Starting the New Year with Powerful Intentions
Posted on 31 December 2009
I like all the holidays, but New Year’s ranks at the top of the list for me. I’ve celebrated New Year’s at clubs, house parties, alone, in Vegas, and last year at a silent meditation retreat . . . what I do for the evening isn’t the thrill of New Year’s for me, though. The thrill is the turning point. The clean slate feeling of starting a new year. The reminder to stop and reflect on the past year as well as to look forward to the next. That’s what I love about this time of year!
Every year for most of my adult life, I’ve written down New Year’s goals or intentions. I started writing goals, then realized somewhere along the line that goals require success or failure, and it’s not always about whether or not I accomplish, it’s about what I bring into my life from my intention to grow. So, I started setting intentions, usually listed as qualities.
Here’s an example… At age 27 as I reflected on my life at New Year’s, I realized that somehow I had become inconsistent and dishonest in almost every area and relationship. I was unhappy in my marriage, but was working so hard on putting up a good face and keeping up appearances, that I had a hard time finding any truth about myself. I felt fake and lonely. That New Year’s I set the simple intention that by the end of that year, I’d be living in honesty. I didn’t know what that was going to look like, and I thought it was going to take a year to accomplish. It didn’t. In the following weeks, my courage grew and my life shifted. That was a roller-coaster year, and one of the hardest of my life, but I had a lot to pretending to clean up, and I did. Within six weeks I was living on my own. Within six months I was divorced. I would never have set that as a goal! I couldn’t have for-seen that as the highest choice for myself and my husband, but I can look back and see that it was. I can also see clearly that what caused the shifts was my new intention of being honest.
Not every year has been so dramatic, of course, but every year I enjoy looking back at what I wrote down as important to me a year ago, and reflecting on how it’s emerged over the next 12 months. It always emerges! One year I set an intention to be more musical. I forgot about it, but at the end of the year when I read my intentions again, I realized that my unlikely and spur of the moment decision to take singing lessons and later join a choir certainly did fulfill the intention. Last year my intention was to reclaim love as a priority in my life. As I look back this year, I see that this has been a year of loving connection and deep relationships. Not exactly out -picturing as my mind might have desired (i.e. no knight in shining armor has ridden in to sweep me off my feet and propose), but yes, this year has been a year of love from start to finish, and I am grateful.
So, here we are, at the end of 2009 and this year feels particularly significant to me as next year is the start of a new decade. That’s big! Who am I going to be in this decade? I get to decide that, lay the groundwork by becoming clear in my intentions, and then I’ll write it down as my way of declaring it to the Universe. I also share my intentions with friends. There’s power in speaking them aloud to witnesses!
Here’s my encouragement to you. Pause for a few moments as you enter the New Year. Feel into yourself and your deepest longings. Under the layers of what you think you want for yourself, feel into the qualities that you long to embody. The qualities that if you were them, your life would be different. And then focus your life with an intention to be that quality. You set the course for your life, whether or not you do it consciously. But make the course conscious, and I assure you, that’s the direction you will go.
And, then celebrate! Life is good, my friends. Know that I support you in your continued growth and success. You are a gift and you are loved! Happy New Year!
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My friend, Coach Marianne Emma Jeff has written a workbook, and that I recommend as a tool to help you design a powerful new year. It’s called Discovering Your Intentional and Exceptional Life and is set up as a series of 15 minute exercises designed to help you review your last year, and to consciously determine your intentions for the next year. It also contains month by month intention setting pages to support you through the entire year.*
I completed the workbook last spring, and found it valuable in giving me a more objective perspective on who I had been in the last twelve months, what I had accomplished, and what I could celebrate. Recently Marianne revised the book, and now I’m working through it a second time.
If you’re interested in learning more about the book, you can visit Marianne’s website (www.motivatemyself.com) to download the first chapter, and to purchase a copy.
* Note: If you live locally, I invite you to join me at Marianne’s first of the month Women’s Success Circles where we complete those pages together. Setting intentions within a group is not only powerful, it’s fun!