Last Updated on January 22, 2023 by Thalia
Now that the “new year new me” hype has died down slightly and your resolutions are gathering dust, it’s time to get serious about how you want this year to pan out
So let’s look at how you can cultivate your most intentional and meaningful year yet.
It’s time to make magic happen pal!
I was lucky enough to kick off the year in Greece with some winter sun.
This dose of vitamin D has really boosted my energy levels and I feel so motivated and ready for Q1.
A massive difference from where I was this time last year.
In the UK, stuck in miserable weather, feeling low and wishing I was somewhere else.
Knowing I didn’t want to spend another winter in the UK I started to plan my escape.
10 months later, with a few failed plans and speed bumps in the road, I finally made it happen and I moved to Greece in October.
It’s been 3 months and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m also a heck of a lot less anxious and more relaxed.
Mentally, I am stable.
Physically, I feel healthier and stronger.
Table of Contents
- A healing journey
8 steps to cultivate your most intentional and meaningful year yet
- Step 1 | Realign with your core values
- Step 2 | Set goals that come from the heart
- Step 3 | Establish boundaries in every area of your life
- Step 4 | Build habits that align with your personality
- Step 5 | Create a daily routine that works for you
- Step 6 | Don’t allow the things you can’t control get you down
- Step 7 | Focus on your own journey
- Step 8 | Read The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
- Final thoughts
A healing journey
As my time in Greece comes to an end and I start exploring a new destination, I wanted to take a moment to appreciate my time here.
The changes I made in my life to get to where I am now.
How proud I am of myself.
The open mind I developed to adopting a different lifestyle and living in a different country that isn’t environmentally or efficiently up to “standards.”
I will forever be thankful for this healing journey I embarked on. Although I didn’t realise when I first left England the number of mindset issues I was suppressing, I soon realised that there were a lot of things holding me back.
A lot of things from my past.
Family trauma, toxic friendships, abandonment, worthlessness.
And of course, emerging from a 2-year lockdown that had wreaked havoc on my mental health.
I needed to reflect on these things rather than dismiss them. I had to come to terms with them. Accept that they happened and move on.
I’m sure I will write a lot more about this in the next few months but first…
Let’s make magic happen for you!
Here are the exact changes I made in my life to take action and cultivate my most intentional year yet!
8 steps to cultivate your most intentional and meaningful year yet
Writing this blog post was a very cathartic journey for me. I combine the steps you need to take to cultivate your most intentional year yet, with my own experience from the past 2 years.
So it’s going to be a long one.
I dug deep, revisited some things from my own journey, cried and celebrated. And in doing so, I have gotten a lot off my chest.
So I hope you enjoy reading these notes as much as I enjoyed writing them.
I also encourage you to bookmark this page and refer back to it whenever you need it most.
Step 1 | Realign with your core values
Let’s kick things off intentionally shall we?
Before you can even begin to cultivate your most intentional and meaningful year yet, you need to know what your core values are.
Core values are your fundamental beliefs. They guide your behaviours, decisions, and actions. When you know what your core values are, you can give your life meaning.
For example, there’s no point working 18-hours a day, being constantly busy and hustling your way through life if one of your core values is balance.
If another one of your values is adventure but you stay in the same place year in, year out and don’t make any changes then you’re not going to go anywhere.
You need to know what you are working towards.
And your core values help you find that purpose. A purpose which is “our guiding principle and highest priority.” (Ryan Holiday)
Once you have mapped out your values, you can then set goals, make decisions and take action based on these values. You will then be able to live each day with more intention and fulfilment.
Which, in my opinion, leads to a greater sense of happiness and self-worth.
So, do not skip this step!
Step 2 | Set goals that come from the heart
Have you mapped out your core values yet?
I would love to hear what they are so why not drop me a comment below!
After you have established your core values, you can now start to cultivate a more intentional and meaningful life!
It’s also important to note, that certain core values can and do change. If like me, you’re on a life-long self-discovery and personal development journey then you will grow and evolve over time. And so will your purpose and goals in life.
This is why it’s so important to create a life you want to live. And not be influenced by how others want you to live.
It all comes down to the goals you set yourself.
Your goals need to come from the heart.
In 2020, I set the goal to do an MA in Psychology. I believed that’s what I needed to do to prove to my friends and family that I was smart. This goal was based on how I think others perceive me and not on what I truly wanted.
I lacked motivation and incentive to even start the goal.
Yes, at some point in my life, I would love to do an MA in Psychology. But not yet. I’m not personally ready. There are other goals and milestones that I want to achieve first. Like travelling the world and building a business with multiple income streams.
