With a new year (hey, new decade!) I thought now is as good a time as any to talk about goals, intentions, vision and of course… balance.
It’s always around this time of year that people jump on the bandwagon of dissing ‘goals’, saying they’re a waste of time and I couldn’t disagree more. I find that the people who don’t bother setting intentions for the new year (especially the ones vocalising their distaste for them!) are the ones that are quite unhappy with their lives. If I’m honest, I always imagine these kinds of people sitting on the couch all day, hate following people on instagram whilst eating last nights Chinese takeaway and a tub of ice-cream every night.
Do you really want to be that person? I didn’t think so.
I recently asked the Balanced Ballerinas community to send me some questions about stepping into the new year. The request was rather vague but the responses all had a resounding theme. Johanna (who is one of my gorgeous adult ballet clients) and an original listener of the podcast asked, “I’d love to know your goal setting & planning routine, plus recommendations for doing this…”
If I’m honestly answering this question, I set goals and intentions weekly, not yearly. Every Monday I sit down and write what I want to accomplish for the week in my diary so I see it everyday. Then as I complete each task or goal I tick it off. Simple as that.
In conjunction, I also do an overall intention setting session for the year ahead. It’s not formalised in any way, for example I don’t use an app and sit down at 9am on January 1st. However I do set some time aside (during that first week of January) when I’m feeling inspired to write down my thoughts, feelings, goals, intentions and visions for the year ahead.
I usually use a brand new moleskin journal, which is a simple leather bound book with lined paper. I refer back to and use this journal for other notes, ideas and thoughts throughout the year. But any nice journal, that makes you want to pick it up and write will do!
So that’s what I do. Nice and simple. However, after receiving Johanna’s question I thought it might be nice to help start this process for my beautiful Balanced Ballerinas who are starring at a blank page not sure where to begin. I’ll share more about this in a second…
Another question asked by Teagan in Perth was, ‘You seem really content and happy. What keeps you motivated to stay on track?’ Firstly, I’m so glad I appear that way, because my social media isn’t a highlight reel – whilst I have the odd bad day, I genuinely wake up excited to live and work every day. Now in response to your question…
I truly believe that your daily habits and CHOICES will determine your long-term success and happiness.
I really think we all make choices in life. We choose to sleep in instead of hitting the gym. We choose to go through the drive-through at McDonalds instead of prepping our meals for the week. We choose to buy houses that we can’t afford instead of living within our means. The list goes on and on… you get the picture!
Now I am in no way perfect. There are days I have chosen to sleep in or weeks where I haven’t been as organised with my food choices. There’s also times when you need to let your hair down and relax your routine a little – but I can say with confidence that I most certainly feel better on the weeks I choose what’s good for me.
I worked so hard last year, but I have to admit I’ve never been happier. When people ask what my biggest tip for leading a balanced life is, I explain that balance comes from DESIGNING your life and balance looks different for everyone. To others my life looks completely unbalanced and would never work for them. For me, it works. For some people, making your passion your career takes the spark out of it, for others it lights their soul on fire.
I had a few questions like this one from Lisa, “What does your day-to-day routine look like…?” Which is hard to answer if she’s looking for inspiration to replicate. As previously mentioned balance, routine and happiness looks different for everyone. I can tell you what my day looks like, but I also want you to go out and seek clarity on what makes you happy and what you want YOUR day to look like.
For example, I have designed my life to make room for everything I want in life. I wanted to be a morning person, so over the course of a few years I slowly crept my alarm earlier and earlier to give myself that time – I used to wake up at 9.30am, now I wake up at 6AM. I even bought a dog to inspire me to walk more and then an apartment near the beach so I felt inspired to get out of bed everyday! I choose to do cardio three times a week and strength sessions twice a week. I choose to workout alongside one of my closest friends because I cherish the conversations we have. Then I choose to go to work at 9am and don’t usually leave until 8-9pm. Sunday is my only day off and I like it that way…
I also chose a life that allows me to live in activewear and I choose to spend my money on nutritious food and re-investing in my businesses instead of multiple handbags and expensive overseas trips twice a year. In a nutshell, when it comes to ‘choices’ I choose the banana over the bacon 95% of the time because it makes me feel better and balanced.
