typically fall by the wayside).

A simple intention-setting flow like this is a great excuse to go deeper, and look further, into your envisioned months — and years — to come.

Did “reverse” intention-setting help you un-stick your short-term focus and expand the field of your vision or imagination?

Happy writing. Now, let’s go make this New Year a wonderful one.

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