Now is the time for closing one year and beginning another. This is the time of year when we usually review our past year's accomplishments and set goals for the new year. I don't know about you but just saying that, in this way, makes me so very tired! Distilling my life down to "what got done last year" and "what I need to get done next year", just saps the spirit out of the whole process for me. My preference is to celebrate events, learnings, and how I've changed over the last year, then design or dream up new events and anticipated growth for the coming year. I encourage you to use the following powerful process for your own year's review and planning – and have fun!
First, look for what's right in your life. In general, we don't know how to do this all that well. We are trained to see what went wrong, not what went right. This might take some mind-bending effort on your part, but I hope you stick it out because it's well worth it. Start by breathing into your heart. Continue breathing into your heart until it feels open and loving. Then ask yourself: What went right this last year? What am I proud of accomplishing? What do I appreciate about the people around me? What do I appreciate about myself? Make a list of all the things that are right in your life – paying particular attention to the last year. Every time you start thinking "yeah, but…", gently take a breath, open your heart, and return your mind to looking for what's right.
You may find a "yeah, but…" that is a bit tenacious. If so, notice where you have regrets or sadness. These thoughts may be pointing you to relationships that you need to heal or things you need to let go of. Just notice and release these thoughts, then breathe and return to your loving heart. As much as possible, allow the feelings of joy and sorrow to be in the same space. Or if that seems too difficult, move back and forth between them. If you get stuck, ask yourself, "what's right with what's wrong?" Continue to use your breath and heart space to return yourself to looking for all that is right in your life and waiting to be celebrated.
It's time to celebrate! Honor yourself for the progress you've made over time. Perhaps you've surprised yourself at how extensive and wide-ranging your list is. Bring a smile to your face, breathe into your heart, and appreciate where you are on your life's journey. Allow gratitude to gently rise up; gratitude for all that you have and all that you are. Find a way to celebrate this. Maybe you'd like to put on some music and dance to the joy and gratitude you feel. Or maybe express these feelings through painting, writing, music, or cooking. Whatever creative expression is calling to you, allow it to happen – this is a natural expression of the celebration of life. This creative expression releases your mind for dreaming of what's possible for the next year.
Allow your Dreams for your life to become known to you. Dream up what you want your life to be; what impact you want to have in the world with your life. If this is difficult to do, try making a collage, allowing your eyes and fingers to choose images and words that express your Dream. What changes do you want in your life? What milestones do you hope to reach? Where in your life have you been holding back? What part of your Dream do you want to launch into reality? Be still, breathe into your heart and allow it to inform you. You were put on this earth for a reason; what is it?
Amplify your Dreams; make them even larger. Imagine that you are 120 years old and on your deathbed, looking back over your life. Close your eyes and breathe, and allow yourself to feel being in this near-death state. From there, what do you wish had happened during this next year? What do you wish had happened in your relationships? What difference in the world do you wished you had made? What is the legacy you wished you had left to your children and grandchildren? Now, use this imagined experience to adjust your Dreams.
Create heart goals from your Dreams. Look at your Dreams for your life and choose one or two to focus on for the next year. If you have trouble narrowing it down to only one or two, breathe into your heart and let your heart choose which is most important. Now create intentions around these; intentions that are stated in the positive, present-tense voice. Include the heart reason for the intention, the emotional reason that makes it so important. Looking at each intention, ask yourself, "What is one small step that I can take over the next month, to move towards that intention"? Do a gut check to see if it's something you really want to do, adjust if needed, and set that as your next goal. The rest of the steps may be obvious to you now, or they may become known to you only after you have achieved this first step. Hold yourself open to either possibility.
Then take action. Do something that makes your goals take root. Maybe it's to add something to your calendar. Maybe it's to schedule an appointment, make a call, or sign up for a class. Maybe it's to call a friend and ask them to help you. Maybe it's to hire a coach! Whatever it is – do it! Then after you have accomplished that goal, celebrate and create your next goal; what's the next small step you can take? Celebrate your successes and learn from your failures. Keep moving forward, taking care of yourself and holding yourself with compassion and joy.
Here is my wish for you. Truly celebrate and appreciate the wonderful, precious, and unique person that you are, all that you have in your life, and all the gifts you have to offer. Empower yourself to Dream big; use your heart to lead you towards your contribution to the world. Create intentions and goals that sing to your heart and speak to your spirit. Then make it happen, one small step at a time. Your life's journey starts with one step, and who knows where the adventure will take you. And if you want additional support for making your Dream a reality, call me; that's what I'm here for.