On resolutions, intentions and setting the tone of the new year
It’s 2014. Happy new year! Are you excited? Are you going into the year by betting on yourself and seeing yourself as a winner?
I have two questions for you:
1. What are your goals and your intentions this year?
2. What did you let go of last year so it doesn’t drag you in the new year?
It’s easy to mark endings in life. The challenge is to recognize and celebrate the beginnings. A new year is a beginning. Mark this beginning on your calendar, on your journal, and on your pure amazing heart. Choose to erase your past mistakes and start this year on a clean slate.
I don’t know if you make resolutions but I used to be very good at them. I would make long lists of what I want to accomplish in the new year and hastily write it down in a brand new journal before midnight stroke on Dec 31st.
Funny enough, I would always start the year with so much pressure to accomplish everything in the first month that it would be impossible to go through with all my self-made promises for any length of time.
This is not to say that resolutions are bad. They can be wonderful! And it’s not to say that you should not push yourself. You should always seek hills and mountains and leave the flat roads alone. The excitement is in the ascent and facing a new challenge every day as long as your heart is in it.
When your heart is in it, you can call it anything and it works. Call it your top 10 resolutions. Call it your top goals. Your one intention. Your inspiration. Your focus. Your word of the year. Just let it come from your heart and resonate with your deepest core values.
This begs the question: How well do you know yourself? Do you know what brings you alive? What makes you tick? What your life is about? Why you are here and what gifts you can offer your world?
If not, go discover that first.
This year, I am using a radical approach just to see what happens. Instead of a long list of goals and two pages of resolutions, I have one simple constant intention: To Be Happy.
And if you know me at all, you’d know that this is really a radical approach. I used to treat happiness as an aftermath, the result of doing x, y and z, the thing that happens after you do all the other stuff you need to do.
Sure, I wanted to be reasonably content during the process of said x, y and z, but happiness, joy and fulfillment, or that high on life feeling, well that had to be reserved for when I had accomplished the goals and climbed the mountains and fulfilled all the dreams.
The problem is that I had it backwards. You probably do too.
It’s possible to be happy first, then go conquer the world, and this way, it works out better in case – just in case – today is the only time we have on this sweet earth.
I had a dream the other night where I was having a conversation with a terminally ill man. He was younger than me, handsome and vibrant, with only 3 months left to live. I felt so sorry for him. When I expressed this, his reaction was, “Don’t worry about me! For all you know, you have less time than me, lady! So go on, start acting like you have 3 months!” What a forward reply! What a shocking presumption! Here I was showing him compassion and he was being such a smart-aleck.
Except there is an annoying truth in what he said. I stood there stunned and speechless, with nothing to say in return except a nod of agreement.
How on earth would I know how long I have?
Morbid thought? I now find it to be a life-affirming and grounding thought instead. Maybe it is all the perspective we need to really do seize the day, pursue the dream, start the business and stop giving our excuses power over us.
So yes, my intention for the new year is simple and clear: to be happy. Now. Today. In the middle of a project, in the throes of a problem, in the pending of a solution, in the waiting for the answer. I want to be happy just as happy when I hear or see how things turn out as I am in the very process of waiting.
How to put happiness before everything else.
To be happy in the now. In this moment. The one that just passed us by. And the next one and every one after.
Here’s what happens when you are happy first. You begin to feel good about yourself. You begin to get confident about who you are.
When you feel good about yourself, the minutia of life’s problems has less power over you. Your mind clears up. The fog lifts and you can think clearly. When you think clearly, you make progress on your goals and projects and all your problems.
When you are happy first, you do more of what you love, so you can continue the amazing cycle of happiness.
Be happy first, then …
… get the raise or promotion at work.
… start writing your book.
… plan the trip to Europe and go.
… get the puppy, the kitten or have kids.
… pay off your debt.
… get healthy and lose weight.
… do your yoga.
… enjoy your friends.
… go to the beach.
… take that dance class.
… repair your relationships.
… solve your challenges.
… become the person you wish to meet and fall in love with.
Be happy first. Start with giving up complaining, loving who you are, getting real with yourself, taking life into your own lovely little hands, and keeping your power instead of giving it away to every fleeting emotion or negative thought that comes along.
Keep your happiness close and sacred. Stop exchanging present happiness for a future promise of one.
Be Happy First. It sounds simple. Maybe even too simple. Well, then I challenge you to do it with me. We’ll take this shortcut path to happiness together.
What do you think? Share your brilliant thoughts with me in the comments, tell me what you think of my 2014 intention, and tell me your own intentions.