I’ve been consulting the stars, reading the prophets, and invoking the gods and I have some predictions for what the year ahead will hold for you:

  • You will be disappointed, frustrated and probably terrified by global leaders and those in your own country;
  • You will have to navigate the ongoing unpredictability of the pandemic;
  • You will find the weather unseasonal and a little chaotic for a significant proportion of the year;
  • You will be hurt by people you love;
  • You will experience anxiety about your finances;
  • You will be stopped in your tracks by beauty and wonder at unexpected moments;
  • Someone you love will surprise you with compassion, understanding, and little gifts of caring;
  • Some things you try will succeed way beyond your expectations;
  • Some things you try will fail in spite of your best efforts.

THE EXPECTED UNEXPECTEDS

Now clearly I haven’t actually had any communication from the great beyond. I haven’t spoken to prophets, stars or gods. I just know—as you do—that these are the expected unexpecteds that we all face regularly. You will have experienced most, if not all, of these things last year. And you’ll be dealing with them again this year.

Many of us live through these experiences from a reactive position. Whatever we may try to plan or dream about our lives, too easily gets derailed by these common disruptions. We may feel that we go from crisis to crisis, unprepared and unable to control what happens to us. The best we can hope for is a few moments of joy, creativity, and success in the chaos we have to navigate each day.

But life does not have to be this way. Yes, we will always have to deal with unexpected and uncontrollable realities in our lives. But when we have a guiding sense of how we want to live and what we want to do and accomplish in the year, we can be better prepared for the unexpected. When the unpredictable challenges happen within a framework of intention, they are less overwhelming. They may disrupt us, but they do not derail us. And that makes all the difference.

WRITING YOUR STORY

At the heart of living an intentional year is the story we tell ourselves about our lives, about what’s going on in the world, about what we can expect in the year ahead. Out of this story we draw our values, our perspectives, and the aspects of our lives to which will give the most focus and attention. And this is why a crucial element of setting intentions for the year is to ensure that we’re writing our own story. We can be the main character in our own Book of the Year rather than a minor role player in the stories of others.

So what would it mean to think about the year ahead as a book that you’re writing? What if each day was a new page, each week was a subsection, and each month was a chapter? And what if you wrote that story in advance and used your Book of the Year as a guide to help you keep your intentions front and centre in your life?

If you were to see yourself as the hero in your own story, what would you want to be doing? What would the most important elements of your life be? What things would you want to see that hero doing through the year? Who are the people who will share the story with you? What role will they play in your story and you in theirs?

COMPETING STORIES

As we write our Book of the Year we will have to deal with competing stories that others try to impose on us. There may be loved ones, friends, or neighbours who will demand that we shape our lives round fulfilling their expectations. There will be society pressures that may conflict with our own values and that we will have to wrestle with. There will be global events that will place obstacles, detours, and dead ends in our way. And there will be the voices within us of self-doubt, self-criticism, and self-indulgence that will try to convince us that our Book is fantasy that has no connection with the real world. All of this is normal and to be expected.

But when we have an intentional draft of our Book of the Year in our hands, we don’t have to rely on how we feel on any given day or on our will power to overcome the obstacles we face. We will be more able to keep our eyes on our chosen path, we will be guided by our chosen story, and we will see the challenges for what they are: just a disruption to negotiate.

WHAT IS YOUR BOOK ABOUT?

What will your Book of the Year be about? How do you want to show up in your own story? What will it look like to write a story of being authentically and courageously present in your life and relationships? What and who do you want to include in your story? And how will you use your story to guide you through whatever you may have to face in 2022?

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