As we enter a new year, the idea to set big aspirational resolutions is usually at the forefront of everyone’s mind. But nearly every study tells us that around 80 percent of those resolutions fail by February.
This year, instead of setting goals, focus on an intentional mindset—it is as rewarding as it is challenging. In its simplest form, an intentional mindset is a habitual, purposeful, and committed way of thinking with the overall goal of having a positive impact on your life.
An intentional mindset can help you achieve your goals indirectly and the awareness it brings will allow you to sustain this way of living.
If you are feeling deflated from the past year, you’re not alone. 2021 may not have been the year you’d hoped it would be—and that’s okay. As you begin to think about developing an intentional mindset, focus on all the things you did accomplish despite the world’s circumstances. Look how far you have come, even if that means just surviving this year. Then use those as your launching pad for setting intentions on how you want the new year to feel and what routines align. <>
Here’s how to develop an intentional mindset and set your year up for success.
Growth vs. Fixed Mindset
You may have heard the terms “growth mindset” and “fixed mindset” if you’ve started to dig into intentional thinking. Psychologist Carol Dweck coined these terms to help explain two basic mindsets that impact your life.
A fixed mindset way of thinking is when a person believes their skills, talents, and circumstances are fixed or unchangeable. This way of thought says you’re either talented or you’re not. A person with a fixed mindset may not like to be challenged, and if they’re not immediately good at something, they’ll stop trying. Fixed mindset folks are more likely to stay within their comfort zones and only take on tasks they’ll excel at.
A growth mindset believes that skills, talents, intelligence, and circumstances can be changed and improved. This person sees failure as an opportunity to learn and evolve. Folks with a growth mindset are more likely to take risks, try new things, and learn something new. They tend to think more positively and believe in paving their path despite challenges and obstacles.
There is also an abundance mindset (believing there’s more than enough to go around) and a scarcity mindset (believing that resources are all finite.)
Which of these mindsets resonate most closely with you?
Feelings and Goals
The first step to shifting toward an intentional mindset starts with assessing your feelings. Is there an area of your life where you are less joyful about it? Identify these areas—whether it’s your job, finances, weight, or a relationship—and how they make you feel.
Create space for exploration, whether with journaling, mindfulness, or meditation. Talk to people you trust and respect. Additionally, listen to your body. Your body can gauge trouble.
How does your body feel when you bring up a specific topic? If you feel tense or your chest tightens, this might be an indication of something you should pay attention to.
In many cases, people pay close attention to what other people have based on what they “think” they want or what other people want. But an intentional mindset focuses more on trusting yourself—listening and being present is a big piece of it.
As you shift toward an intentional mindset, think about how you want to feel in your body. Avoid focusing on the things you want to cross off your list or things you want to be.
Would you like to feel:
- Less depressed?
- More alive?
- More socially connected?
- More accomplished?
Now you can develop a plan to create positive habits toward that feeling. Specifically, where do you want to go from here?
Be intentional with your choices and create space for new routines. Between where you feel now and how you want to feel, there must be habits and routines to create those feelings. Think about how you can put things in your life that help you feel more joyful and excited.
Let’s unpack one of the new year’s most popular resolutions—losing weight. While an important goal, losing weight can be an unrealistic aspiration if you aren’t changing your mindset. But digging deeper, how you think you look directly relates to your feelings.
Instead of focusing on the scale’s number, what feelings do you have about your weight? Are you feeling tired more frequently? Do you want to feel strong? Do you want to feel confident in your clothes?
Using an intentional mindset suggests you will focus on establishing habits that positively impact you. For example, an intentional mindset focuses on creating habits that make you feel a certain way. In this instance, an intentional mindset would say, “I want to stay active and make healthy food choices.” These positive habits contribute to losing weight, but they create a better opportunity for success.
Another component of adapting an intentional mindset is determining your limiting beliefs—a state of mind, conviction, or what you think to be true that limits you somehow.
Limiting beliefs can have several adverse effects, and they can keep you from making good choices, taking new chances, or reaching your full potential. They can be assumptions about your reality that come from your perceptions of life experiences. For instance, these may be limiting beliefs:
- Bad things always happen to me.
- I’m not good at relationships.
- My finances are always a mess.
- I’ll never be able to start a business.
Remember, if you’re fearful of something (like failure), then you’re not going to be as open as you would be to opportunities that help you achieve your goal.
Say you want to start a business, but you tell yourself, “I can’t do this,” every time you get close. This limiting belief disrupts your progress and stops you from getting what you want. It may even be blocking your subconscious from seeking out opportunities to help you succeed.
(Limiting beliefs aren’t always easy to overcome on your own. If you have limiting beliefs that are holding you back, it might be time to work through them with a professional. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.)
You may not realize how much you’re holding yourself back until you take an objective look, or someone else alerts you to it.
Adapting an intentional mindset is about progress. You can change and grow, even if it doesn’t feel easy. The new year is a great place to reflect on what you’ve already accomplished, how you felt, and create new intentions for the days to come.