How to Get from Gap Year to Growth Year, Step 3: Be Intentional

Read on if you’re leaning towards taking a growth year (a personal growth-oriented gap year). If you’ve been following our Growth Year series (you can get started here), you’ve learned how to Be Strategic (see Blog #1), how to Be Realistic (check out Blog #2), and you’re looking to make your next move. You’ve identified your goals and what you’ll need to reach them, so now it’s time to learn how to stay on-track (and how to get back on when you’re blown off).

As this year winds down, we are coming up on New Year’s Day and the monsoon of resolution-setting. Have you ever promised yourself that you’d start a new habit, kick an old one, or rededicate yourself to something? If you have, chances are that like me (and most people I know), you’ve floundered and/or failed to see your resolution through. It’s normal to grapple with establishing good habits, but especially with something life-changing like a growth year, you don’t want to fall out of the saddle and never get back up! The key to riding on is Step 3: Be Intentional.

To be intentional simply means to act with purpose. As you work towards your growth year resolution, you’ll face challenges great and small. These could range from something as major as, “I’ll lose my athletic scholarship if I defer college enrollment for one year!” to, “I’m too tired to send a follow-up email to the internship coordinator right now.” In these moments, you will (or won’t) act. To align what you do with what you want, always act toward your purpose by following these steps:

    1. Know your purpose.  In Step 1: Be Strategic, you articulated your purpose by answering for yourself, “Why do I want to take a growth year?” Reread (or write) your purpose now.
    2. Make it a mantra. Re-write your purpose as a phrase or sentence that is exciting to you. This is what you’ll say to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’ll know you’ve got a good mantra when you can remember it easily and saying it aloud rekindles your commitment to your purpose. An example of a mantra might be, “I’m going for Teach for America so I can enhance students’ lives while I explore my passion for education.”
    3. Cue yourself. Display your mantra somewhere where you’ll see it often, like as the wallpaper on your phone, background on your computer, a keychain tag on your key ring, etc. Get creative! If you get so used to seeing the mantra that it feels like it’s losing its meaning, try changing it up. Display it in a different place or in a different way.
    4. Spread the word. Share your mantra with others, and ask them to remind you of it when you need it. Often the most difficult time to anchor your actions with your purpose is when you most need to do it. Therefore, recruiting others to help you is a smart idea. That way, you have the assurance that other people will have your back when the going gets tough.

By following these steps, you can easily transform your purpose into a constant, sustainable part of your daily life. This will help you to use your purpose like a North Star, guiding and helping you on the growth year path you’re choosing.

In addition to your purpose, let us help to keep you on course for your growth year with our upcoming final installment of the Growth Year blog series! For even more individualized work setting your growth year GPS map, contact us here.

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  1. […] How many other people with a profile similar to yours have applied? Popular schools can have their pick of candidates. If you have your heart set on a particular college or university, you can reapply. Use what you learn about featured students on their website and through conversations with their admissions reps to intentionally guide your Gap Year experience. […]

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