At a holiday party last weekend, a friend shared her way of making New Year’s resolutions. At the end of each December, she chooses a single word to define the next year and then tries to live by that. I liked the sentiment and asked how effective had been for her in the past. She kind of shrugged. Inspired by Danielle LaPorte’s wisdom and the work I've been doing with my clients, I added a little twist to make it juicier: What about three words, I said, that express just how you want to FEEL in 2018. Her eyes lit up, and then we started to play. “Inspired!” “Purposeful!” “Sexy!” Yes, yes and yes!
New Year’s resolutions too often neglect the heart, the visceral. They are good ideas from the neck up. In asking ourselves how we want to feel, we connect with what's authentic and meaningful to us.
If you’re with me so far and you’re ready to choose your words, fantastic. Play around a bit, maybe grab a thesaurus. Try your words on, bend them to your desires, make a big messy pile of ‘em on your bedroom floor. Once you’ve found the three that really key into how you want to feel in 2018, come back, and bring some regular paper or index cards with you.
Got your words? Okay, cool. Now, write one of your words BIG on each card. Step back and take them in. If you get a rush of excitement, and/or a little hit of healthy fear, that’s it.
We could stop here and call these Intentions, but where would that get us? You know what the road to hell is paved with. Your words are just WORDS without action. So take another few minutes and think about what activities get you feeling the way you want to feel. List those on the back of the card with your word, and do this for all three. Then put those cards, with the words facing you, somewhere you’ll see them every day as a reminder. When you find yourself stuck outside those feelings, you have a crib sheet on the back—activities that set these feelings into motion for you personally. Choose one, and watch what happens. It’s not magic, but it is magical. When you feel the way you want, new possibilities emerge.
My wish for you this year is that you begin thinking of a goal as a place to come from instead of get to. A prosperous mindset begets richer results than just working to make more money. The converse is also true-- when you come from scarcity, the world around you seems to be lacking. So coming from a place of feeling inspired, for example, is really different-- and more generative-- than willing yourself to become more creative.
Fair warning: These are just words and ideas until you make them your own. When you do, expectations can arise that challenge your assumptions about how feeling should, well, feel. But as Wordsworth says, "To begin, begin." Starting this process can feed your soul and inspire new possibilities. If you need help along the way, that's totally okay, and far better than stagnation. The very beginning of this work starts here and now with this exercise. I hope you'll experiment with this and share what you find! I'm here to support.
Laurie Shiers is an LA -based writer, coach and experience junky on a quest to find meaning in the mayhem.