Start the New Year With Intentions, Not Resolutions
I believe that each new year is the most important. The choices we make will dramatically change the trajectory of our lives.
The start of every year holds the promise of opportunity that lies ahead. These opportunities are traditionally labeled as “New Year’s resolutions.” Yet most New Year’s resolutions go unfulfilled.
So how do we make the new year our best year ever, taking advantage of opportunities and setting ourselves and our families up for success?
What if I told you there is a practical approach to creating and fulfilling vibrant, goal-oriented objectives for the upcoming year? Today, we’ll discuss how to achieve intentional goals through a process of reflecting and planning to optimize the new year.
Table of Contents
Conduct an Intentional Reflection
Let’s reflect on the year that just ended. Thinking about everything that happened, what emotions did you most frequently experience? Joy, surprise, determination, or maybe even uncertainty?
Tony Robbins once said, “The quality of our life is the quality of our emotions.” As we look ahead to the new year, such a statement resonates with an important truth: Our emotions are not just reactions to the world around us but also powerful guides that shape our experiences and decisions.
Understanding and reflecting on major experiences and emotions can be the key to creating and planning a fulfilling and intentional year. That doesn’t mean remembering every little detail but rather remembering an overall feeling to generate gratitude and motivation.
In fact, reflective emotions can help us regain focus, operate in the present, and plan and carry out our personal and professional intentions.
Find some time to sit down, reflect, and ponder emotional experiences that make you excited about the year that was, and figure out why they were so important. Here are three experiences from my year that I’ll never forget.
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#192 Start the Year with Intentions, not Resolutions ft. Peter Kim, M.D
When was the last time you felt a sense of absolute wonder? Like a child, mouth wide open, marveling at what’s around you? For me, wonder is an emotion that opens me up to gratitude. As I’ve written about before, gratitude can help us overcome challenges.
I felt wonder recently during a quick getaway to Las Vegas with my wife. We visited the new Sphere venue to see U2 play. It was a moment to step back from our daily roles as parents and professionals to just have a night of fun. What was a brief break became a moment of wonder. The Sphere, with its incredible architecture, left me awestruck. The performance and venue are a testament to human creativity, and it can’t help but make you feel like anything is possible. I looked around and saw so many adults looking like little kids.
Reflecting on this sense of wonder, and realizing anything is possible helps me approach the new year with the abundance mindset necessary to achieve my goals.
The world changes so much each and every day. How do you respond? For me, I tend to approach these things with curiosity. It helps me step back and approach a situation more analytically and with an open mind.
For example, the economic world was a rollercoaster in 2023, especially with the fluctuating interest rates. Recently, the Federal Reserve paused rate hikes, stabilizing them for now and sparking a series of questions: What’s next for the economy? When will interest rates drop? (My guess is by July.) Will dropping interest rates revive the commercial real estate market or boost the stock market even further? Is there a window of opportunity right now?
As you can see, it has me completely curious. There are more questions than answers, and I know this curiosity will lead me to search deeper for new and exciting opportunities. What new experiences will I have in the new year? I can’t wait to find out.
Each year, I am determined to make the biggest difference and to optimize as many opportunities as possible. It is one of the key emotions I experienced this year, and I hope the same for you.
But reflecting on my year, what was it that made me determined? Someone recently asked me if I had experienced a midlife crisis. At 46, I don’t necessarily feel it, but midlife does mean you may have more years behind you than ahead—I guess that could be the case for me.
That prompted some reflection, and I felt a deep sense of gratitude for my family, my health, and the strong sense of purpose in my life. That, in turn, filled me with determination to sustain those things to make the most of this phase of my life (the back half). Now, I am determined to stay focused on my health to enjoy life fully, something that starts with making this a fantastic year.
With this simple reflection exercise—isolating and exploring three emotional experiences of your year—you are well on your way to creating a growth mindset that keeps you present and focused on achieving your goals. Now, the next step is to write those goals down.
Create a Personal Plan for the New Year
Life shouldn’t be like Tetris, where, come what may, we hope everything will just fall into place. That’s not the best way to optimize things. Instead, prioritize and visualize what you want to accomplish in the next twelve months.
Creating an intentional plan for an entire new year sounds daunting, but it’s really quite simple and only requires around 90 minutes of your time.
Start by gathering some crucial items: a giant, clean wall calendar (I use “The Big Calendar” by Jesse Itzler), expo markers, and/or some color-coded sticky notes. Next, write in the events that are already happening—your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, your daughter’s graduation, or the family vacation over spring break.
Then block off the days when work demands you or your spouse’s time—and do this for the entire year so you can plan around it. For me, that might include the Leverage & Growth Summit, taking place from February 26 through March 1 (hope to see you there), the launch of the PIMD Momentum Mastermind and subsequent retreat this spring, or the PIMDCON annual conference in September (details coming soon!).
If you have kids, make sure you add their school schedule, complete with any special events (such as parent-teacher conferences or their sports games or recital performances).
Yes, your year will look busy at this point, but there should still be a lot of room left for your financial growth and spontaneity.
With the essential stuff out of the way, it’s time to get to the personal part of the intentional personal plan. Think about the activities you want to experience. Do you want to pursue passive income or enter into entrepreneurship? Make a list. Then bring your family into this experience: What is the one big thing your kids want to do? Your spouse on a getaway weekend? Sketch it out on the calendar and begin to fit them in.
Stand back and visualize the experiences you can have this year, prompting more emotional reflection that will help you make your dreams for the year a reality. Taking a bird’s eye view of the entire year can make us excited that each day is part of a larger, intentional plan.
With your year on the calendar, start planning the details to make these things happen. After all, a decision means nothing without action.
Don’t miss the Leverage & Growth Summit this winter, a unique event tailored for physicians exploring entrepreneurial and growth opportunities beyond traditional clinical roles. It’s an enriching platform offering inspiring keynotes from successful physician entrepreneurs, interactive workshops on various fields like digital health and investment, invaluable networking with like-minded professionals, and insightful panel discussions on healthcare trends.
This summit isn’t just a conference; it’s a movement towards expanding your professional horizons, empowering your entrepreneurial spirit, and connecting with pioneers reshaping healthcare. Mark your calendars for a transformative experience that promises to redefine the intersection of medicine and entrepreneurship.
Being Intentional Leads to Transformative Experiences
Start the year by intentionally reflecting on what happened last year. Take some of those challenges or lessons learned with you because they help you determine your goals and personal planning process.
Notice also that creating a personal plan for 2024 doesn’t include the mundane, everyday tasks like errands. Instead, the focus is on visualizing exciting activities you want to experience, such as traveling, once-in-a-lifetime getaways, fun adventures, and perhaps even a PIMD event or two.
Keep the calendar hanging in your office in order to keep your personal plan in focus. It’s not just a tool for organization but a map for your emotional and personal journey for the upcoming year. Personal plans help you intentionally commit to experiences you truly value, making it easier to say no to less important things that might arise.
Give yourself 90 minutes to complete this process as soon as possible. Along the way, find opportunities to join great communities of like-minded people who cultivate growth mindsets, great strategies, and really set themselves up for the future.
That’s it for today. Keep reflecting, keep planning, and keep achieving. I believe in you and your ability to make the life of your dreams. This is going to be an amazing year!
Peter Kim, MD is the founder of Passive Income MD, the creator of Passive Real Estate Academy, and offers weekly education through his Monday podcast, the Passive Income MD Podcast. Join our community at Passive Income Doc Facebook Group. And let us know in the comments below about what you are planning for the new year!