We often talk about stepping into the new year, walking into it, etc. Most of us march along with the calendar, marking off the days without much thought to it once the confetti has been swept off the floor. What I’d like to challenge you to do is to take that journey – with intention. And, of course, I can show you how.
First, reflect on the past year. I mean really sit down and think about what you did. Get out a piece of paper and a pen, and write these things down. Did you travel to a life-long destination? Did you write that book? Incorporate regular fitness into your life? Forgive yourself for something? Go to more museums? Start taking French lessons? Alphabetize your wine rack? Whatever it was, write it down.
The reason is to take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. Just “be” with them for a minute and be grateful for them. We tend to forget how much we’ve done in our lives. I’m betting you come up with a pretty long list.
But even if you don’t, it’s okay. If you feel you whiled the year away without a sense of direction and hence without much to show for it, then accept responsibility for that [there’s that core value again], and resolve to change it from this point on.
Once you’ve done that, create your intentions for 2012. This involves physically writing things down, too. Make an actual list of what your goals for the year are. What are your intentions? There are a few techniques you can use.
You can divide them into categories: personal, career/business, love life, etc. You could do it chronologically if you have a sense of what that might be. Maybe your intention requires that; maybe it’s just how you think. It’s fine. Or you could just create a list that has no particular hierarchy, if that’s going to work for you.
I cannot stress enough how important it is that you write these down, and that you be specific with it. There is great power in doing this. Trust me.
Then, as part of that list, write down the HOW behind each intention. This is critical! Otherwise, it’s a half-thought, an elusive goal that you’ll have too much difficulty manifesting. You’ll give up. For example, if you write down “Lose 25 pounds” then also write down how you intend to do that. See a nutritionist? Hire a trainer? Stop drinking on weeknights? Whatever you know will work. Don’t put “hire a trainer” if you don’t have the money to pay for one, or if you know that you hate working out with a trainer. The how must be feasible.
It’s also critical to know the WHY behind each intention on the list. If you don’t articulate for yourself why you’re working towards what you’re working towards, you’ll feel scattered, unfocused, and unmotivated. It won’t work. You can either write this or not [I recommend you do], but you should definitely know it. Why do you want to lose 25 pounds? To feel better? Because your doctor said you needed to? To fit into some expensive jeans you bought?
What you have at the end of this exercise is something you’ve created for yourself: a vision. An intent for the year. And a plan to carry it out. To inspire you even further, try putting together a vision board. This is just a collection of visual cues that portray whatever it is you want to create – either literally or abstractly. And it doesn’t have to be big. Collect pictures that reflect your intentions, and you should feel free to get creative with it. Don’t go for the materialistic stuff necessarily; go for the stuff you feel an emotional connection with. If you’re thinking about a sports car, you could put a picture of one on your vision board, but if you know the WHY behind it – say, because you want a stronger sense of freedom in your life – then maybe the better visual is a wide, vast expanse of Southwestern desert stretching out to the horizon. I think you get the idea.
With your 2012 intentions in place, things will start showing up for you because you will have the means to hold them close to you in a concrete way. The most exciting part comes in December of 2012 when you take out your list [the one you’re going to make in the next month or so] and look at it. You will be positively amazed at how many things became reality for you. Even things you will have forgotten you put on the list to begin with.
Now go grab a pen and a notepad and get busy.