LIFE IS FULL of endings and beginnings, each both exciting and bittersweet in its own way. This is why we so widely celebrate the turning of a calendar year — the date itself might be arbitrary, but the beginning of a new year is important to us because of what it symbolizes: starting fresh, another chance to get things right, creating a new future.
And that’s what this article is about — envisioning and creating your future using writing as a tool for inspiration.
Each time you sit down to write about your intentions and goals and plans you are, in a very real sense, writing your future. Stop and think about that for a moment. There is so much power in that phrase: writing the future.
First, acknowledge and celebrate your past wins by writing them down
Before looking forward, I encourage you to take the time to acknowledge your wins and accomplishments from last year. And express gratitude to yourself for the time and effort you put into learning and growing and creating.
Here’s a personal example: 2018 was a challenging year for me due to over-extending myself and to unexpected family needs. At the end of the year, when I reviewed all the goals I had set for myself, I felt that I had fallen short. (You may have sensed this in my last post.) I hold myself to pretty high standards — I think most of us do — and it’s very easy to berate myself for not doing more.
Instead of allowing myself to fall down that rabbit hole, I consciously focused on my accomplishments and wins and wrote them down:
- Writing-wise, I went on two, weekend writing retreats, published and launched my second memoir, Accidental Jesus Freak, and wrote 96 blog posts (totaling 73,890 words).
- I connected more with family and friends.
- And I accomplished the habit of exercising at least 30 minutes per day, 6 days per week, as well as incorporating a few minutes of gentle yoga stretches into my daily routine.
To recognize what I did achieve, in spite of life’s challenges, feels good. Now, it’s your turn.
Write down your list of accomplishments for 2018. Then, take time to congratulate and appreciate yourself for striving to grow and learn and become a better you. Post that list somewhere you can see it as a form of daily encouragement.
Okay, let’s get to writing the future . . .
Set a one-word intention for the year
Writing the future begins with setting a clear intention. And that begins with three journaling prompts:
- What quality to you want to infuse into your life and into all your decisions this year?
- What quality do you need most in your life at this time?
- Who do you want to become in 2019? If you could distill that being-ness into one word, what would it be?
This year, my word is “vulnerability.” This means being more open and authentic, allowing myself to be more real with others, even when it requires a certain amount of emotional risk. It’s about being humble. Revealing myself to be human and not presenting myself as more than I am. Not hiding my flaws.
Vulnerability means that here, on WritingThroughLife, in addition to articles with journaling prompts and advice on the craft of writing, I’ll be sharing more of my personal life, thoughts, and feelings with you. I want to write more about events and things that have meaning to me, and not limit myself by presenting only that part of me I think people want to see.
Vulnerability will require me to trust others’ intentions towards me, which will, in turn, require some courage. But I’m willing to take that risk because I believe that we are better when we are authentic, and when love and trust are at the core of our daily actions.
Write your vision for the coming year
Before sitting down to write your individual goals, using the following prompts to help form and define your vision:
- The things I hold most dear and want to have more of in my life are . . .
- Who am I when I am at my best?
- The most wonderful thing I could make happen this year would be . . .
- My ideal day, starting from the moment I awake until bedtime looks like this . . . (write a description). What activities would fill my day? Who would I be and who would I choose to surround myself with?
Once you have your vision for what you want this future year to look like, then it’s time to set your goals.
See the Get Ready for Your Best Writing Year Yet! series for more about how to set your intentions, and create and accomplish your biggest goals.
Risk a little and share — what’s your one-word intention and vision for 2019?
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