Whether you stay up to watch the ball drop, or head to bed early, on January 1st we all wake up and suddenly it’s a new year. Just like that. It’s easy to let life happen to you, to carry over the energy of the previous year into this year. But a new year holds the magical energy of potential and change. So what do we do with that?
Many people try and harness that energy by setting goals or resolutions. But one study out of the University of Scranton suggests that a mere 8% of people actually achieve their New Years resolutions. By mid-February or March most resolution-setting people are inundated with feelings of shame or guilt, coming down hard on themselves for not sticking to a goal or resolution. I don’t know about you, but starting a year off in an energy of shame seems pretty harsh.
What if there was a more loving way of doing things? For the past 5 years, I’ve been actively cultivating a practice of intention. At the start of each year, I hold a sacred meditation to release the previous year, and all it had to offer me. Then I listen in to my soul and highest self for a word that summarizes everything I wish to learn or experience in the coming year. The practice has equal emphasis on releasing and filling up, just like Mother Nature’s practice of shedding in the fall, and growth in the spring.
The intention for the year becomes a guiding light, a northern star, for making decisions in moments of uncertainty and darkness. It’s a reminder that we are all co-creators with the universe, and we are empowered in creating our experiences. At any given moment, you can press pause on your day and look for that guiding light. You always find it. And by the time you get to the 365th day of the year, you’ve made it to the intention; you’ve manifested it. With each step of the way, walking towards that intention, or North Star, you get there.
Making a visual representation of the word such as a vision board, a poster, or even the backdrop to your computer, can be incredibly helpful. Just putting it somewhere visible that you will be able to see often, so it becomes a living, moving meditation, all about focusing on making decisions aligned with that intention.
When I started this practice, my word was magic. And boy was that ever a magical year. I started training in mediumship, learning about metaphysical practices, and training under the renowned Brian Weiss in past life regression therapy. The next year my word was love, and that year I officiated a wedding, got engaged, had a whirlwind fairy-tale romance that culminated in a December wedding in Scotland.
It was hard to top the year of love, but my next word was home. It was a year spent going through the immigration process, and setting my intention to bring my new husband from England, and back home to be with me. It was a hard and challenging year that pushed us financially and emotionally. Which led to the word of 2018: abundance. That year started out in serious debt from immigration, and an enormous tax bill that we had no idea how we were going to pay. We put a big charity thermometer up on our wall, calling it “the cure to end all mal-abundance.” Working together systematically, we put money into a savings account and filled in the visual representation. We stepped into the flow of abundance, and by the end of the year, I had tripled my income. It worked.
This year the word that came to me was preparation, and organization. Lucky for me, The Art of Tidying, or the Marie Kondo method, is out on Netflix. And you bet your bottom dollar I’m walking around my house daily, asking, “does it bring you joy.” Sometimes the things we need the most present themselves to us at the beginning of the year. They can show up like obstacles and challenges, or like gifts. But with a North Star, it can be a little easier to navigate.
We tend to completely overestimate what we are going to do in one year, and underestimate what we can do in two to three years. By the end of two to three years of living an intentional life, you might find yourself completely transformed. Resolutions are a short-term game; intention setting is playing for the long haul. By continuing to check in with a word, an intention, it’s like paving a road in your brain, walking over the same pathway daily. Eventually you actually rewire your brain, creating a new neural pathway for that intention.
So this year, try something new. Let go of the shame and the guilt of resolutions, and instead, try setting a word for your year, and lovingly walk into a life of intention. By the end of the year, you might find you’ve already achieved everything that you would have with the resolutions, just at a different and more loving pace. Energy follows intention. Start harnessing the power around you today, and co-create your experience using the art of intention.