I love setting intentions. I dedicate my yoga classes, the seasons, meditation, a glass of wine shared with friends, and especially each New Year. The way I like to do this is to pick one word for the year. This word may represent something I’m curious to know more about, or pay more attention to, or embody more fully.
This year to ring in the New Year I participated in an evening of chanting, stillness, and meditation at our local yoga center. For an example, we spent the last hour before midnight in a “sea” of ohms. I was more buzzed from this evening than any other wild New Year’s Eve I’ve spent. And, the feeling has not worn off yet.
Half way into the night we sat in a circle and wrote down 3 intentions for ourselves on slips of white paper. Then we went around the circle and gave them away to whomever we were guided to. The idea being that if we give what we want away it will come back to us. I received the following two words: laugh and practice.
I didn’t think much about them at first; they weren’t MY words (or were they?). Over the next two days the words kept playing in my head, especially PRACTICE. And, there it was! My word of 2015.
2014 was a wild ride for me: full of transition, transformation, deep healing and learning, and meeting it all with an open heart.
As I continued to reflect I became aware that 2015 would be my year of wrapping up some of the big changes (selling our home, moving for the third time in 3 years, separation and divorce) as well as integrating all that I learned and experienced over the past year (starting a new business and studying energy medicine).
And a big part of the integration is putting the learning into PRACTICE in my daily life.
Whether you call them resolutions, intentions, or goals for your new year, here are 5 helpful reminders for beginning and sticking with any new PRACTICE or healthy habit.
1. Self-love & Acceptance :
It’s so important before we attempt to change our habits or introduce new daily practices that we come from a place of love and acceptance about where we currently are. Harsh self-judgement about our now self will only impede our taking steps in the direction of where we want to be.
Shower yourself with positive affirmations and reminders. Put sticky notes up around the house. Take deep, nourishing breaths. Breathe in, “receive” your intention or affirmation, breathe out, “let go” of negative thoughts and self-doubt.
2. Small steps :
One of the greatest tools I learned in my coaching training to move through the common blocks (resistance/fear/overwhelm/perfectionism) that come up when we are beginning something new, challenging our status quo, or moving toward a big goal is to break it down into small/doable steps.
If the steps feel fun and easy to you, there is more of a chance that you will show up to them and feel successful. The feeling of small successes propels you forward toward your goal. There is more to it than this but let’s keep it simple!
For example: I want to start a daily morning meditation and journaling practice. My first step is to establish an earlier bedtime so that I am more likely to get to my early morning practice. A small step to get to bed earlier is to create a bedtime ritual to look forward to each night. For me this is, Tulsi sleepy time tea, a good book, and a spritz of lavender essential oil spray. I’m six nights in so far and feeling ready to approach the early morning wake up now.
3. Make it holistic :
This is where the other slip of paper came in for me. LAUGH. A great reminder that to stick with any focused goal or intention setting it is imperative to bring in balance. Lighten up and enjoy along the way.
Also, check in with yourself, on why you chose the goal or resolution in the first place. How does it nourish, expand, strengthen, or love you? Going back to the self-love and acceptance (step 1), ask yourself, does this intention or practice come from a place of lack or unworthiness or love and worthiness? How else can you support yourself while working on your new habit? (for instance: nutrition, exercise, therapy, coaching, acupuncture, play, dance, music, art)
4. Accountability :
I will admit this is not one of my favorite words. Maybe because it makes me think of accounting?!
However, having a buddy that holds you accountable to your intentions can really inspire you and give you the extra fuel you need to keep on the road and in the direction of your beautiful goals. It’s also a great way to deepen or start a friendship.
My relationship with my gratitude partner last year was amazing. We were randomly assigned to each other and it turned out to be such a rewarding relationship. I am planning to ask a new acquaintance to be my yoga buddy (for developing a consistent home PRACTICE–there it is again). It can be so helpful to have someone else to show up for when you are struggling to continue showing up for yourself. Plus, it’s just more fun (step 3).
5. Celebrating small successes along the way :
This is my favorite part and I hope you will include it on your path as well. Taking the time to pause and celebrate where you are today is another great way to keep your practice going. Too often we get so focused on the bigger goal or change we want to make that we don’t see how far we have actually come. When you accomplish one of those small steps (step 2) pause to acknowledge your sweet success. Some ideas could include: a bite of your favorite dark chocolate, a yoga class, a luxurious bath, a walk in nature or to your favorite coffee shop, or a long phone date with your best friend.
Throughout this year I will be sharing my own experiences using these 5 steps while experiencing, playing, and discovering more about my word of the year: PRACTICE. There’s that accountability (step 4) again!
Wishing you healthful habits, strengthening practices or whatever your heart & soul desires in 2015!
And, if you are interested in a safe space to experience more awareness, connection, creativity, and joy in your life, you can find more information about working with me on this website or contact me directly.