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Set The Tone For 2023: Ways to Create Meaningful Change

First off, Happy New Year from the Lawless Team! We are grateful and excited for a new year with our community and clients.

Second, the new year brings a certain pressure to do more and better. I have this sense that before the new year even begins people have already created goals, lists, organized and so on. That is just not realistic for me and maybe not for you either. Instead, I take the month of January to reflect, reorganize, set my intentions, tweak habits and create goals.

I figured I'd give you a step by step look into how I'm setting the tone for 2023 and take away some pressure to have it all read by January 1st.

  • Clear Out Space

First week of Jan

The organization or lack of it of my physical space directly effects my productivity and mood. I don't know why but it's always been this way so this is a good starting place for me. I go through closets, drawers and pantry to purge of anything that hasn't been used in a year. My rule of thumb is; if it hasn't been used in a full year it's probably time to donate. This first week is also when I tend to refresh décor for my home; throw pillows, blankets, vases and rugs are usually the main items.

  • "If I Couldn't Fail I Would...." Exercise

Second week of Jan

Now it's time to write and set intentions. I grab a piece of paper (or you can type it), add the date and at the top I write "If I Couldn't Fail I Would...." then I complete the sentence with bullet points. Whatever comes to my mind, big or small I write down. Some of the things for me are; open a coffee shop, learn how to ice skate, own an apartment in my favorite cities. If it's big and fearless, it goes on the list. Once the list is complete, I read through each bullet point and envision myself living it. I usually close my eyes and imagine what I'd be wearing, hearing, feeling and touching when that thing comes true.

  • Set Financial Goals & Plan

third week of Jan

Making lists, setting intentions and visualizing are all great things to do for your subconscious but without a financial plan and follow-through, most won't happen. Resources to fund dreams and achieve grand things are a must and usually it's in the form of $$$. I start with my financial goals and I break it down per quarter so it's less overwhelming. By the end of 1st Q I need to have: "x" in checking, savings and stocks. By the end of 1st Q I need to have paid off: list debt amount. I do this simple break down for each quarter and move on to planning.

This plan is a simple method that I'm sure you can find online but you take your monthly take home income, subtract your fixed expenses and assign the leftover to each goal. That's it.

  • Habits: What Do I Need To Add?

last week of Jan

I'd say this part takes the most reflection for me. I have to think back to the past year and understand what worked, what didn't and why. When I want to create a new habit, I use the "habit stacking" method mentioned in the book Atomic Habits. If you haven't read it yet, you must!

I also add habits quarterly, one per quarter to be exact, so I have to go through a prioritization phase in my mind before I start committing. It's tempting to want to completely reinvent my entire identity in one year but I know it's not realistic and three months in I'll burn out. So I think "What kind of person do I want to be?" and "What habits does this person have?". I trim it down to four habits and assign a habit to each quarter of the year. As the year progresses, I stack on top of the previous quarter.

That's it! Four steps, divided weekly for me to set the tone for the new year. It might not take you a whole week to do each exercise but I like to give myself time. The concept of "getting things done fast" can be a trap for me because it doesn't allow me to really think it through. If you want meaningful change in your year, you have to be aware of what you can do and what you can't do so I like to take my time.

February 1st, it's full steam ahead!

- Raph



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