If you’re anything like me, the week between Christmas and New Years is spent feeling the post holiday blues. I usually spend that last week of the year trying to hold on to the holiday vibe. I do a lot of reflecting, but I do not feel ready to start my intentions until well into January. This year, I decided to get really conscious about how I want to kick off my year and I want to share my process with you and invite you to tweak it and make it your own.
I firmly believe that intentions need to come from a high vibe place and in my coaching and teaching careers, I have learned that it is not always about having all the answers, but about asking the right questions.
Ultimately in framing the new year, there are two questions that I aim to answer to help focus my intentions:
- what energy do you want to welcome into the new year?
- And how do you want to feel?
What energy do you want to welcome into the new year?
I always come up with a phrase or word to frame my year. Last year my phrase was “Transform Ideas Into Impact” and the energy behind that phrase was really action packed. Therefore, many of the goals I set around this intention word were action packed and hustle based in my personal life, fitness goals, and business. This coming year, however, I am inviting in a softer energy. I am pregnant, which always fosters a little more self-care and slowness, and knowing that I will be welcoming a new life in 2018 requires some transition and ultimately, some grace. I am currently reading Emily Ley’s Grace Not Perfection, and it feels so timely as I set my intention phrase for 2018. My intentions for this year are to Appreciate Simplicity and Live Consciously—and already I can see and feel a difference from my 2017 vibes.
How do you want to feel?
Anything that we do in life is in direct relation to how we want to feel. I believe that in framing our year and intentions, we must first decide how we want to feel and what state we want to be in before we decide what we want to do. For example, if I want to feel more empowered and healthy, then my action steps may include eating better and committing to working out at least three times a week. Knowing that the feeling I aim to achieve is health and empowerment, it is much easier for me to create tasks and actions that will help me stay true to this feeling. Even if I change up my action steps, I know the ultimate goal is to feel healthy and empowered, so I will choose actions and reach for thoughts that cultivate this feeling.
Additionally, there are a few other parts to this big picture way of thinking in setting new year’s intentions that are worthy of mention.
- Gratitude and Release
- Gaining Clarity
- Talisman/ Reminders
- Tangible Action Steps
Gratitude and Release:
- A Letter to your former self: Write your former self a letter, expressing gratitude for all that you have accomplished in the last year. Be specific and as you are doing this, only come from a place of love and gratitude. If it is easier, you can use the “You” voice and write from the perspective of your higher or more centered self.
(Example: Dear Jen, I am so proud of you. You have accomplished so much in 2017 and really come so far in transforming your ideas into impact. Some specific highlights from the year include…)
- A Gratitude jar or journal: List all of the things that you are grateful for from the previous year. You can put them in journal form, or in a jar. This is best if done throughout the year, however, it is not too late to go back and reflect month by month, or on the year as a whole for all that you were grateful, happy, and excited about.
- Burning or Disposing Ritual for that which no longer serves you. There are parts of 2017 that you are saying good riddance to. Create some sort of ritual of clearing the energy before you set new intentions. What do you not want to carry with you into the new year? You can literally write those things down and burn them, try smudging (with sage) a space that holds the vibration of those negative things, or create some sort of other ritual for lovingly sending them off. And even if it is a hard pill to swallow, express gratitude for the role that they played in your life and journey–there is a lot of magic in the forgiveness process.
Everything in life starts with a vision. In fact, the life that you are living now is a direct result of a former vision for yourself that you have had. Envisioning may be my favorite part of the process. It is so much fun to think of and imagine the things that you want. A self-proclaimed envisioning junkie, I have done this in a variety of ways in my own life, and with clients and friends. I have hosted small groups and led workshops on this very topic.
Here are a few ideas to help you envision your best life in 2018:
- A letter to your future self discussing all that you have accomplished in the next year as if it is happening in the present tense. Don’t be afraid to dream big and the more specific that you are, the better.
(Example: Dear Jen, 2018 was such an amazing year because you had the courage to say yes to your dreams. You were able to take that trip to the mountains that you always dreamed of, and even better, you paid for it by turning your passion into a profit).
- A vision board: This may be the most common, but I usually do it with a little twist.For those of you that don’t know a vision board contains photos of things that you want in your life. Go through old magazines and cut out anything that resonates with you. The process itself is really fun and also helps you gain clarity. I have done vision boarding a lot, but in recent years, I limit myself to an 8 x 10 document sized frame to hold my vision so that way it is more focused and forces me to prioritize that which I really want and gives me a tangible, manageable size object to place in my line of vision daily. Another hack on the vision boarding process is to make a virtual vision board using Pinterest.
- An Intention Box: Take any box, it can be an old shoe box or hat box, or one of those more fun and creative boxes you can get at Target or Michaels and fill it up with words or phrases of the things that you want. This method is like a set it and forget it, so it is not in your everyday line of vision, like a vision board. However, every once in a while, go back to your box and take out that which has already come to fruition, add and revise your intentions and goals.
Use the questions that I discuss earlier and do a stream of consciousness writing of the first things that come to mind when you ask yourself those questions. See what comes up for you and highlight the most important statements. You can also make a counter argument and use all of the “failures” of the previous year to help you realize how you don’t want to feel, and then use that as a springboard to get clarity on how you do want to feel. (Example: I felt horrible and beat myself up a lot when I made a bad business deal and lost hundreds of dollars. I realize that I want to feel successful, wealthy, and confident in my business and life).
Talisman and Reminders:
Because we are human beings, and by nature, fallible, there will be times that we will fall into old habits and patterns and need redirection. It is important to create rituals and reminders that will help us stay true to our big picture intentions. I use essential oil rollers and stones and crystals as tangible and spiritual reminders of the energy that I want to feel. I also have other talisman that I wear on a given day to keep me centered. For example, I have OM earrings, a bracelet that says Unexpected Miracles, another that says Follow Your Bliss, and another that says New Beginnings. Additionally I use affirmations and redirection words as a way to ground into my beliefs and shift energy when needed.
Tangible Action Steps:
Once you have laid the groundwork for big picture thinking and getting into the vibration of how you want to feel, now you can do the final step of making that to-do list or action steps that will help you get to where you want to go, in the areas that you have identified as important. Remember that these action steps were born from the place of clarity and the high vibration of the intention of what you want, so they reflect priorities in your life. Have enough grace with yourself that even if you change the method or action step, the intention and big picture thinking is most important.