Ah yes, New Years resolutions. The hype is annoying enough to make you take up smoking again. (Just kidding, nothing is that bad.)
But there is a simple exercise I do every year on New Year’s Day that keeps me on track in my life. It’s just a little ritual I do to check in and see if I’m doing being honest with myself.
I could share so many stories with you of things I’ve identified as goals, with NO idea how I was going to manifest them. Here’s the secret: you don’t have to know how. All you need to know is what your heart wants. Once you identify that with clarity, the universe will find strange and surprising ways to support you to realize your dreams.
Here is the one simple tool to realize your dreams in 2015:
Identify them. Then write them down. It sounds silly, I know. But when is the last time you checked in with yourself to ask if you are heading in a direction that makes you happy?
Here’s the practice:
Block out an hour or 2 to do this. Do a 15-30 minute free write on everything that comes to mind about 2014. Ask yourself:
- What were the highlights?
- What didn’t work out so well?
- What was downright painful that I’d like to change?
- What was heavenly that I want more of?
Don’t filter, screen, manipulate or ignore what comes to mind. And for heaven’s sake, don’t show this to anyone! It is for your eyes only. That way you’ll be sure to be 100% honest. Get down on paper the truth about your past year, so you know what you’re working with.
Go back and highlight, underline, or circle the moments or insights that feel “charged.” Charged means there is juice when you read it, either in a positive or negative sense. When there is energy around that topic, then highlight it. Make a list of these moments on a new piece of paper.
I’m going to ask you to through that list, identify what your hopes were/are and categorise each item. Whether a thing worked out well or didn’t, check in with yourself to find out how important that thing is to you. Then, either rate it as something that stays on your list of aspirations for 2015, or gets dumped. So for example, in 2014 I had hoped to finish a certain set of Buddhist practices, but didn’t. It’s still important to me to do that, so it will stay on my list of intentions for the coming year. But I had also hoped to run a certain number of successful yoga retreats, and had to cancel a few last year due to low numbers. I realised that I don’t actually like organising retreats myself. I find it so stressful, and prefer to teach in a more low-key way, privately or in small groups, or to have an already existing group where I can just show up and teach. I am not a great marketer, and it stresses me out. So it’s not going on my list this year. What a relief!
For the items that didn’t work out so well but that you want to keep, outline 2-3 ways you could approach your goal with fresh insight. For things that continue to work, and that you want to keep, are there ways to keep evolution inspired? Hint: you can do free writes for each of these questions.
Ask yourself this question for each situation: What do I want? Write your list of aspirations for 2015. You don’t have to know how you’re going to manifest these things. All you need to know is what you want to manifest. Once you identify precisely and in detail what it is you’d like, your subconscious starts acting on your behalf. It acts on your behalf when you give it negative messages as well, so be careful what story you tell yourself! But here is the most important part:
Write the list in the present tense, as if you are already living the reality!
It’s a bit sneaky. You’re tricking your neurons into believing you.
A few years ago, I had just bought my house in Colorado, which was a scary thing to do for someone who has lived the past decade or more overseas. I wanted to keep working overseas – in South Asia, specifically – during the winter months when it is too cold to be in Crestone. So that year, I wrote on my yearly list of aspirations, “part-time, well-paid work in Asia so that I can live without working in my home during the summers.” I had absolutely no prospects, (and I was a bit depressed) and no idea how, where, when that might happen, or if it was even possible. I didn’t have the vision of it, I just knew I wanted certain things: part-time, teaching yoga, Asia, well paid. So I identified it, in detail.
Then let them go
I put my goals in a drawer (they were written in my journal) and forgot about them. It wasn’t until nearly 2 years later that I found that journal and realised what had happened. A few months after writing that, I got a call out of the blue from someone who wanted help developing a yoga program in Phuket. It just so happened I would be passing through Thailand when they wanted to interview me. On the interview I told them I could not work summers and they said ok.I ended up getting that job, and my aspiration became a reality. Crazy huh?
One thing I should note on this process: It’s important not to talk about it too much. Don’t fritter away the energy of something that is important to you by chatting idly about it with those who may or may not care. Conserve your energy to put it to use towards manifesting your heart’s wishes. In other words, keep your attention on the present moment.
Keep it simple
Sometimes I think we make things way too complicated. (Ok, maybe I sometimes make things way too complicated.) There is wisdom inside us, if we simply listen. This exercise has been one of my yearly rituals for as long as I can remember and it’s been a huge part of my path. It’s not that you get to make a list of things you want and then sit back and wait for them to come showering down – this is deeper than the “law of attraction” theory. (But if you want to listen to a fascinating clip on how Quantum Theory plays out in this process, click here.) You may find that some things you hoped would manifest are simply not coming. Often what we think will make us happy is just a substitute for a feeling we already have within, in which case it is simply a matter of accessing that feeling. This exercise then allows you the choice to keep beating your head against a wall, or let go and allow the process to show you the way to your heart’s true desire.
Wishing you a year full of wonder and joy! May your wildest dreams come true. (If that’s what you want…)