‘You don’t want to reflect on the past year or make new year resolutions. Just keep going – or you’ll drive yourself crazy!’
This is what a wise and hilariously frank friend said to me on New Year’s Eve.
She’s not wrong. Well, not entirely … 🙂 I don’t do new year resolutions but I do intentions.
‘What’s the difference?’ My friend asked.
I see intentions as positive long-term plans, or a journey towards something.
I see resolutions as negative short-term, punitive plans – banning something and then chastising yourself for ‘failing’.
To be honest, on New Year’s Eve I was feeling a bit down for various (crazy – yes!) reasons.
So, I decided to write down all the good things that happened to me in 2016 – and I got to 18!
It really was a great year overall as I went travelling, left my job and started working as a freelance writer and yoga teacher.
But still you can dwell on the negatives and the unknowns, those nagging uncertainties.
I like to plan so, with the help of a New Year’s Day yoga workshop, I’m writing a few intentions (or Sankalpas as they’re known in yoga/Sanskrit).
These are plans for the year, such as making contacts for work and building new connections, friendships or relationships.
Here’s what I do:
1) Write down the good things that happened to you in the past year – it can be a good holiday, a small success at work, a new friend made, a great new coffee haunt. Two of mine included listing my top times with friends and family.
2) Set some small intentions – little things that are achievable, perhaps not winning the lottery or taking on the US presidency (though anything is up for grabs these days!). Some of mine are around networking for new work opportunities and working on social media promotion.
3) Do a regular condition check – see how things are going in a month or two, and then in 6 months. Refine plans if needed. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed but perhaps a new approach is needed. I found this with some yoga work last year and so joined organisations to gain support, which led to new work.
4) Keep the faith, release the fear – this is probably the most important one for me. Whatever obstacles come along, keep believing in yourself and going, small step by small step.
5) Have fun – this goes back to the resolution issue. If you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re probably not going to keep it up. Make sure whatever you’re doing, you believe in it (the process and the result).
And remember your best support is from those who you already know. Those funny friends who keep you laughing and support you to the hilt.
They have the best intentions at heart – and sometimes some good advice!