So set the right goals. Because if a goal is not something that you truly want to achieve you won’t be able to progress and reach it.
This is why so many people struggle to reach their goals in the first place and then beat themselves up for it.
So make sure your goals are in line with your values and the life you want. Not what you think you “should” achieve because society tells you it’s the norm.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”E.E. cummings
Step 3 | Establish boundaries in every area of your life
One of the most important things I’ve learnt in the past couple of years is that boundaries are crucial and so friggin’ necessary to cultivate an intentional and meaningful life.
Because they are the rules and limits you put in place to stop others from taking advantage of you.
They are the foundation of your identity as they help to define your likes and dislikes as well as separate your personal space, emotions and responsibilities from others.
Boundaries might be seen as selfish by others, but the truth is, you need boundaries to protect your mental health and well-being.
You need boundaries to guard your time and energy so you can instead focus on building the life of your dreams!
Here are a few of the boundaries I’ve set for 2022
- Saying “NO” when I want to
- Avoiding or limiting my time with negative people
- Cutting out all toxic people from my life
- Removing myself from a situation if I feel uncomfortable
- Taking regular breaks from Instagram
Step 4 | Build habits that align with your personality
Setting yourself up for success really comes down to the habits you choose to build.
Habits are the tiny rituals you make daily to form discipline and structure in your day-to-day. And discipline and structure are essential when cultivating an intentional life.
So step 4 is not only building healthy habits. But building them to align with your personality and the person you want to become.
The main reason why most people fail to build habits is that they unknowingly choose to build the wrong habits.
I tried for so long to build the habit of waking up every morning at 7 am.
Why? Because the content on Instagram made me feel like I was lazy for waking up at 8 am! There was no incentive for me to wake up early, other than the fact that I could share on my stories that I was an “early bird.”
But the truth is, I’m not a morning person. I love to ignore my alarm and naturally open my eyes when I’m ready. (Which is usually around 8.30 am).
So if you are struggling to build habits that stick, take a look at the habits you are trying to build. Do they align with your values? Do they suit your personality? Are they habits you even want to be building?
For example, don’t force yourself to do yoga every morning if you prefer high-intensity exercise. Choose another workout that suits your likes and needs.
In short, build habits that work for you.
You’ll also find that building habits in this way, will make you more likely to stick to them. And this in turn will make the whole habit-building process easier and more enjoyable!
“You don’t have to build the habits everyone tells you to build. Choose the habit that best suits you, not the one that is most popular”James Clear
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Step 5 | Create a daily routine that works for you
Following on from the above point, you can also apply this method to your daily routine.
Even though I started Notes by Thalia by sharing productivity tips on social media, I personally struggled with my own productivity.
I would always find it hard to get going in the morning. I would slump in the afternoon and finish the day without really accomplishing anything.
And of course, this got me down.
But after a lot of trial and error, and reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, I realised that I was scheduling my time wrongly.
I was trying to wake up too early in the morning as I was following what every other business owner on Instagram was doing. I was also giving myself too many tasks to complete in a day. And because of the overwhelm, I just ended up procrastinating.
My time wasn’t being managed efficiently and I wasn’t working sustainably.
In all honesty, I wasn’t happy. I felt like my days lacked structure and I was constantly taking “self-care” days as that seemed like the easiest thing to do.
I knew something had to change.
So I decided to sit down with a pen and paper and plan my daily routine and weekly schedule from scratch.
I wrote down how I wanted to spend my mornings. Slowly.
And I wanted to have dedicated space during the day for reading, walking and self-care.
My schedule also had to be flexible for menstrual days and low days.
I also wrote down the days where my energy is at its highest and lowest. This is to ensure I’m maximising my productivity and doing my content and design tasks on the days where I feel the most creative (mid-week), and doing any admin or writing work on the other days.
Theming my days in this way, and having clarity in knowing what I’m doing every day when I wake up has made me feel more motivated, more focused and more excited to start the day.
I’m no longer working aimlessly through a to-do list that has no relevance to my goals. My days are now not only structured but they cultivate intentional action too.
To find out the exact step-by-step process I followed to plan a daily routine that is not only productive but is also one I love, read this blog post.
Step 6 | Don’t allow the things you can’t control get you down
I know this is easier said than done but worrying about things will get you nowhere.
My mum is a natural-born worrier so I obviously picked up this trait as a kid and I’ve been trying to kick it ever since.
Getting down over things you can’t control is, excuse my bluntness here, pointless.
