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Learn how to set intentions and goals and change your life

Have you already taken a moment to set intentions for the new year?

At AAYALI, we fully intend to make it a year to remember which means experimenting, trying new things and incorporating the right habits to reach our goals.

To start off, we go over one of the most important steps of the process:

A.  Carve out some time for yourself to reflect on the past.

Celebrate your successes and be grateful for everything you’ve been through - both good and bad. It will help put things in perspective. It also helps build a foundation for everything you’d like to achieve or the change you want to see. Below a few questions you can ask yourself to start this exercise:

  • What were your favorite moments and memories?
  • Evaluate any goals or intentions you have set in the past.
  • What are 3 things you are most proud of?
  • Who has had a positive impact on you? Let them know you’re thankful with a simple card, a small gift or a short, sweet email.

Ps. thinking about all of the above is amazing but writing down the answers is even more powerful so make sure you have enough time to do the exercise.

B.  Write down anything you want for your future

When you’ve taken the time to reflect on the past, it is time to think about what you want for your future. Start off with writing down anything which comes to mind. Doesn’t matter if it’s detailed or not, we will help you fine tune it later. Think about the following:

  • How do you want your daily routine or weeks to look like? Are there any new hobbies you’ve been wanting to take on, books you’ve been wanting to read or podcasts you’ve been wanting to listen to? How about meditation, a workout or a moment of relaxation planned into your daily routine?
  • How do you want to feel? Confident, relaxed, efficient, empowered, etc.. note it down!
  • Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do or have for the longest time? Run a marathon, travel to a new continent, get a pet, start a family, renovate a specific part of your house, get a new car, etc.
  • Are there any relationships you’d like to strengthen? With your parents, friends, kids or colleagues?

The sky is the limit. Go all the way when you do this exercise.

C.  Write a yearly letter to yourself

At the beginning of every year, our founder and her husband take the time to write a letter for the coming year. What does this mean? In the month of January, they'll write a letter as if it's December 31st already. You might think: Why?? 
This exercise helps them think very well about what they'd like to achieve, personally, professionally, as a couple and as a growing family. It helps them set intentions for the year, focus on what they want to achieve and it keeps them in check as the year continues. Along the way, they visualize everything as if it has happened already.
They've done this a few times now and are always amazed at how much they've been able to accomplish at the end of the year.
You may wonder: How do I start?? Below an example to get you started!
Dear New Year 2021,
We’re a day before the new year 2021 will start. First of all we want to begin by saying thank you thank you thank you for a fabulous 2020. It was a year full of love, happiness, great health, gratefulness and success both personally and professionally. We want to take this moment to recognize some of our greatest accomplishments of the year.
We started off the year with ....
In January ....
In February .... (ran a half marathon)
Summer .... (enjoyed a family vacation in Europe)

We could not have asked for a better 2020 and are really excited about 2021. Thank you thank you thank you! On this day we are reminded of how important it is to be thankful for our family, friends, health, work, opportunities, everything we have and each other. We hope to continue improving ourselves in accordance to our values, which in turn we also hope to continue refining for the betterment of ourselves and society. 

And now it is time for us to write our letter for December 31st, 2021. 

With much love, 

Ps. happy New Year!


D.  Prioritize your goals

Look at your wish list and choose 3 categories you want to focus on. Not 4, 5 or more. Why? Because you can't be prioritizing if it's on more than 3 things at a time. With categories, we mean self-care, family, health, career, travel, finances, or ... Once you've figured out the 3 categories you'll focus on, choose 1 big goal for each category that you want to accomplish in the new year. For example if it's finances, it could be: I have saved x euro this year or if it's travel, an example is I've traveled to 2 new countries this year. Make sure those big goals are SMART goals. 

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Examples of SMART goals are:

  • I have lost 5kg by December 31st vs I want to lose weight
  • I saved x euro vs I want to save more
  • I visited my grandparents once a week vs I want to spend more time with my grandparents
  • I worked out 2 times per week vs I want to work out more

E.  Break down your 3 big SMART goals into achievable, actionable next steps

As a first example we'll take the goal of "I have lost 5kg by December 31st".

This can be broken down into the following smaller steps:

  • I worked out 100 times this year (about 2 times per week). 
  • I weighed myself once a week on the same day and time to keep track of my progress.
  • I increased my water intake and drank 1l of water per day.
  • I consumed alcohol maximum once a week and maximum 2 glasses at once.
  • I took the time and brought a homemade, healthy lunch with me to work 4 out of 5 times per week.
  • I did not eat dinner past 9PM. 

For someone who wants to save x euro this year, examples of smaller steps are:

  • Every month immediately after my paycheck is deposited, x euro was automatically moved from my checking into my savings account.
  • Every month, I analyzed my spending so I could see where I could cut down on costs and save more.
  • Since impulse spending is the #1 budget breaker, I created shopping lists so I would only buy what I really needed. 

We encourage you to try this exercise of breaking down your 3 audacious goals into smaller next steps. We are confident that you will start to see the power of this exercise.

F.  Create a vision board

What is a vision board? It's a piece of paper, cardboard, a blank canvas or a few pages in your planner on which you display what you want to achieve, what you want to have, how you want to feel, and more. You can literally write, paste, paint,... on it. There are no rules. The sky is the limit! For example, you can cut out a picture of your dream interior from a magazine or courageous words from a newspaper or write down a quote which puts a smile on your face. A modern take on the vision board is creating a secret board online on Pinterest.

Visualizing is a very powerful exercise to focus your thoughts and your energy towards what you want to achieve, have and how you want to feel. 

Energy flows where attention goes.

A vision board is a fantastic tool to remind yourself on a daily basis to visualize your dreams. Make sure you place your vision board in a spot where you will regularly see it throughout the day. Similar to writing a letter, it takes time and effort to create a vision board and you want to make sure you are intentional about what you put on there. So take your time and enjoy it!

Now that we’ve gone into the details of how to set intentions and goals for the new year, we can't wait to see how your year unfolds. May it be your best year yet!

Ps. look back at your list of priorities/smart goals, your vision board and read the letter you've written as much as you can throughout the year. While you're at it, take a moment to be thankful for everything you've already accomplished. It will help you to remain focused and positive!

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