Through 2015, at the beginning of each month, I made a plan for the month ahead; my intentions for the month. They were part of a bigger plan but I wanted to avoid goals made in January for the year ahead and lost by February.
The aim was for monthly ‘intentions’ that would keep me focussed and on track.
I wrote a blog post and I put my intentions in the form of objects on my kitchen table for a small photo call. In making a plan each month, I looked back at the month before to see what (if anything) I’d achieved.
If anyone else is thinking about plans for 2016 (monthly or otherwise) I’d thought I’d share what I learnt:
1. The power of loud
There is weight in publicly stating a plan or intention. You’ve said it out loud (or on a blog post). It becomes a commitment, more so than making notes that only you see.
Taking time to plan is grand. I found that sometimes I needed to remind myself to reflect, look back at the month just gone; what I didn’t get done. Mostly, what I did get done.
3. Just do it
I did waiver part way through the year, was tempted to skip a month, maybe stop. I’m pleased I stuck with monthly intentions. It gave me more focus and time to reflect each month. I wanted to avoid that feeling of weeks and months merging and a lack of control of my time.
All work and no play is dull and de-motivating. Balance is important. Plan good things as well as more focussed jobs and goals.
Too many intentions or not enough time and it is easy to get over-whelmed. In August I knew I’d probably just read books and I did.
6. Keep the bigger stuff in view
The aim of the monthly intentions was to make the bigger goals more achievable. Breaking down plans to improve the house help me maintain focus. However, I did lose sight of some of the bigger stuff by not referring back. Smaller intentions can become a great method of procrastination .
7. Make specific plans
In February the plan was to visit a snowdrop garden. I had a garden in mind and a weekend. Sometimes it pays to be specific. I kept reiterating a vague plan to visit “new” National Trust places, we managed one.
8. Be brave
I started the year but doing something that. I really loved it. I wanted to do more ‘scary’ stuff. To challenge myself a bit more. I’ve been at home so long I often wonder if I have any skills left. I wasn’t brave enough. I waited for things to fall into my lap. They didn’t. Fear of failure prevented me finding my own opportunities and nothing happened. By the end of year had huge self-doubt and talked myself out of projects. I’m not sure I’ve cracked this one.
9. Get a cheer leader
Being a home equals a small week day circle of interaction. Days go past and I’ve spoken briefly to someone at the school gate, my partner (probably as briefly) and a 7-year-old about Lego. I’ve also lurked on social media admiring other people’s sparkling lives and so self-doubt creeps in. Plans, goals, intentions (especially big ones) need encouragement and outside perspective. Having a cheer leader made all the difference, hearing someone else reminding you that you can do it. Make it mutual: tell someone they are awesome, but don’t just fling positive words around, tell them why.
10. It’s OK to not get it all done
Intentions are only that; an aim or a plan. Time is often gobbled up by things beyond your control. Somethings take more money that you appreciated or currently have. The intention was there, you will probably come back to it or maybe you just gave it some thought and realised it wasn’t for you. That’s OK.
My January intentions for 2016 are here.