5 New Year’s Ideas That Inspired and Energized Me to Reflect and Create Change—Might They Work for You?

jar-with-notesThis is the first year I wasn’t quite sure how to approach my 2013. I thought about doing a new vision board. Then I thought I’d write out my goals like every year, set accountability, and should I continue to “push” to make them happen? Is that waht maybe led me to my burnout last year? Later, I wondered if I should look at what didn’t work in 2012, and use that information to re-set my direction for 2013. and then it came to me – celebration!

5 New Ways to Approach New Year’s Resolutions

All these steps could prove useful, but I decided to take a new overall approach. Here’s what I ended up doing, and I’m sharing it to see if it might inspire you to tackle New Year’s Resolutions in a new way. I found it much more energizing than my usual methods!

1. “Acknowledge Your Accomplishments” Jar for 2013

Here’s a fun idea. Get a jar you can keep around all year long. Decorate it if you like. Then, every time you accomplish something or experience a “win,” or a “shift” write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.

At the beginning of every new year, we tend to be so focused on what we need to get done—what we need to change, gain, or lose—that we can become driven by lack and fear. This year, I’m determined to change my focus to what I have and what I feel good about. It’s all going into my jar. Then, when December rolls around, I’m going to gather some friends (that perhaps have their own jars) and we’re all going to read about our accomplishments and wins for the year.

This kind of exercise helps us keep our energies in a state of celebration, focused on what we did get done. After all, whatever energy we generate is what comes back to us, so I’m planning to create a lot of feel-good vibes!

2. Reflect on 2012 and Celebrate It!

If you don’t have an accomplishments jar, this can help get you into a positive state of mind for the new year. (I didn’t do a jar for 2012, so I used this step as well.)

Take an hour or two and think back on last year’s progress. What did you do that took courage or hard work? Did you take your business to the next level? Leave that unhealthy relationship? Dedicate yourself to exercising at least three times a week and keep that commitment? Give up gluten, sugar, or another unhealthy food or habit? Start volunteering more often? Stay true to yourself when you were feeling pressured? Take a risk that turned out well? It helped me to look back at my calendar and see what I did week in and week out.

What is it that you did in 2012 that you ought to celebrate? Write it all down, then go down the list and acknowledge your courage, commitment, time and energy. After all, who’s going to give you that pat on the back if you don’t give it to yourself? Its a mini celebration ritual we all ought to do at the end of every year.

Celebration is so important. Read more on my post about celebrating accomplishments.

3. Vision Board

I decided to go ahead and do this one, too—mainly because it’s so fun to take an afternoon to do it! I’ve completed one every couple of years and it’s amazing to look back and see what I’ve accomplished. (If you’re not sure how to make one, check out Christine Kane’s post.)

I found one from eight years ago, for example, that said I wanted to be an author and develop my own skincare line and by the grace of God, here I am! It gives me a really warm feeling to realize that I’ve completed some of the big goals that were really important to me. I sure got here in a different way that I had in mind but I got here.  Its part of learning to set my intentions and leave the details up to God.

Before doing a vision board, I like to get clear on what I want to change in each area of my life. (Work, health, spiritual, prosperity, relationships, etc.) I take an hour or two and go through each area and dream big about what I want to see happen in my life. At this stage, how I’m going to make these things happen doesn’t matter. All that matters is the vision, getting into the details and feeling of what it would be like to have it.

Once you’re clear about what you want, take that clarity and transform it into a beautiful vision board. Simply cut out images, words, and phrases that inspire you and match your vision. It’s so much fun to do with friends or family, but also a great self-care exercise to do alone. When you’re finished, put the completed board in a place where you can see it daily.

4. Set Your Focus or Intentions for the Year

Last year, my focus was on my health. I knew I was on stress overload and that my excessive work hours were burning me out. I was also grieving and healing from my marriage separation.

Accomplishing my health goals involved a lot of internal work, finding a new doctor I could feel confident in, and discovering what my body needed. (You can read on my post about the 10 Most Impactful Changes I’ve Made in My Health and In My Life in 2012.)

From the healing aspect, this also meant that I had to learn to be my own best friend, start practicing more self care, and create an environment that was conducive to healing and nurturing. I worked with some amazing coaches in the area of self love like Christine Arylo, Ariana Prichett, and Amy Ahlers. I did some transformational work with a couple of other amazing women, too, and traveled to Morocco with a dear soul sister, Michelle Witherby, to heal my burnout and rekindle the aliveness that I needed after grieving.

Because I had set that intention to take care of my health, I was pulled to things that matched that intention.

What are your intentions for this year? Mine are about surrender and trusting so I can relax more into life and to take my business to the next level.

5. Create a Ritual That Supports, Grounds, and Connects You

In my experience, change and transformation happen when we make small, consistent changes on a daily basis. Therefore, making small changes in our routines can make a big difference in our lives.

Your new schedule doesn’t have to be perfect, but it helps to set a commitment to do new things that take you in the direction you want to go as often as you can. Here is an example of what your ritual system might involve:

  • Keep a daily gratitude journal. I’ve already started this, but I intend to continue through 2013. Every morning, I spend about 3-5 minutes filling one page of my notebook with the things that I’m grateful for that day. When I finish and review my list, I thank the universe for each thing. It gives me an instant shift into a more positive state. Besides, did you know that people who keep gratitude journals are healthier, more optimistic, and more likely to make progress toward achieving their goals?Research proves it!
  • Set an intent for each day. Every morning, make a point to set an intention for the day. I find that the days I do this go much better than the days when I forget. Just going about my day in a haphazard way tends to increase my stress and lower my sense of accomplishment. Setting an intention and aligning your tasks around that intention gets you more in the flow of your day as opposed to the “pushing, stressed out energy” that I’ve been in many times! I find that my intentions are usually to trust and leave the details up to God, to surrender, or to find a way to be of service.
  • Prayer and meditation. No matter your own personal beliefs, prayer can be a powerful way to process your emotions and return to a peaceful center of being. Meditation can do the same thing. It’s all about taking some time to quiet your mind and let all the stress and concerns float away. Just focusing your thoughts on your breath, on a candle, or on a greater power can help you feel more positive in a matter of ten minutes.
  • Do one act of service daily, no matter what. Instead of waiting for those times when I can do big things for others, this year I’m going to concentrate more on smaller daily acts. Little notes, special offers, a sincere compliment, an unexpected phone call, or being fully present to listen to a friend. We all intend to do these things, but I find they often slip our minds if we did not set the intention or making a concentrated effort.
  • Tune into what you did well today. At night, I like to write a list of acknowledgements that includes all the positive attitude shifts, small steps of progress, and big things I accomplished. Maybe I opened a new account, kept my commitment to yoga, or helped my neighbor. Reminding myself of these little things keeps me in a state of abundance and celebration, ending my day on the perfect positive note.

I would love to hear how you intend start off your year, and your intentions for 2013!

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