However, I can’t stress enough the importance of designing your life for YOU. Don’t copy mine, because you might have children or multiple pets or different hobbies and views on health. And whilst I’m a homebody, you might LOVE to travel. It’s all about you and what you want. That’s why I created a worksheet for you toe download with lots of blank spaces for you to fill in – more on that in a second…
Another question which sparked some thoughts for me was from Margot in Melbourne, “Do you have bad days? If so, what do you do to feel better?”
Oh my gosh, yes! In fact, I have plenty of bad days. There were some things that happened last year that slapped me in the face and made me feel absolutely awful. But those moments are inevitable in life and the magic lies within how you react, adapt or pivot when those low moments inevitably occur.
As we analyse the year prior, think about how you reacted to low moments. Did you bounce back after a few hours? A few days? A few weeks? Months? Instead of wallowing in regret and low moments, do the little things that (stealing Marie Kondo’s words) spark joy and watch your mood lift. I truly believe it is that simple. I recently spoke about the importance of self-care and all those little pick-me-ups here…
When I was hit with an unpleasant event or low moment, sure I cried, got angry and wallowed in self pity… but that lasted a day or two at most. The difference I find between happy and unhappy people is their wallowing time. Do you wallow for a day or two? Good. A week? Not ideal, but okay. A month? A year? If so, it’s time to re-evaluate your life and be clear on what you want from it.
Another great question from a listener in Alaska (super cool by the way!) was, ‘How do you know when to level up?’ I think she was asking in relation to adult ballet classes, which leads us into the most important part of setting intentions for the new year – challenge yourself! Wether the challenge is in relation to your body, beliefs, thoughts, education or hobby, it doesn’t matter.
More specifically – using our listeners example – if you’re currently attending a Level 1 class and want to take the next step I suggest making a plan of attack. Ensure your attending class consistently. Talk to your teacher. Ask for advice and direction. Then with a little patience, leap into that Level 2 class with confidence but knowing it’s going to suck for a little bit. Everyone has to start somewhere and it’s important to level up and keep pushing your skillset.
A wise person once told me, do at least one thing that scares you every year! This has become a bit of a mantra amongst my adult ballerinas who perform annually in front of hundreds of people once a year. Personally, last year I started this podcast which was incredibly scary but has challenged me in more ways than one. It’s challenged my research and organisational skills, my introverted personality, my communication skills and my belief in myself and what I want to achieve.
So if I was to summarise my goal setting and intentions that remain constant from year to year? Well, they all relate back to choice…
- I choose to take responsibility and design my own LIFE for happiness!
- I choose to eat good food for my physical and mental health and wellbeing!
- I choose to move my body EVERYDAY!
- I choose to make sure the special people in my life know I love them…
Now getting back to something a bit more tangible for my wonderful balanced ballerinas… You can download a ‘Intention Setting’ sheet that I created (for free!) HERE…
You’ll notice that I use the words, ‘What do I do…?’ instead of ‘What will I do…?’ because it implies that you are already either doing it (which if that’s the case, still write it down to reinforce) or from that moment on you’re doing it. Now print the worksheet out, set some time aside or go to your favourite coffee shop (park bench or beach) and fill in the blanks. Or simply make a cup of tea and fill it out in the privacy of your own home.
The worksheet is not overly complex but WILL get your mind going.
If you’re brave enough, share your intentions on your social media (or simply send me a photo privately!) – it would bring me great joy to see people using the template in real life. It’s also totally fine if you keep it private!
But most importantly; own your life, design your life and choose to be happy. It all sounds so cliche, but it’s all so true.
Happy New Year and as always…
Grit & Grace,