Ditch the New Year's resolutions and get yourself some intentions instead
If I’ve one piece of seasonal advice for you it’s this, don’t bother making any New Year’s resolutions! They’re a waste of time and energy as they just make you feel worse about yourself than you did to begin with. Furthermore, they put negative energy out into the Universe and that’s not a good way to begin the New Year.
The trouble is most New Year’s resolutions centre around giving something up, or making some drastic change in a bid to become happier, skinnier or more at peace with yourself. Further they are often unrealistic and work with willpower alone, thereby setting you up for a big fail when your willpower wavers, as it tends to do.
They also work from the basis that you are not ok just as you are, or that you are lacking in some way and merely serve to highlight your own dissatisfaction with yourself and your life. They simply provide you with yet another stick to beat yourself up with and that’s not really going to help you begin the New Year on a positive note.
Ideally we should all be waking up (in more ways than one) on New Year’s day with the intention of being kinder to ourselves, of loving ourselves that little bit more. It’s time that we all started to recognise and realise our own magnificence (yes you are magnificent!) and the fact that we are each – yes each one of us, you too – a gift to the world.
Our beating ourselves up and highlighting our inadequacies does nothing to promote a happier and more peaceful state of being, nor does it help to raise the collective consciousness and help make the world a happier and more peaceful place to live. The more we give ourselves a hard time, the more the world appears a darker place to live.
However, if we approach life with a more loving attitude towards ourselves, counting our blessings rather than our inadequacies, then we’ll start to notice how the world loves back at us. It really is so simple. Loving thyself first and foremost and the rest will take care of itself!
So here’s an idea. How about undertaking a burning bowl ceremony to let go of all that stuff that prevents you from being your lovely magnificent self. Write it all down – that’s all your negative tendencies and behaviour patterns, all those draining and judgmental people in your life, your depressing and dead end job, all activities which exhaust and disempower you and anything which no longer brings out the best in you.
Whatever it may be, write it all down on a piece of paper under the words, “I (fill in name), let go of the following from my life”. Really tap into how it would feel to let go of all this stuff from your life and commit to it too. Then burn the paper and let it all disappear into the ether, leaving you feeling lighter and brighter as a result.
Once you’ve done the letting go you’re ready to invite in the new. Now this is where it gets really exciting because you get to choose what to bring in. So dream big and in alignment with your truth! Get yourself a piece of paper and write something like this, “I xxx (fill in name), have the following intentions for 2017”. Then write down your intentions in the present tense as if they had already happened; for example, “I practice yoga on my mat at least once every week”.
Please don’t underestimate the power of intention, its powerful stuff! I’ve worked with intentions the last few years and am always amazed at the way in which they help to transform life in a more positive direction and with grounding too. It’s the same with counting your blessings, this practice can really help you to feel joyful about life.
The thing is, the more you do to transform yourself into a more joyful and positive person the more joy and positivity you’ll put out into the world. And don’t forget we’re all connected and we all have a role to play (and responsibility) in making this world a more joyful and positive place to live. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you’d like to see in the world”. It begins with YOU.
It’s for this reason that I encourage you to begin your list of intentions by making “I love and accept myself JUST AS I Am” number one and “I live my life in touch with my true and unique self” second on that list. And then add on a whole heap of other joyful and happy stuff too, things that make you feel good, whether that’s spending more time in nature or seeing more of your friends, perhaps attracting a new job that’s more aligned with your soul, helping with a charity and/or buying your own home. Whatever it is make sure it is heartfelt and not from the ego.
Once you’ve finished with your list, you might write, “with thanks” or something to show your appreciation for the gift of intention, before folding it up and popping it in an envelope. Then put it away in a drawer, get on with living your life and be open to the new opportunities that the Universe may now provide. But don’t try to control this, just let things unfold in their own way and in their own timing. It’s exciting!
Of course I can’t write about the New Year and New Year’s intentions without suggesting that you put “yoga” on your list too. If you’re reading this then take it as a sign, it may very well be the answer to all your prayers. Want to lose weight? Practice yoga. Want to get fitter? Practice yoga. Want to be a kinder person? Practice yoga. Want to live life more in touch with your truth? Practice Yoga. It’s easy (yes I know I’m biased!)
But remember that talking about it isn’t the same as actually practicing. All too often people tell me they practice yoga, and then on closer examination it turns out that they haven’t actually taken their mat out of its bag for the last 6 months, if not a year. In their heads they think they practice yoga but I’m afraid you have to actually do the practice to get gain the benefit. It’s like Pattabhi Jois said, “Practice and all is coming”. Just get on your mat!
So you see beginning the New Year with a list of heart-felt intentions is far more exciting and uplifting then setting yourself some depressing New Year’s resolutions. Hopefully now you’ll wake up on New Year’s day feeling joyful and positive and loving yourself. It’s in this way that we will each play our part in making the world a happier and more peaceful place to live.
On that note, I shall leave you with an extract from the inspirational Anita Moorjani:
“Always remember not to give away your power – instead, get in touch with your own magnificence. When it comes to finding the right path, there’s a different answer for each person…when we’re true to ourselves, we become instruments of truth for the planet. Because we’re all connected, we touch the lives of everyone around us, who then affect others. Our only true obligation is to be the love we are and allow our answers to come from within in the way that’s most appropriate for us.”