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Intentions and a Ritual for the New Year

The older I get, the faster the years seem to go by. And I’m only in my mid twenties. How fast will time go by when I’m 80?!

winter-handprint soul 2

Once again, I find myself doing what I do each New Years Eve. Every December 31st, I write my future self a letter to read on the next New Years Eve. I’ve done this for a few years, and I love to see how much I’ve grown in the past year. It also clears my focus for the year to come. I start by reading the letter from the previous year, then I write the new one. I write about the year I’ve just lived and how things went, mistakes I made and what I learned from them, and then I write about my hopes for the coming year.

Sometimes when I read the last letter, I realize that none of those hopes every came to fruition, or that I might have changed directions since then. That’s ok. This isn’t the time to feel guilty. Instead, it helps me learn to accept and be gentle with myself, to let things flow in and out of my life as they’re meant to. Also, it helps me recognize the wisdom of my past self. We spend so much time looking to the future and desiring to improve, but sometimes we forget important things too.

I also set my intentions for the new year in this letter. I prefer to set intentions rather than resolutions because intentions are more fluid. They’re less measurable than resolutions and goals, but there’s less guilt involved if I don’t accomplish them. Intentions remind me that situations change and I change. I may not want the same things over time, and intentions leave some wiggle room.

And the word itself, intention rather than resolution feels much kinder and less like a boot camp sergeant.

Here are my intentions for this year

  • I intend to have more fun!
  • I intend to guilt trip myself less for things I don’t accomplish.
  • I intend to eat more colors and try new fruits and veggies.
  • I intend to put self-care and relationships at the top of my priority list.
  • I intend to be completely honest with myself and others about how I feel.

As you can see, those aren’t measurable, but they’re things to keep in mind and align myself with. These things don’t look like they fit in with building an art and writing career, but they actually fit into my vision perfectly. How can a thriving career come from someone who isn’t thriving?

Some people also set words for the new year, and I think that would be my word. THRIVE. That embodies my intentions perfectly.

How about you? Do you set intentions, resolutions, words, or anything else for the new year? Tell me!

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Intentions for 2012

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It’s that time of year again.

I thought I’d share my intentions for 2012. I like setting intentions rather than resolutions because intentions are more like mindset, purposes with which to align myself while resolutions are more like a to-do list with the accompanying guilt trip when you don’t. Who needs that?

I looked over my 2011 intentions, and my 23rd birthday intentions, and while some of my 2012 intentions are similar, they are more clear to me.

So here we go, my intentions for 2012:

  • I intend to let my creative spirit be my leader-Tara Wagner calls it “Organic Wisdom.” Laura Hollick calls it “Spirit Leadership,” and the latter rings more true for me. Either way, I intend to let my creativity lead me through life, and to give priority to my creative work. I don’t mean that I’ll blow off other important things, I just mean that I want to live with a spirit of joy and imagination outside of my studio as well as inside.
  • I intend to lay the foundation for my art and writing career-I’ve already started this by blogging and making my art available online, but I want to put my art into the community as well. I want to find a way to get paid for writing and to develop a more steady income from art sales. Of course, I want to do this in a mindset of joy and creativity rather than fear or force.
  • I intend to honor my body with the food and movement it needs-My 2011 intentions include something like this as well, and even though this is a general statement, I do have a specific action in mind for it. This includes all food and movement that honors my body, but I intend to start by adding vegetables, especially green leafies, and reducing my sugar intake. If you’ve been reading Handprint Soul for awhile, you probably know that I’m in the throws of winter blues right now, that I tend to be susceptible to depression and anxiety, and that I’ve had issues with extremely low blood sugar. Sugar makes all of these conditions worse, so even though I am certainly addicted to it on some level, I intend to break that addiction with an abundance of supporting foods, a few supplements, and healthy sweeteners such as stevia and xylitol. I’m not trying to completely eliminate sugar, just form a more sane relationship with it.
  • I intend to dive into my gospel study-I don’t really talk about my religion on this blog, but I am a member of The Church of Jesus  Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka the “Mormon” church. My religion and spirituality (yes, I believe those are different things)  shape my beliefs, who I am, and what I do. It’s always been a part of me. This year I want to deepen my knowledge of our doctrines and my relationship with God.
  • I intend to use money consciously and deliberately-I have a complicated relationship with money, and money management tends to stress me out. This year, I want to reprogram my mindset surrounding money as I learn to keep better track of income and spending, reduce unnecessary spending and instead spend money on things that hold real value for us. I also hope to save money for a sunny trip next winter. I don’t think it’ll happen for this winter, but maybe the act of saving for one later will make this winter a little easier. 🙂

There you have it.

Did you set intentions, resolutions, goals, focus words, etc. for 2012? Tell me about it!