It’s that time of year again. Prior to COVID, now is when we would be hearing lots of talk about resolutions for the new year, how we want to change or improve. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard much of this lately. My guess is we’re all too exhausted from everything we’ve been through collectively and individually.
How about we take a fresh look at this ritual? Instead of making promises to ourselves out of a sense of obligation to change or feeling like we are somehow less than, we can give ourselves room to notice what is already working and, like following golden breadcrumbs, gently find the path to what feels life-giving in the new year.
Let’s set inspired intentions instead of obligatory objectives.
I often say to my clients, you can’t have the future version of yourself you desire until you can appreciate the current version of you.
Learning to appreciate the current version of you means you recognize the full worth of what it has taken you to get this far. It means to cherish yourself for the times you could have thrown in the towel but you kept putting one foot in front of the other. It means to treasure the sacrifices you’ve made, the ways you have coped, even the ways you have failed forward. It means knowing that you matter regardless of whether or not you achieve a goal.
As we enter into 2022 – some of us running, some of us walking, some of us crawling, and some of us collapsed – however you are entering – here are a few guidelines for setting inspired intentions for the coming year and learning to appreciate the Right Now You:
1. You are allowed to stay the same.
You are not required to set any intentions whatsoever for the coming year if that does not feel life-giving for you. You can stay exactly the way you are right now. You are enough, you do enough and you have enough already. If you’re raising your hand on this one, maybe you spend some time noticing all the things that you do NOT want to change because they are fine just the way they are.
2. You are allowed to feel grateful and simultaneously feel sad, angry, discouraged, etc.
We all know that gratitude is good for us. Paying attention to what is already going well in our lives, no matter how small, can increase the likelihood of more positive experiences each day. Things can spiral up just like they can spiral down. But don’t worry, we don’t do toxic positivity up in here! More than one thing can be true at a time. And you are allowed to have the full spectrum of your feelings.
3. You are allowed to prioritize yourself.
Some of us just need to get back to basics. Take the time to replenish yourself daily. When you wake up in the morning, take a few moments to find a feeling of calm strength inside and connect with your intention for the day, or do a mind/body/spirit activity like meditation or prayer. Even a few simple deep breaths make a big difference. Avoid reaching for your phone and getting sucked into email or social media first thing before you have had a chance to connect with yourself. Move your body when you can. Try a new healthy food. Take a multivitamin. In the evening, disengage from stressful activities as much as possible, have a wind down period, and limit screen time just before bed. Give your mind/body/spirit the message that s/he matters.
4. You are allowed to reflect on 2021 with curiosity.
Look back through your calendar and notice each month. What was happening, or not happening, for you each month? What feeling word goes with each month? What choices were you making? How do those choices relate to where you are now? When did you feel at your best? What felt difficult or painful? Take some time to journal and reflect on the year and notice any themes that emerge for you. If journaling isn’t your thing, bullet point a few key words or create a collage of images.
5. You have the power to choose.
As you reflect on 2021 and notice what brought you joy and what wore you down, ask yourself: what do you want more of in your day? What do you want less of? Do what you can to change the things you want to change. If you can’t change them, how can you adjust your response? Try approaching routine stressful situations with a new intention and visualize how you will respond differently ahead of time. A challenge doesn’t have to become a stressor if you have set your intention beforehand.
If all else fails, or if you just don’t have the bandwidth for any of this right now (I see you), how can you show yourself grace right here right now? Give yourself a break. You made it this far. The Right Now You deserves a little appreciation for that.
If you are an entrepreneur, performer or therapist looking to go from good to great in the coming year, click here to schedule a free mini-session with me.
If you are an EMDR therapist looking to feel more spacious and joyful in your work in 2022, click here for more information about my EMDR Consultation Program.