For the past 4 or 5 years, I’ve had a ritual to honor the progress I made in the last twelve months and to set clear intentions for the coming twelve. It’s amazing how powerful this exercise has been and every year when I look over the goals and dreams I had set for myself, I’m blown away when I realize how many of them came true! There’s something to be said about putting pen to paper and speaking your dreams out loud. January 1st is a powerful time to transform and renew ourselves. There is so much potential to tap into!
This year I thought I would share with you my process as you might find it beneficial. You will need a pen and paper, your phone or laptop and any diaries or calendars you might use on a regular basis.
The first step in the process is preparation. You will need to have two separate sheets of paper, one for 2015 and the other for 2016. Create five columns in both labelled as:
- LIVELIHOOD & LIFESTYLE (think career, money, work, home, style, possessions, fashion, travel, gifts, sustainability, etc)
- BODY & WELLNESS (think healing, fitness, food, rest, mental health, sensuality, movement, etc)
- CREATIVITY & LEARNING (think artistic expression, interests, hobbies, education, etc)
- RELATIONSHIPS & SOCIETY (think romance, family, friendships, collaboration, community, causes, etc)
- ESSENCE & SPIRITUALITY (think soul, inner self, truth, intuition, faith, spiritual practices, etc)
These categories come from Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map book which I read earlier this year and really loved. Feel free to change it up if they don’t work for you and make them your own!
Use your phone or laptop to go through your emails or social media accounts and find all the milestones you experienced in 2015. Look through your diaries and calendars to find any significant events or breakthroughs that are worth honoring. It doesn’t matter how bad of a year you might have had, it’s impossible to avoid growth. You are not the same person you were a year ago.
You might be older but I think the key to being wiser is being able to learn lessons from the experiences you had and the people you met or lost along the way. Take your time and write it all out. They can be very concrete and quantifiable milestones such as “Got a promotion at work” or “got married”, or they can be less tangible and focus more on feeling like “improved self confidence”.
After you’ve taken the time to write everything down according to those five categories, take a minute to read it all over. You should hopefully feel happy and proud as you read it back!
Now move on to 2016. I use the same categories and write down dreams, goals and intentions I have for myself in the coming year. I find it important to not limit myself with these dreams. Odds are I’ll never make it on the cover of Yoga Journal, but it’s a dream of mine so why wouldn’t I write it down? Aiming high is good. Notice how you might want to judge your goals and dreams. Don’t let yourself get bombarded with thoughts that what you want is vain, materialistic, too good for you, impossible, selfish, stupid or wrong. It’s not. You’re allowed to want what you want and you don’t owe anyone an explanation!
My only guideline or word of advice when it comes to writing down goals and dreams is that it should feel good. Often people will set a goal like “lose 20 lbs” and that goal makes them feel terrible because it reminds them that they’re not the way they want to be. Instead try phrasing it in a way that makes you feel positive and optimistic like “take a walk in nature five times a week”. The end result might be the same, but the process will feel a lot better.
Don’t worry about filling up your list with a bunch of goals. These are really just intentions you’re putting out into the world. The most important thing about accomplishing your goals is being open to opportunities as they come by. There’s so much that’s going to happen to you in 2016 that you could never have imagined or planned for, so don’t get too attached to what you write down. Let it be fluid, it will grow and change as the year goes.
Some people like to revisit these charts once a month and update them. Personally this is something I do once a year and then completely forget about! The fun for me is in doing the process yearly and looking back to see if I accomplished any of the items I wrote down or not. It’s a personal journey so do whatever feels right to you.
Last but not least, I like to end with a true intention. I write down 1 to 3 core feelings I want to experience this year. Think of it as setting a theme for your year. Last year my theme was to be “limitless” and be happy for the success of others instead of envious. This year my theme is “collaboration” as I want to work with more people and build a stronger sense of community.
I’d like to thank all of you for supporting Yoga with Kassandra. You’re a big part of why 2015 was such an amazing and fulfilling year for me. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store and I wish you health, happiness and bliss!
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