Setting Positive Intentions to Transition Into 2013
Over the past couple weeks, I have thankfully had more time on my hands. I have been using this time to stay home, be with family, reflect on the intentions I set for 2012, and acknowledge everything that happened and what I'm still working towards. One thing I know for sure is that if we don't take the time to reflect and set our road map for next year, we have no guidance and no way of knowing if we are on track with what we want with our lives. So I wanted to take a few moments to share a little bit of the process I use with you to use to develop your own map.
First, these ain't no “I want to lose 10 pounds” kind of resolutions. We don't want to put all our attention into what we don't want and focus on the negative. Instead, we are going to focus on more of what we do want. When we fill our lives with the things we do want, there is less room for the negative things we don't want. To do that, it helps to start with taking stock of what we do have. It helps to start with reviewing your intentions from last year, but if you didn't set any, you can review the year month by month with the key events and look for the blessing and the good things that came out of them.
Once you have reviewed your progress and acknowledged your gifts for the year, you are ready to clean your mental state to prepare for next year. Find some time where you can be alone and uninterrupted. Take out a blank sheet of unlined paper or you use the template I created for you and grab a pen or some colored markers or pencils. You will do this in two stages, first looking at the internal then the external. You will ask yourself some questions, then sit quietly, then jot down some intentions.
- First, ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be?” “What do I want to give to the world?” “What qualities do I want to grow and develop?” “What qualities do I want to have more of next year?”
- Now close your eyes and sit quietly for at least 5 minutes and watch your mind. You are not trying answer the questions directly, but just watch what comes up. Don't dwell on any one thought. Just note it and let it go.
- In the center of your page or in the center circle if you are using the worksheet, write some words that represents these qualities of you that you want to grow and develop next year. Some of these words may be things that showed up in your silence, some may be words that show up right now as you are writing. Both are fine.
- Next, you will look at more external things you want to call in and have more of in your life. Ask yourself, “What do I want more of in my life next year? “What will make life more enjoyable?” “What do I want to spend my time doing?” “Who do I want to spend my time with?” “What will make life more meaningful and fulfilling?”
- Again, close your eyes and sit quietly for at least 5 minutes and watch your mind. You are not trying answer the questions directly, but just watch what comes up. Don't dwell on any one thought. Just note it and let it go.
- Now, surrounding the center circle containing the things you put on your page earlier, write some words that represent what you want to have more of next year. Again, some of these words may be things that showed up in your silence, some may be words that show up right now as you are writing. Both are fine.
- The last step is to connect the dots. We can make movement toward our goals easiest when we take small steps. Too big, and our fear gets the best of us and we don't move at all. So connect the dots with 1-2 small actions you can (and will) take to move toward the things you want more of in your life. If you are not taking the step, it is too big. Make it smaller until you have something you actually can and will do.
- When you have it all complete, step back from your page and look at it from a distance. Does this represent what you want for next year? What will it be like when you have it? Is there anything missing? If so, feel free to go back and add a couple things, but don't get to carried away. Keep it simple.
This process can take days or it can take 30 minutes. For me, it is usually a combination of both. I start asking myself the questions days in advance and then sit and do the exercise above at one time. The more time and space you can give yourself to do this the better, but as always, find what works for you.
Once you are done, either put this paper in a place where you can see it daily like your bathroom mirror or refrigerator or you can put it in a special place where you will make a point to revisit it 2-4 times next year. At the very least, now you will have some direction to check back in with next year to see if you are on track with what you want in your life, or you are getting distracted and lost. When you check back in throughout the year, you can simply ask yourself, "Is what I'm doing getting me closer to these guideposts or farther away?" Redirect and adjust as necessary Chances are, just by taking the time to do this, it will be like setting your compass bearing and you will end up closer to your target than if you never defined your waypoints to start with.
This process helps you define your map so you know which direction you are heading, but remember, most worthwhile journeys have obstacles, detours, and changes of plans. Most significant changes take time, so it is important to keep your steps small enough to take and acknowledge the progress you are making.
If you use this process, I'd love to hear how it goes for you. Feel free to send me an email with any thoughts, comments, or feedback. Best wishes for an exciting and abundant new year! I hope it is the best year ever!
What do you think? Better yet, what do you feel? What do you experience? Let's continue the conversation! You can find me at www.innerlifeadventures.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to meet? Here's how.
Chuck Hancock, M.Ed, LPC is a National Certified Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Registered Psychotherapist in the state of CO. He has completed comprehensive training in the Hakomi Method of Experiential Psychotherapy, a mindfulness mind-body centered approach. Chuck guides individuals and groups in self-exploration providing them with insight and tools for change. He also incorporates nature as a therapy tool to help shift perspective and inspire new patterns.