Nothing will ever happen if you continue to obsess over the things that are outside of your control.
Sometimes you just need to accept the things that happen (however bad they may be) and move on.
I spent the best part of two years worrying about the pandemic and the future of humanity. Every night I lay in bed obsessing over the things that could happen.
My anxiety was at an all-time high and guess what?
I couldn’t change what was happening or make things different. It was all out of my control and I allowed my mental health to suffer because of my consuming thoughts.
But as soon as I stopped worrying about the things I couldn’t control, I was able to truly thrive as well as heal my trauma.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened. But one day I just stopped caring about what was happening in the world and started focusing on what I could control. Like my choices, my habits, my goals, my business and my plans to travel.
And thank god I did, because I am a lot happier because of it. My mind has more clarity and I have mapped out the next year of my life despite what’s happening.
I’m about to cultivate my most intentional and meaningful year yet and I am so excited!
So this is your invitation to switch off the news, ignore the online noise and start focusing on yourself, your needs and your journey.
“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality”Seneca
mindful guidance to help you with your worries
Like I said at the beginning of this section, learning to not get down over things you can’t control is harder said than done.
So here’s some mindful guidance for you.
If you are overcome with worry or anxious thoughts and you’re finding it hard to ignore them, then try this exercise to help you manage them.
- Schedule in a daily worry period – Instead of allowing yourself to be overcome by worrisome thoughts throughout the day, allocate time during the week to worry.
- Journal – During your “daily worry period” write down everything that is currently playing on your mind. This will help clear your mental space and offer a sense of relief.
- Practice this method consistently – Build a daily worry period as you would a habit. The more consistent you are with scheduling in time to worry the more it will likely stick.
Step 7 | Focus on your own journey
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.”
And I’ve got to hand it to him, he was spot on.
In a world where productivity, appearance and money dictate how successful you are, it’s easy to feel a little bit inadequate sometimes.
As though you’re not good enough.
Especially when you compare your journey to those online.
I was trapped in the cycle of comparing myself to how fast others were growing their businesses and what they had achieved in the space of a few months.
I also used to fixate on people who managed to grow their Instagram accounts from 0 to 5000 in just 3 months when I was still stuck on 600 followers.
It made me feel like shit and that I wasn’t doing enough. I got stuck in the habit of downplaying everything that I’d achieved. And instead, I focused on the things that I didn’t manage to achieve.
The comparison cycle stopped me from moving forward.
Because I was so obsessed with everyone else’s journey I forgot about mine. And for a while I was stuck.
So, take it from me… if you are looking to cultivate your most intentional year yet, you need to stop looking at what everyone else is doing.
Focus on your own journey.
Your own goals, your own followers, your own wins.
And don’t get so caught up in the end result that you miss all the fun, good bits. Or the hard bits. The bits that make you cry and scream. The bits that make you.
In short, learn to enjoy the process, because it’s going to be a long one.
And become your own biggest cheerleader.
Because, in the words of Mel Robbins, “no one is coming.”
It’s up to you, and only you.
“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.”Jordan B. Peterson
Step 8 | Read The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
I want to continue my own journey of self-discovery and self-reflection, so one of my intentions this year is to read more self-growth books.
Last year, I only managed 4. That might seem like a lot to you but for my own personal goals, I didn’t read enough non-fiction.
So this month I will start The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. The Daily Stoic includes 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance and the art of living. It features lessons from the ancient Stoics; Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus among others.
Adopting a stoic practice to your life can reduce anxiety, help you avoid distractions and teach you gratitude.
Stoicism also teaches you how to ignore the things you can’t control so you can truly step into your being and cultivate your most intentional year yet.
So will you join me and become my reading buddy? Why not grab a copy on Amazon by clicking below and send me an email or DM if you do!
Buy your copy on amazon today
No matter what stage of life you find yourself in, I hope these tips inspire you and encourage you to cultivate your most intentional year yet.
It’s not enough to lie in your bed manifesting your dreams, in the hope that they will one day come true. “No one is coming” and you need to remember that. Focusing on you and ignoring the noise is the way to an intentional and self-loving year.
You need to take action.
So why not start today.
“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life”Robin Sharma
I encourage you to bookmark this page and refer back to it whenever you need it. It’s always here for you.
And I’m here for you too!
I’m always looking for a new pen-pal.
One last thing before I leave you…
Remember, cultivating intention and meaning in your life can be a life-long process.
So learn to enjoy it.
Until next week,
♡ Thalia xx
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