December 13th! Already? Wasn’t just yesterday the last day of summer vacation? As the final days of the year are upon us, let’s consider how to end this year well and begin the next year with good intention.
Looking back on 2010, what were your greatest successes, breakthroughs, accomplishments?
We can use our wins to deepen our awareness and understanding of ourselves and of what we want more of in our lives. Consider these questions:
1. What did I learn?
2. What did I do / experience that surprised me?
3. What am I learning about my strengths? My limitations?
4. What do I want to acknowledge or recognize about myself?
For example, one of my accomplishments this year was finishing an Olympic-distance triathlon. This experience taught me a lot about myself. I learned that I can achieve anything I set out to do; and it will require my commitment, skills, and an informed process/approach. I am surprised at how much I enjoy competition and at how competitive I can be. I discovered that I enjoy swimming a long distance. The focus on my breath and breathing feels meditative and has transference to other areas of my life, such as handling stressful work situations or parenting moments, and helping me fall asleep at night. I want to acknowledge my strength (physically as well as mentally) and my ability to develop and execute a plan for achieving my goals.
I can use this experience and it’s lessons to notice what I do well and what comes naturally to me, what brings me joy or a sense of fulfillment, what I would like to create more of for myself in 2011. The questions and tools below will help me to solidify some specifics.
Beginning with Intention
What will 2011 be like for you? You do get to choose what it will be like, you know. That may sound crazy, but think about it. While we cannot know all the circumstances or scenarios we will find ourselves in during 2011, we can decide who we want to be in our life’s circumstances. For example, I may want to be a person who is compassionate or empathetic. I can choose to begin a practice of being compassionate, building that muscle day-by-day, getting stronger and better at practicing compassion in any and all circumstances.
Here are three super simple, yet powerful tools for designing the 2011 that you most want:
1) Affirmative Mantra. Develop a short mantra or affirmation that you’ll repeat to yourself daily. Your mantra is focused on what you want more of in your life (i.e.: compassion). For example, you might begin each day by saying “I choose compassion today” or “I am compassionate.” You may repeat your mantra to yourself every hour, or at your lunch break, etc. We get more of what we focus our attention on; so be intentional about where you focus your attention!
2) 2011 Theme. Choose a theme of JOY or ACCEPTANCE or SELF-CARE or whatever feels like a priority for you to have in your life right now. Let your theme become a measuring stick or scale you use to assess decisions, choices, activities. How will this activity honor / dishonor my theme of self-care? How will choosing X lead to more joy in my life OR lead me away from more joy in my life?
3) Vision. Create a vision for yourself for 2011. Not a written vision ‘statement’, but more of a metaphorical description of what you want to create in your life this year. Your vision might be a drawing, photograph, song, poem, collage, or something else.
Once you have clear intentions about what you will create for yourself in 2011, it’s time to set goals and define action steps to move you towards your intentions. This post is getting pretty long, so I’ll save the topic of goal-setting for my next post. Coming very soon!