Meaningful intentions and the year of the book!

Goals or intentions or just semantics?

What will 2022 bring you? Have you got it all mapped out or will you just wake up tomorrow and decide what to do with your day?

At the start of a new year I could write a blog about the importance of goal setting but I’m not going to. You will find lots of research to support the concept of goal setting; clear, well defined, and specific. And yet there is also a school of thought, also backed by research, that suggests the journey or the process towards achieving the goal is just as, if not more, important.

So, what do I think? It depends!

It depends on all sorts of things, but mainly it’s to do with who you are and what motivates you.

A friend of mine reminded me the other day of something James Clear says in his book, Atomic Habits, about people who lack motivation actually just lack clarity. Maybe setting a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound (SMART) goal works for some in bringing clarity, and therefore motivation. For others just setting a purposeful intention, putting a marker in the sand that means something to them (not necessarily others) is all they need.

I find I settle somewhere in between a SMART goal and a purposeful intention. Let me explain.

 

The year of the book

By the end of 2021, I realised 2021 was my year of the book! I didn’t know it was going to be. Writing a book was always “for later”. However, I did start out the year being very intentional about where I was heading, with particular focus on my career and professional development.

Intention 1: To continue developing towards mastery in my chosen profession.

Over the years I’ve got to know myself much better. I know what drives me, my values and motivators, I know what I like, I know what my strengths are, and I know how I work best. In the past I’ve worked against these things and wondered why I felt stressed or guilty, for example, much of the time. I was determined 2021 would be different.

Intention 2: To stay aligned to what matters most and work with my strengths.

I didn’t really know what specifically I would do in relation to these intentions, but I thought if I could use these as a way of checking whether I’m spending my time and energy on the right kind of things, that would be value enough.

 

Honouring my intentions

So what happened?

  • I said yes to contributing to a coaching book. Previously I would have declined, not feeling ready, or able, or too busy. This led to 2 other contributing author roles in additional books.
  • Co-editing my first academic evidenced based book called ‘Third Wave Cognitive Behavioural Coaching’. I would NEVER have done this if I hadn’t focused on my intentions. My inner critic would have got the better of me.
  • Started stage 2 of my MSc in Coaching for Behavioural Change after a ridiculously long time putting it off, because it “wasn’t the right time”. Never is my love 😉!
  • Saying no to a role that would have taken me away from my intentions. Saying yes would have been the easy option and pleased a lot of people in the process (something I tend to do a lot!), but I drew on courageous Sarah and stood firm!
  • Spending most of the summer months with my family. This is what really matters to me.

 

                              

Whilst each of these things honoured my intentions, almost all of them had a clear goal, with a neatly defined outcome and timeline. But I notice that the purposeful intention was my primary driver, not the goal itself, and I let the journey unfold.

 

5 things that helped me to stay on purpose

  1. Support – A dear friend challenged me not to take the easy route and held me accountable to my intentions, encouraging me on when I needed it. AND a very patient husband!
  2. Tapping into my strengths – Writing, editing, and studying requires patience, focus, attention to detail, staying power and a love of learning.
  3. Doing what I enjoy – Collaborating and building relationships with others who I could learn from and spending time with my family.
  4. Putting my big girl pants on – say no more!
  5. Being Coached – Doing all the hard work on getting to know myself better, and specifically sticking a card on my desk with the question “What am I choosing here, right now?”

 

What are you choosing here, right now, for 2022?

For me I think it’s more of the same. I’m not sure my journey to coaching mastery will ever end (what is mastery anyway?!), but when I receive emails from clients like this, I know I’m heading in the right direction.

“Our sessions have been instrumental in my clarity for the future”

CEO, Educational Trust

“You’ve really helped steady me over the last few months – truly appreciated”

Chief Marketing Officer

“Thanks again for everything – genuinely been transformative!”

Management Consultant

 

I’d love to hear about your intentions or goals for 2022. What are you choosing? We all have a choice. If you want some help in thinking this through, please get in touch.

Happy New Year!

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