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I really struggle with setting intentions. I’ve been finding the monthly intentions page in my bullet journal the most challenging thing to fill in. ‘What do I want from the month ahead?’ is a question that vexes me.

Mostly I want to have crossed lots of things off my list. My monthly sheets for the New Year Revolution (from Do What You Love -no longer available)  have mainly featured tasks I was putting off. The act of breaking them down into mini-goals got me moving on some things. But others remained uncompleted or just didn’t seem worth doing anymore. I could take this approach and list the next task from each of my project pages. However, it seems that an intentions page should be more inspirational. It should be about something broader than just the next thing to do.

I got around this issue in the New Year Revolution by selecting random words and phrases for each month and doing the whole year at once. None were wholly out of place when I reached them and a few were oddly apt. Let’s face it most month’s benefit from having ‘nothing to declare’, being refreshing or a time of quality.

Do you need specific goals?

It’s not an answer though. It’s no better than writing ‘enjoy your holiday’ or ‘have fun’. I was pretty much ready to abandon the whole page. It’s my journal; I don’t have to worry that I’m doing it wrong if I don’t have perfectly formed goals for every stage of my life.

But it niggled. Was I content enough that I didn’t need new goals? Probably not. Was I afraid that setting goals committed me to something I might not want at a later date? I did find the number of goals an issue. One seemed to not be enough and how could I choose which single goal to focus on? What if it takes longer than a month to do? How long would be a reasonable amount of time to repeat a goal?

Blogs provide the answer

Much overthinking later I set the issue aside to read some blog posts.

Like many people I’ve been taught to set very specific goals and to make them more specific to get them done. With this in mind, I was intrigued to read an article on Early to Rise. This suggested that looser long term goals actually worked better because you could feel that you were working towards them from day one.

So my monthly intentions, at least for the time being will be vague. They will be 5 keywords connected to areas or projects that I want to develop. I won’t be habit tracking, breaking into smaller tasks or choosing things that don’t have at least a bit of joy. Instead, I’ll just look at them every day and ask what I’ve done however small towards each of them. I suspect the number will change over time. If I’m not feeling good about one of the keywords I might prioritise it, ask myself why I’m not taking baby steps towards it and finally consider that it’s not something that’s meant to be part of my life right now.

How do other people handle monthly intentions? Do you do it? How do you decide what they should be?