“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and enjoying it for everything that it is.” ~Mandy Hale
Greetings and a very Happy New Year to you and yours!
As the calendar turns from December 31st to January 1st, a new year can bring with it a promise and sometimes a sense of not being content with what we have.
We immediately think of “New Year’s Resolutions,” and since our mind is naturally inclined toward the negative, we have the tendency to focus on what needs to be fixed or what isn’t going well in our lives.
If we’re not careful, we can bring an energy of “not good enough” and discontentment into the new year, and with it, a feeling of lack and pressure. Have you ever thought to yourself at the start of a new year, “This is the year that I have to…
work out more,
fall in love,
get a promotion,
land my dream job, etc.?”
The proper expectations for the new year
The new year is an opportunity to grow and develop in ways that will more closely align with the kind of person we want to be and the life we want to be living.
But it’s important to first acknowledge everything that we already have and bring that into the new year with us. If we forget to do this, we are setting too high of expectations for our year, because we are coming from a place of lack, versus a space of “I am enough and I have enough.”
Setting intentions versus goals
As we move into this new year, I encourage you to set intentions, versus goals. When a new year arrives, we often set very specific goals with short and limited timelines. This creates stress, a feeling of striving to obtain the unachievable and instead of succeeding, we fail. Long lasting and meaningful change happens over time.
An intention is very different from a goal in that an intention is something we cultivate over time. An intention grows with attention, patience, and wise effort. A goal often has a specific result and is time oriented.
Goal Example: I must do a headstand in the next two months.
Intention Example: My intention is to cultivate my headstand by trying it each time I practice. I know that by aligning my actions with this intention, I will be more diligent in attracting headstand into my practice.
Keys to setting a good intention
1. Be consistently persistent
With repeated effort and staying committed to your intention, you will create what you seek. Be open to not knowing how or when it occurs. As I often say in class, “You just might surprise yourself if you try.” Stay open to the surprise.
2. Be grateful
With intention setting, remember gratitude. The two go hand in hand.
I notice for myself that when I dream of living a different life, wanting something else, striving for something that isn’t happening right now in this present moment, I suffer and I am not content with what I have.
In these instances, my posture isn’t one of gratitude and I fall into a space of “not good enough.”
I take a lot of comfort in knowing how the simple act of bringing gratitude to the forefront, shifts my mind from a sense of lack to ease and contentment. If I can be happy and content now, with all that I have (and don’t have) and with these circumstances and conditions (which are always changing and sometimes not how I wish them to be), then I can be happy anywhere and at any time.
Allow yourself to feel the abundance in your life and see how this impacts your hopes and wishes for the new year.
Always keep gratitude at the forefront.
3. Remember that change is a gradual process
Additionally, remember that when a New Year arrives, you don’t become a NEW you. This is an expectation and falsity that society has practically placed on us.
“New year, NEW you.”
Don’t get it twisted, my friend.
You are the same person. You are bringing yourself with you into the new year…your mind, body, heart, and even your inner-critic and resistance to change.
However, you absolutely have an opportunity before you for change and growth – just as you do any day and any time of the year.
The key is to focus on the areas you wish to grow and change in and to do the work to grow and change.
Most importantly, remember that in order to grow in your life, you must make space for it. In Baptiste Yoga, we call this, “Give up what you MUST.” By giving up what you must, you create space for being the greatest version of yourself. For example, if you are cultivating more patience in your life, then you must start to let go of impatience. By letting go of a certain way of being, a pattern in your life, or habits…you can manifest something different.
What do you want to let go of from 2017?
What do you want to bring in, in 2018?
May your New Year be filled with peace, love, light, and blessings.