It’s that time of the year again in which lengthy lists of New Year’s resolutions are scribbled in haste. Vowing for changes to be made, mistakes from the prior year not to be repeated. I personally am an opponent of these traditional, goal-oriented lists. Vowing to abide by a strict set of rules, created in the pursuit of perfection, is a sure fire way to set yourself up for disappointment and failure.
Rather, this is the perfect time to slow down and collect your thoughts, reflect on accomplishments and blessings, and set your intention for the new year with a clear head and an open heart.
Here are some of my suggestions for intention setting in a time of renewed optimism:
1) Be True to Yourself. Make sure your vision of the future is an actual reflection of YOUR highest aspirations. Don’t strive to replicate the life of someone else. You can be certain that a month or two after purchasing the luxury car your co-worker owns, or replicating the dream trip of a friend, you will have come no closer to finding the authenticity within yourself. Not a single one of us share the exact same dreams, hopes and fears. Your unique life experiences are what set you apart.
2) Seek to Understand the Purpose Behind your Goals. Rather than a vague resolution of hitting the gym four times a week, go deeper and seek to understand the motivation. Is it overall good health you’re after, the pursuit of a physical ideal, or are you simply looking to bring strength into your life? Whatever it may be, understanding why you are carrying out the actions towards this goal will not only ensure that you are less likely to give up, but will also enable you to uncover other ways to support and achieve the same purpose. When you find that you are striving for an overall strength of body, you will soon realize that building strength of the mind is just as important. A daily meditation practice may ultimately prove to be of more use than a 5am workout.
3) Don’t Forget to Count your Blessings. With the focus of the New Year on change and the future, it is quite easy to lose sight of all that you have accomplished and been blessed with over the years past. Now is the perfect time to honor yourself and acknowledge the steps you have made towards a brighter tomorrow. These do not need to necessarily even be external accomplishments. Even small acts of letting go can be a true blessing. Becoming aware of the personal blocks you have released over the year, whether in the form of anger, resentment, envy, or fear; these are all tremendous milestones down the path to happiness. And certainly do not forget to take pride in the relationships you nurtured and strengthened over the course of the year. After all, these are our greatest blessing of all.