New Year's is probably one of my favorite times of the year – because there is nothing I love more than new beginnings. There is so much promise and potential with each passing year. But with that comes a smidge of fear and potential for (bum-bum-bum) FAILURE. If you hate New Year’s resolutions it might be because it’s too mainstream and trite to set impossible goals on January 1. I’m with you and would agree except that I’ll take any occasion to get my dreamy goal-setting on. Or you may dread New Years because every year you make a new resolution and lose momentum after a few weeks – only to make you feel guilty and worse than if you had just kept coasting along as-is.
So today I’d like to invite you to try a new approach to setting your New Year’s resolutions. I want you to grab two sheets of paper. On one, draw a line down the middle – on the left side write down “2015 / Reflect”. On the right side write down “2016 / Dream”.
STEP 1: Reflect.
Get really honest here. Take the time to be real with yourself about regrets or where you could’ve improved. But on the flip-side this is no place to be humble. You can brag on yourself about all the things you did right and use this space to give yourself a big pat on the back.
• What went right in 2015?
• What would you do differently?
• What was the biggest lesson you learned?
• What did you create?
• If you could sum up 2015 in just a few words what would they be? And why?
STEP 2: Dream.
Get dreamy here. This is going to look suspiciously like traditional New Year's resolution goal setting here. But you’re not married to anything you write down. In fact, spoiler alert: you’re going to destroy this piece of paper after you’re done using it to brainstorm.
• What goals would you like to accomplish in 2016?
• What’s the biggest risk you could take?
• If you could travel to one place where would you go?
• What does your ideal day look like?
STEP 3: Burn.
Take your 2015 / 2016 Reflect & Dream sheet of paper and cut it in half. Burn the 2015 reflection. You got it down on paper – you honored your past and got dreamy about the future. But guess what? You don’t live in the past anymore. Now take your 2016 dreams and set fire to those too. I know it sounds a bit woo, but I believe some magic happens when you quite literally put fire to your dreams.
STEP 4: Feel.
Now bust out your second sheet of paper and label it “FEEL”.
• Start a brain dump, mind-map, or organized list of things you would like to feel in 2016. Write down as much or as little as you’d like. If you’re like me you’ll start listing things you want to do – that’s okay. Just ask yourself “How do I imagine it will make me feel when I meditate / exercise / write…?” – those feelings words are what you’re going for.
• Once you’ve had a good brainstorm circle, highlight, or somehow narrow in on three to five words that really resonate with how you’d like to feel.
• If you need more help determining your core desired feelings, or simply want to dig deeper and more thoroughly into this, I highly recommend Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. She’s revolutionized the way I look at goal setting and for that I am forever grateful.
Ta-da! These “feeling” words aren’t your resolutions but rather your intentions for the new year. These feelings will dictate every decision you make moving forward. It’s not about setting goals but letting the way you want to feel drive the actions you take.
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