As 2016 comes to a close, I am taking some time to take stock of the year and to set my intentions for the new one.
For me, resolutions feel a bit arbitrary and simplistic. I can decide that I want to meditate every day or that I want to publish a certain number of articles, but the question of whether these things will actually make me happy still lurks in the background.
Instead, I like to use the end of the year as a time of reflection and intention setting.
I see intentions as being more about how I want to feel and who I want to be, as opposed to what I want to do or achieve.
To get started, I typically journal on the following questions -- I invite you to take an hour to journal on these questions as well and I guarantee it will be one of the most valuable hours you spend as the year winds down:
What worked for me this year?
What attitudes, beliefs and mindsets helped me to live my life with greater intention and in greater alignment with my core values? This is the time for me to celebrate and appreciate all that has gone right.
For me, this includes having a consistent morning practice, getting very clear about what I want my life to look like vs what I believe it should look like, journaling to my intuition whenever I'm not sure about a decision, and spending a lot of time in nature.
What didn't work this year?
Where did I stray from intention and love by following fear or chasing perfection? What mindsets didn't serve me? This is my time to reflect on lessons learned and carry those lessons with me into the next year.
For me, this includes falling prey to others' ideas of what my life should look or feel like, staying in a place of overwhelment instead of moving to gratitude -- especially during some big life transitions that took place this year -- and falling away from my morning routine when I'm stressed.
What lessons did I learn from what did and didn't work this year?
I learned to be careful in discerning whether I'm following someone else's dream or my own. It's easy to believe that because a certain path worked for someone else, it will work for us. Unfortunately, it's rarely ever that easy.
This year, it really hit home that for me, following someone else's path will always lead to frustration and overwhelm.
I learned that it is crucial to continually work on loving all parts of myself -- event the parts that I believe "need work."
I need to remember that the truth is we are all born whole, perfect and complete and unless I love all parts of myself AS IS, I am denying the truth about myself.
I learned that self care is a spiritual practice for me. It helps me connect to my innermost self: my soul. And in doing so, I connect to all of humanity and all of the universe.
I learned that movement is essential in all areas of my life. This includes physical movement, of course, but also creative movement.
I realized that I really don't feel like myself unless I'm creating something at all times.
This can be something tangible like a new article or blog post or a watercolor painting done in conjunction with my five-year-old, or it can be something a bit more amorphous like a subtle shift in mindset.
I am a creative person, and I don't feel whole unless I have creativity in my life in some form on a daily basis.
Finally, I learned that challenges are opportunities to grow -- not obligations and not burdens. Change is inevitable and pain is often inevitable in life as well. Suffering, however, is always optional.
Luckily, the choice is always mine.
The most important part of my new year's journaling is to reflect on what an intentional life will look like for me in the next year. Naturally, this is something that is constantly evolving, but getting it down on paper before the year starts gives me a fresh jumping-off point to consider what it is I really want in this moment in my life.
Here is what I have so far for this year:
An intentional life would mean loving myself, being connected with God [my word for the concepts of love, peace, and intuition], and living life by the direction of my most deeply held values.
It would mean feeling good physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
To practice love with myself, my family, and everyone I come in contact with throughout my days.
To never let myself get to a place where I don't feel free -- something that only happens when I'm not operating from my intuitive nature.
To get rid of all the "shoulds" that come from fear.
To continue to find ways to serve others with joy.
To be present with my family and to slow down by only doing the things that are truly meaningful to me.
To be in a constant state of freedom, joy, love and unrelenting peace and to continue to loosen my grip on perfection and fear.
What will your best year look like? More importantly how will it feel? How can you carry with you and honor all the lessons learned in 2016 and continue to build upon your personal growth and expansion? I invite you to reflect on these questions in the coming weeks and create with intention your best year yet!
PS- If you are interested in working with me to dive deep into your intentional life in the new year, I'd love talk! Call me at 973-769-2401, email firstname.lastname@example.org or simply fill out the form here for a free consultation.