Another thing I wrote about the coming New Year a few years ago, but I think is worth repeating...
Each year the earth makes a journey around the sun, taking us with it of course. The time it takes to make this journey is what we call a year. At the end of each year it has become custom to start the first day of the new journey with resolutions to do better than we did the last time around. We vow to stop doing some things or start doing others, setting personal goals.
This custom can be traced back 4000 years ago to Babylonia where celebrations and resolutions were made at the beginning of each New Year, which back then was in March, or the time for planning new crops. The Babylonians promised the gods they would do such things as pay their debts and return borrowed objects. Who knows how successful they were at their goals, but of the 45 % of Americans who say they make New Year’s resolutions only 8% report success at fulfilling them. I think this is because the goals are riddled with self-improvement demands and usually carry a punitive tone, even the word resolution means decree.
I like to think of this as a time of reflection not just for the year, but for my whole life. I write in a journal on New Year’s Eve. I have done so in one of the same two journals for 50 years! I had to re check and do the math because I could not even believe that number. But it’s true… every year since I was 16 (I am now 66) I sit down, take some time, and reflect on my last journey around the sun. I write the highlights and the tragedies, the things that made the year stand out. I ponder on how I grew that year, what lessons I learned and even who came in to and changed my life. And I always end by writing some intentions for going forward the next time around and what I want to accomplish during the journey.
It is a fascinating read to look back through my two journals and see what happened that I thought so important and life changing when I was 18, 24, 35, 43 or even last year. And it is astonishing how the same old themes surface time and again. For example, this writing ritual started when I still had an eating disorder so, for a few years, I wrote rigid goals about the way I should eat, or the amount or kinds of exercise I promised I would do. But to be honest, even though initially the goals were restrictive, over reaching and nothing I would ever aspire to today, still throughout the years there are eating and exercise themes, though they went from running ten miles to “committing” to going on walks or doing yoga twice a week. But as the years went by other things took on importance as I learned about intentions and how important it was to set one’s mind to the infinite potential that exists for each of us out of all the possibilities out there. As I learned about the law of attraction, how energy really does follow thought, and the power of intention, I began to focus more of my writing on what I wanted to pay attention to and how I wanted to “be” in the upcoming year. It is fun to look back and see my personal growth and maturity and sometimes where I have become stuck on the same idea that just does not go anywhere. (For years was something about drinking more water).
So… I want to share with whoever reads this that at the end of each year I think it is valuable to take some personal time for reflection and then write down you’re your upcoming Intentions, not resolutions. I think it is interesting, special and even, dare I say, sacred to have a journal like this that you can look back on. The memories I go through as I look back each year are priceless. I met my husband, Bruce, on New Year’s Eve on a blind date and we laugh at what I wrote that night back in 1980. It’s not too late to get started. But let the intentions you set be kind, like gifts you want to give yourself and make them easy enough to achieve. And be specific. Research shows that the more specific you are the better chance you have of it making it happen.
One last thing; you can even write your intentions as if they have already happened. This is a powerful suggestion to your consciousness, imprinting the universe with the energy of the task already completed.
Here are some suggestions of what that might look like:
I handwrote 4 letters,
I sat quietly once a week for a few minutes,
I said something positive about my body (I’ll leave you to fill in how often) ,
I commented on someone’s smile once a week,
I found a neighbor I’ve never talked to and started a conversation
I watched several sunsets
…….. you get the idea.
This last trip around the sun has been difficult for the whole planet in so many ways, wishing us all a better journey this time around.