Start With Where You Are

It is the eve of a new year — a time to reflect on what has passed and to set our intentions for the year ahead.

Often our resolutions are about doing something different from before, whether losing weight, changing jobs, or finally getting around to writing that book you’re just sure will be a best-seller. Moreover, if we’re really honest with ourselves, the best of our intentions often fall short of the promise of what’s possible and we end up right back where we started, perhaps feeling disappointed and defeated by the lack of change in our lives.

But what if instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water we made a choice to build upon what is already there? What if instead of spending our time dreaming of something altogether new, we focused our energy on cherishing what is, while reflecting on ways to expand and enrich the present(s) in our lives?

The best resolutions are those that honor and reflect our authentic selves.

Need to lose weight or lower your cholesterol? Start by loving your body as it is and making a mindful choice to care for it through healthy eating and exercise. Want to change jobs? Take an inventory of your current skills and environment and explore ways you might be find fulfillment by adding value where you already are. Still dreaming of writing that best-seller? Start by taking baby steps…cultivating a daily writing practice or joining a community of writers who share your passion.

Change may be difficult, but growth begins with where you are.

As you contemplate ringing in 2017, I hope you’ll consider joining me in making it the best year yet, remembering that the grass is greenest — not in some fantasy or someone else’s back yard, but where we choose to water and nurture it.

Happy New Year!

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Postscript: Speaking of resolutions, one of my intentions in 2016 was to finally compile some of the best of my insights with original artwork and publish as an inspirational quote book. In March 2017, my new book, Walking the Heart Path, will be released and available for purchase. Click here to learn more, reserve your copy, and read what others are already saying.

 

‘Out to Life’

It’s that time of year when many of us take a time out to do our own post-mortem on the year behind, while drafting our resolutions for the year to come — those areas and elements of our life that we want to expand, enrich, shed or improve upon. And while statistics suggest that few of us actually stick with our resolutions, I think the act of drafting and writing them down is still a worthwhile endeavor — creating, in essence, our own accountability plan for living our best year yet.

Part of my own plan includes being more intentional with my writing — shifting from insight to action, and from random reflection to a more mindful way of sharing my own wisdom and learning with the world. It also includes prioritizing immediate needs and learning to say ‘no’ to some indulgences, so that I can say ‘yes’ to those people and purpose-driven projects that matter most.

With that in mind, I’m taking a break from blogging on this site — allowing myself to more fully engage in life itself and all that it holds in store. Until we meet again, I wish you a very happy new year — one filled with rich opportunities for learning and growth, and an abundance of peace, love, laughter and joy!

The Best of Intentions

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)

It’s that time of year again — the time when we reflectively pause on the year past in anticipation of the year to come.

If you’re like many people, every January you start the year with the best of intentions. Intentions to progress beyond the status quo; to dream, grow, stretch, and achieve. Perhaps you intend to lose weight, get in shape, or finally write that book. Maybe your intention is to find love or to become more loving towards others. In our current economy, past intentions of finding your dream job may have shifted to the simplified version of finding a job.

Beyond simply another goal-setting exercise, resolutions enable us to (re)frame, (re)direct, and resolve to move us closer to our dreams. Energetically, setting an intention creates movement, shifting our mindset from the complacent comfort of the familiar to the challenge of new growth.

But sometimes even the best of intentions can fall by the wayside. Perhaps midstream our priorities shift, giving way to new pathways that call us in a different direction. Perhaps there is more weed pulling or soil tilling to do before the garden of our life is ready for new plantings. Sometimes our intentions are tied to people and events outside of our control, and what starts off as the best of intentions, ultimately gives way to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go our way.

So what are we to do? How do we navigate ever-changing tides or commit to goals that may ultimately fall outside of our control? What steps can we take to reach the places we are trying to go?

In an interview for the Global Girls Project on the power of vision in leadership and empowerment, Jesse Stoner, co-author with Ken Blanchard of the international bestseller, Full Steam Ahead: Unleashing the Power of Vision in Your Life, suggests “digging down beneath intentions to what’s fundamentally connected to who you are, because in the end, that’s all you really have any control over.” She suggests tuning into your core values and purpose as the means for achieving the larger vision for your life.

Need to lose weight or get in shape? Want to write that book? Looking for love or the perfect job? Consider the underlying values you are trying to achieve. Perhaps your resolution for weight loss and fitness is tied to a core value of health and wellness, or your desire to write a book is aligned with creative expression. A desire for relationship reflects our basic human need to love and be loved, while the notion of a ‘dream’ job is usually tied to a larger sense of purpose in our lives.

When we dig deeper; when we consider the underlying ‘why’ behind our resolutions, it enables and empowers us to move from a mindset of having the best of intentions to pursuing a larger vision for our lives.

I’m curious…

Do you set New Year’s resolutions, and if so, have you ever considered the underlying values driving your individual goals? How many of your resolutions are defined by events, people and/or circumstances outside of your control? Do your resolutions reflect a larger vision for your life? What pro-active steps can you take to shift from merely setting an intention to actualizing your dreams?