Choosing a meaningful North Star to guide you for the year or month

We’re not big fans of New Year’s Resolutions around here. They create a lot of pressure, are often the result of aiming too big (or thinking too small), and don’t usually think about your goals from a holistic point of view. This, for us, is where choosing a word or phrase for the year as your guiding light, aka your North Star, comes in.

Rather than a habit you want to create or a goal you want to accomplish, your North Star is about how you want to show up for the year - who do you want to be? You’re more important than your work or a new habit, and your North Star captures what you need to do or who you want to be to support every part of your life – professionally and personally.

It can feel like a lot of pressure to choose your North Star for the year – but this is meant to be a word or phrase that inspires you, so don’t overthink it!

Here are a few questions we like to ask ourselves:

  • What could I use more or less of in my life?
  • Who do I want to be and how do I want to feel every day?
  • What does my ideal day look like? 
  • What do I most want to do this year / month? 

Spend 15 minutes brain-dumping a list of whatever words or phrases come to mind after this reflection. Don’t throw any of them out, and don’t self-censor. Write down anything that resonates even a little bit.

Take a walk, or step away from the list for a few hours or a day, and then come back - what stands out the most to you? Does a common theme emerge among your words? Circle a few, and decide from there by asking yourself this question:

How can I embody [word or phrase] in my life this year?

Whichever word or phrase gets you the most excited (and usually spurs the most ideas for how you can live it) is probably what’s resonating with you the most. For us, it’s almost always a gut/intuition thing – you just know your word when you see it. 

Now write it down to remind yourself of what you’re focusing on. While we obviously love the spaces we’ve included for this in our No Limits planner, we’re also big fans of writing it on a chalkboard or whiteboard somewhere in your house, writing it on a mirror, or even printing out the word and framing it!

Check in with your North Star regularly.

Are you embodying it the way you wanted to? Does it mean what you thought it would in your life? What do you need to do this month to recalibrate toward your North Star? We like to set our monthly North Stars to orient toward our overall North Star for the year – if your word of the year is Focus, each month you might evaluate what you need to focus on - self-care, your finances, your relationships, or removing distractions. If your word is Growth, each month you might focus on how you need to grow that month – your communication skills, setting boundaries, or a professional skill you want to develop.

For 2021, Amber’s North Star is “Experiment,” because she wants to approach the year with a willingness to try new things and see what works rather than having some idea about how anything is supposed to go. 

Mallory’s North Star for 2021 is “Alignment.” She’s going through a big professional transition right now after spending a few years feeling misaligned. 2020 was the year that brought her clarity and now she wants to focus on getting into alignment with the vision she has for her life.

Do you know your North Star for 2021 yet? We’d love to hear about it! 

P.S. It's not too late to get your No Limits Planner for the year – you can grab one here

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