Americans really love the idea of “New Year’s Resolutions,” and truthfully, I think the basic premise of that idea makes good sense. After all, the New Year is a great time to take a fresh look at where life is taking you and reassess goals.
However, instead of making a list of things that we may or may not even really need to do, like “lose five pounds”, I would encourage you to take a step back and look for the bigger picture.
I encourage you to greet this year with Intention.
In the same way you begin a yoga class by going inward, closing your eyes, and deciding what you’d like to dedicate your practice to that day, I encourage you to sit with yourself and set an Intention for 2019. It isn’t too late to do this. In fact, January is full of powerful lunar activity, including a Super Blood Moon Eclipse on the 21st, so use these first weeks of the year as a time to reflect. Your intention should be something that serves you in a positive way. Maybe it is a single word that means something to you. Maybe it is a set of words, or a phrase.
Your Intention could be as simple as Gratitude in 2019.
Studies show that regular activities focused on Gratitude actually have a positive effect on you and increase your own Happiness.
A couple years ago, I participated in a study called “ENHANCE: Happiness” with the Psychology Department at the University of Virginia. It was a study with little-to-no compensation; the benefit was of course, Happiness. Over the course of several months, we were put through a program where participants were asked to do certain activities in an effort to increase their happiness. I must say that those projects truly did increase my happiness in ways that I could not have imagined, and I invite you to try some of these activities in 2019:
1. Write a Gratitude Letter. Spend some time in reflection and think of someone who is dear and truly means a lot to you. Consider why they are so special to you, then write those reasons out in a letter to that person, and send it. You can include a special story or meaningful memory that was shared between the two, or anything at all that comes to you. By the time you finish writing your letter, I promise that your heart will be overflowing.
2. Make a regular Gratitude List. If you can manage a goal of a Daily Gratitude List, that’s wonderful. Maybe you write it each night before you go to bed. If daily is too high a frequency for you right now, maybe try weekly. At the start of each week, make a list of all the things you are grateful for–any and everything you want to include, then try to look over that list throughout the week.
3. Write and read Daily Positive Affirmations. Much like above, make a list, or find a mantra or phrases that resonate with you, like this one, for example. Read over your list every day and feel the power of those words increase over time as you and your Spirit within you begin to believe the truth of those words and feel their strength within you.
4. Make a list of All the Things You Love About You.
If you have time for nothing else on this list, I would deeply encourage you spend ten minutes or so writing a list of things that you love about you. Remind yourself of the amazing aspects of yourself that make you you, and try to read over them every morning.
You are amazing. You are worthy of your own time, and you are so very worthy of your own love.