New Year, New You, right? While I don’t believe in waiting until some arbitrary date to begin working towards new goals, it can be helpful to get clear on what you want to focus on in the New Year. A few years ago, I decided to focus on the energy I want to bring into the year, in addition to the qualities about myself I want to improve, as opposed to tangible goals. As such, I prefer to call them intentions, not resolutions. We can’t control outcomes, but we can control how we show up every day.
For 2018, there are five intentions of focus for me, and luckily, they’re all somewhat intertwined and interdependent. Otherwise, five would simply be too much. I arrived at these intentions by reflecting on the energy I want to feel and have my life reflect going forward. So without further ado, I bring you my five intentions for 2018.
1. Be Present: I tend to future-trip quite a bit, meaning I’m living my life in the future in my head. I get ahead of myself, and my expectations of what’s to come are then out of alignment, as I can’t predict the future. Who would have thought? Living my life in the future also leaves me with a general lack of fulfillment due to the shortage of engagement with the world in front of me. I don’t often dwell on the past, but this is a bigger issue for some people than living in the future. Either way, it’s SO easy to let our minds take over and bring us away from the present moment.
My plan of action to facilitate this increase in presence is to continue my morning meditation practice, to stop and enjoy sunrises and sunsets when I can, and to spend more time in nature. Nothing grounds me and gets me out of my head quite like being in nature.
2. Do What Makes Me Uncomfortable: I watched one of Gary Vee’s Instagram posts earlier this year, and it really stuck with me. He said that most of us are walking around here acting like we’re coming back, and I know that’s been so true for me. It’s easy to forget that life is finite and that we have one chance at this thing. But in order to see the progress I want to see next year, and to simply live the life in envision for myself, I need to say and do the things that make me uncomfortable.
I don’t particularly enjoy being uncomfortable in the moment, but I’m always so happy I did said thing afterwards. Even if the end result isn’t as I envisioned or hoped, I’ve never regretted at least trying. To me, regret is far more terrifying than being uncomfortable or afraid. Besides, what’s the worst thing that can happen? We’ve all overcome rejection, failure, hurt feelings, embarrassment, etc. before, and we can do it over and over again. Based on my experience, it gets easier over time.
Playing it safe looks good on the surface, but I believe it leads to an empty and shallow life. And after speaking to those who are living boldly, I’ve come to realize that they’re just as afraid and uncomfortable as the rest of us. The difference is in how they choose to respond. So in 2018, if it scares me (and isn’t actually dangerous), I’m going for it!
3. More Authenticity & Vulnerability: that last word makes a lot of people cringe, as it did for me for a great while, but I’m sold after diving into the work of Brene Brown. These two go hand-in-hand, as true vulnerability requires being our true selves at all times (authenticity), even when we’d rather conform to make things more comfortable. Enter intention # 2.
One of Brene’s quotes from her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”, struck a huge cord with me a few years ago. Paraphrased, it said that we feel much worse if we’re rejected when trying to be someone we’re not as opposed to being rejected for being our real selves. And I completely agree, as we’re also rejecting ourselves in the former scenario.
So in an effort to support myself fully, to make myself uncomfortable, and to connect with others on a deeper level, I’ll be making a concerted effort to fully be myself and then detach from the outcome. I can’t control how others respond to me, and I find this to be a great filtering system for the people in my life. If my authentic self isn’t for some people, then I realize that sooner rather than later (and it’s best for everyone involved). Conversely, those who appreciate me for me will not only stay, but I’ll be attracting those people too.
4. Be More Open, but with Boundaries: being more open was my sole intention in 2016, and I definitely noticed a difference as a result. But there is still progress to be made. In a recent discussion about my “Why” while back home, I was told that I tend to be more standoff-ish with people until I know I can trust them, as trust is the foundation of my Why. It was great to understand the underlying reason why I tend to err on the side of caution initially, but it is possible to be open and still maintain boundaries. And that’s what I’m working towards.
Danielle Laporte says, “Open, gentle heart. Big fucking fence.” And until the last couple years, I didn’t realize this was possible due to the seeming contradiction. Essentially, the goal is to maintain an open heart and to only let people beyond the fence who are respectful, kind, interested, and loving. I have a difficult time balancing openness with boundaries, as I tend to start with being closed on top of boundaries. It’s quite the force field. Going forward, I intend to give people the benefit of the doubt upon initially meeting them, to be open to the possibility of connecting with anyone new that I meet, to follow my intuition with others, to still remain kind-hearted even when I don’t align with someone, and to remain unapologetic about establishing boundaries with those I believe it is necessary.
5. Cultivate & Contribute to my Tribe: The word "tribe" can carry a negative connotation, as it can exude a sense of exclusivity, but to me it embodies the notion of a supportive, loyal, and uplifting community. However, I believe this can only be true when we implement boundaries and cultivate our tribe with care and discernment. John Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” and I certainly notice subconscious changes within myself depending on the people I’m surrounding myself with on a regular basis. When we’re around people who gossip, have a victim mentality, are pessimistic, are unmotivated, etc., then it’s easy to slip into a similar state of mind. Conversely, that shit doesn’t fly when we’re surrounded by kind, positive, and motivated people who take ownership of their mindset and lives.
I’m fortunate to have several people in my life who embody these qualities, and I will be focusing more time and energy on these relationships and less on those that tend to have deleterious effects. Additionally, it is our responsibility to show up to these relationships with the same positive attributes. We don’t want to be responsible for decreasing anyone’s average; amiright?
January 1st isn’t a magical date that carries more significance than any other, but it can be a solid starting point for making changes if we’re struggling to find the proper time. This date also tends to bring about a tendency for reflection, so all-in-all, I think it’s a great time of the year. The trouble comes when we quickly lose motivation and forget the intentions we have made, so I recommend writing them down and putting them in a clearly visible place in your home. If we focus on why we want to implement these changes and the likely benefits, the chances of follow-through significantly increase.
Wishing everyone a productive, challenging, adventurous, and exciting 2018!