Is This Your Year? Part I – Purpose, Goals, and Intentions
Dr Joe Dispenza | 30 January 2024
As January winds down, many people already have lost sight of the resolutions they set at the beginning of the year. Gym memberships have been abandoned. Efforts to curb screen time have dwindled. And glowing ambitions to eat better … or meditate daily … or recommit to yoga practice … or learn a new instrument or language … have dimmed.
This happens each year because it’s so much easier to forget your vision of the future than to remember it. But one of the things I love best about this work is, it’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to choose you.
In a recent Dr Joe Live, I shared six simple steps you can practice so your thoughts, actions, and feelings align with the life you’re creating. Today, we’re going to talk about steps 1 through 3, and work through some exercises to help you remember your vision for a new future – so you don’t forget again.
Step 1. Define Your Purpose
One of the first things I learned on my own journey was the importance of living with purpose. Purpose is what gives your life meaning and direction. And purpose is dynamic. It’s uniquely personal, it’s always evolving, and it’s never-ending. It’s an overarching mission by which you set your course.
Conversely, a lack of purpose often is the main reason we lose sight of our goals – or lose our connection to a new future. Without a guiding principle or mission, how can you know if the choices you’re making are in alignment with where you want to be?
And so, before continuing with the next steps, take some time to reflect on your purpose. I find there’s no better way to do this than to sit down with myself, get quiet, and write.
Here are some prompts you can journal about:
- Where in my life do I naturally feel inspiration, curiosity, wonder, and motivation?
- Where do I struggle to find a sense of meaning or direction?
- Am I practicing metacognition? Am I aware of my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors?
- Do I have a sense of mission or vision? If not, can I remember a time when I felt connected to a higher purpose?
- What would be a reason for me to jump out of bed in the morning, excited for the day ahead?
- What would be a good mission statement for this moment in my life?
It’s powerful to give words to the things we value and we’re working toward. And taking this time to reflect on what matters most to you is a great way to choose you. You must know your purpose so well that it feels visceral – so it’s not merely words, but something that feels deeply true in an embodied sense.
Step 2. Set Achievable Goals That Support Your Purpose
Once you’ve defined your purpose, it’s important to set goals that keep you moving in that direction. This is a simple exercise in terms of approach, but it takes some time to be discerning and set goals that are simultaneously challenging – that stretch you – and achievable.
- In your journal, write down the purpose or mission statement you arrived at in Step 1.
- Under that statement, write down five or six realistic, achievable goals that support your mission.
For example, let’s say you’ve decided your purpose, this year, is to be healthier. That’s a broad area, so to track your progress, you need to narrow down your goals – and be specific. Your list might look something like this:My purpose: To be the healthiest version of myself I can be – physically, chemically, and emotionally.
- Meditate every morning and evening
- Learn about nutrition – and prepare my own healthy meals
- Exercise at least three hours a week
- Cut personal screen time to no more than 30 minutes a day
- Take a break from social media
- No screen time before bed
- Invest more time and attention in my relationships – in person
- Keep a journal to track my progress
Whatever your goals, it’s important they align with your purpose. That’s what keeps you on track. And, as you achieve some of the goals on your list, make sure to add new ones so you keep making progress – and you keep challenging yourself.
Step 3. Set the Intention to Make Different Choices
This may seem like an obvious step, but in all my years of doing this work, I’ve lost count of how many people are trying to reach a new future as the same person they’ve been all along. They keep making the same choices – and are somehow expecting different outcomes.
But if you’re thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same feelings, and acting out the same behaviors as your past-present self, that keeps you connected to only one place: your past. In other words, making the same choices each day will keep you in the same familiar, known life.
It makes sense, then, that if you want to connect to your new future, the only way to arrive there is as a new self. And that means making new choices. Thinking the new thoughts, feeling the new feelings, and acting out the new behaviors of your present-future self – all of this is what can lead you to a new life.
In your journal, spend some time exploring these questions:
- What are some people or situations in my current life that often cause me to go unconscious?
- What are the automatic thoughts and feelings that fuel my behaviors in that state?
- How can I prepare myself to respond differently when those challenges arise? What would my future self think, feel, or do?
When you set the intention to make different choices, it bolsters your resolve to align your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with your purpose. So, when resistance rears up – as you know it will – you already have a plan for how you’re going to respond.
We all have that voice inside that says, I don’t feel like it. I’m too tired. I’m too busy. It doesn’t work anyway. I’ll start tomorrow. But with intention, you can ask yourself in those moments: Is this aligned with my purpose? Will this help me reach my next goal? What would my future self do in this moment? What choice do I need to make to become that version of me?
When you make the choice that aligns with your purpose and your vision, then in that moment, you’re choosing yourself. You’re overcoming the old programs and conditioning in your body – as well as your environment and time – and you’re investing in your new future.
Setting an intention is a way to put meaning behind what you’re doing. And when you put meaning behind what you’re doing, you’re changing your energy.
Continually Moving in the Direction of Change
Remember: nothing changes in your life until you change. You can’t see the future through the lens of the past. Your purpose points you in the direction of your new future. Your goals support that purpose – and give you measurable steps toward progress. Your intention is the fuel that helps you achieve your goals – and keeps you on purpose. And clarity about all of these helps you make the right choices as you continually move in the direction of change.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the year, or what holiday is being observed, or what personal milestone looms. It doesn’t even matter if you started off today in your automatic programs. Moment to moment, whenever you realize you’ve forgotten the new future you’re creating, you can catch yourself and bring yourself back to the present moment. You can remember. And if you keep remembering, chances are you’ll stop forgetting. You can always begin again.