I’ve been reading lots of blog and social media posts over the past week with people sharing their themes, goals and intentions for the coming year. I’ve seen far fewer resolutions than usual, however. I wonder whether the language we use for these things matters?

Personally I’ve found myself making a distinction between plans I’m making for my business — where using goals feels the right — and for my personal life — where I’m all about intentions. The difference as I see it is that my goals are specific and measurable, ie I’ll know if/when I’ve done them, whereas my intentions are around rituals and routines that I want to build over time.

One of the posts I read was Doug Belshaw’s Looking back, looking forward. The broad categories he uses to outline some of the changes he wants to make in the next year helped to give me some further structure to my thinking. So using these categories, here’s what I want to do this year….

Family and friends — This one is simple: more quality time spent together. There just hasn’t been enough of it in recent years for obvious reasons. This will include regular dates with my wife, Friday nights in the pub with friends, weekly crosswords with my parents, a holiday with my sister and visiting my oldest friend.

Work — I enjoyed the direction my work was taking me last year and the momentum I was building. The aim for this year, therefore, is to do more of what was good from 2020. That will involve playing an active role in communities, seeking new collaborations and associate work, and creating my first product.

Health and wellbeing — My main aim for this year is to add more variety into my exercise routine. To do this, I’ll add strength and stretching to running and hockey. I also plan to keep up my daily walks which are good for both body and mind. My aim is to walk the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats (1745km).

Hobbies — I’ve stopped setting myself a goal for how many books I want to read each year, making time for reading every day is enough. This year, however, I have set an intention — I’m only going to read books that I already own. There’s currently 42 unread (not counting ebooks)! I’m also determined to extend my linocut printing beyond making our Christmas cards. I’ll start with a project related to the daily prompts I shared on Instagram during December.

Personal development — One of my biggest achievements last year was developing my journaling practice (building from nothing to three or four days a week). This year, I’d like to build on that and start every day getting my thoughts out of my head.

What are you looking forward to?