Recently a student emailed me and wrote, “…I feel horribly cranky, negative and overwhelmed. This time of year makes me feel untethered. I want to create New Year’s intentions that work and that I can trust. No pie in the sky. Can you help me focus my intentions and goals!”
Here’s my response (and what I practice).
Resolutions don’t work because creating an intention or goal from what’s not wanted, “I don’t want to be overweight” states the negative and the negative begets the negative and more resistance. When we state the positive with intent like “I’m excited to learn how to treat my body with respect” we have a greater chance of committing, and patiently learning new behaviors or skills.
In my experience, I’ve found it helpful to study the passing year with an eye for all affirmative behaviors, moments, turning points, relationships, activities, and work that created positivity, happiness and forward momentum.
By reviewing 2018 week by week, month by month, and writing honest reflections, studies show we have 90% more chance of following our own best advice and wisdom.
The process takes around two hours. It’s incredibly thorough. Don’t over think it. Have fun. Be open to what you find. Get comfy with a cup of coffee or tea. Be prepared with at least 10 clean pages in a journal or notebook.
The process is simple and enlightening:
1. Title the first page: 2018. Draw a line down the middle of the page. Write Positive – Highlights on one side and Negative – Lowlights on the other.
2. Review your 2018 calendar. Scroll through each week and month. Write the Positive – Highlights – people, places, work, or activities and the Negative – Lowlights. Take stock of each week throughout the year. Be open to this assessment providing an instant – Aha! Yes! No!
3. On a new page, title it: “Do Not Do”. This is a tip I learned from author, Tim Ferris. Read over the negative-lowlights. What no longer serves? What must end, or be faced? Write a list of “Do Not Do’s.”
4. Now review your positive – highlights list. Note: who, what and where is best for consistent happiness, joy, and fulfillment.
5. On a new page, title it: “A MUST For Happiness”. Make a list of all the MUSTS. List all the people, places and actions that are a MUST! Schedule potential musts – dates/times – on the 2019 calendar as soon as possible.
5. On a new page, title it: “The Top 10 Things I’m Super Proud of Accomplishing in 2018”. List them and if in a groove, keep going until the energy of accomplishment and celebration is complete. Give full attention to all happy growth and development no matter what size or shape.
6. On a new page, write and complete this sentence:
What I’m taking into 2019 is:_________________________. (Example: What I’m taking into 2019 is a relentless belief in my capabilities and courage.)
What no longer serves is:__________________________.
(Example: What no longer serves is self-doubt.)
7. Now take closer inventory. Write a list: Friendships, family, finances, career, love, health, spirituality, beauty, sex, philanthropy, quality of life, alignment with Self/body/mind – consider areas that matter to you.
Rate them between a 1-10; 1 being the least, 10 being the best experience.
Write about why; uninhibited, honest, without judgment, and take responsibility. With this data and information, don’t should your self or beat yourself up. Just note what is.
How would you like it to be? Why?
What do you need to learn this year?
If you don’t make changes, what are the predictable outcomes you take responsibility for?
8. Imagine life a year from now. Pause. Close the eyes. See. Really try. Consider repeating these questions to your self out loud:
Who am I becoming?
What am I providing in my relationships?
Who do I want to be around?
How do I need to spend time?
What does my perfect day look like?
What conversations do I want to be in?
9. Now zoom into 2019. Choose 3 specific areas you need to focus on to have the positive results you desire. What do you choose to focus on and accomplish? Studies show the fewer things we choose the better.
What are the positive, potential outcomes?
What do you need to do on a regular basis to get excellent results?
What must you stop, let go of or face?
10. On a new page, title it: 3 Games to Play.
Makeup titles for the 3 games you’ll play this year, like:
“The year I adore my body.”
“The year I take my career to the next level.”
“The year of Yeehaw! And being outdoors!”
Relating to 2019 as a game gives permission to the kid inside to play, and explore a happy ending. The inner child loves to keep a game going because it’s entertaining fun, educational and authentically fulfilling. The game and story may change but continuing to be positive, and curious as the year unfolds are intentions to bet on.
Write: My intention this year is to__________________, ______________, and _____________. Yes!
As my friend Lu Ann Cahn says, “I dare you.”
Here’s to 2019 being the best yet!
Much love and light,