SETTING YOUR INTENTION FOR THE NEW YEAR
I've never been one for setting a specific New Year's resolution, like running a marathon or completing 10 items on a bucket list. It's never worked out quite like that in my life. Halfway through the year, I'm likely to feel guilty for not attaining the entirety of the goal rather than to be appreciative for what I've achieved. Instead, I adopted a different tradition.
For the past few years, I started to set a word, a focus, for the upcoming year. I stumbled upon the idea before I became serious about my practice, but in yoga we think of it as intention setting.
I think of setting intentions as steering a ship — finding the North Star that will guide your days and decisions. It's not something I necessarily think of everyday (there are daily or seasonal intentions, too), but I would touch base with it regularly to see where I felt I was in reference to the beginning of the year. I'll use my past year as an example of how I go through the process of intention setting.
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT
At the beginning of 2016, I recognized lots of things were disjointed in my life. I was saying yes to too many projects, and I recognized that some just didn't fit my goals. These projects and decisions were all things I wanted to do, but the result of saying yes too many times was a crowded schedule and stressed-out days.
ASK YOURSELF: HOW DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE?
So I asked myself how did I want to change for the upcoming year? Things that I know about me are: I love creating things (art, knitting, festivals, dance parties, events), I get excited about collaborations, and I jump at opportunities before I look at my schedule.
I would set myself up for more obligations than I could reasonably handle, and would volunteer too much of my time. These are things that I truly love doing, but it is of no benefit to anyone if I feel stressed, or if I decide I have to back out.
SET YOUR INTENTION FOR 2017
I didn't know everything that the year would bring, but I knew I had some hard decisions to make. I knew I needed to let go of a few things, some minor (like volunteering for too much of my time), and others major (like jumping off my full-time gig). So, for 2016, I used the word truthfulness.
It's a word that would guide me when I came to these moments. How could I be more truthful with others? How can I be more truthful with my decisions?
It started with taking a long hard look at the activities that make up my life. I looked at my days and pondered about how I wanted them to change. I made a promise to myself that when thinking about new opportunities or current obligations that I'd give them more thought before agreeing to follow through.
HOLD THE WORD CLOSE
When I found myself at a crossroads, I tapped back to the word, and remembered what I wanted to see in my life this year. Was I being truthful to where I wanted to be? If not, I readjusted my path.
It sounds simple, but even with everything that's gone on in the world in 2016, I'm still pointed toward my North Star. Though it's only one word, it'll help recall the way you felt when you made that promise to yourself.
Cheers to a bright new year.
IMAGE: BRIGITTE TOHM // UNSPLASH