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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!


Check in on Intentions for 2012

We’re already a month into 2012, and by now we may have started to let our intentions fall by the wayside as we go about our busy lives. I thought I’d check in on my intentions for 2012, to see how things are going, and I encourage you to do the same. Checking in on ourselves is a part of living consciously and making positive changes.

So, how am I doing?

  • I intend to let my creative spirit be my leader: I’m learning to stop “juggling” my different roles and responsibilities, and instead, integrate all areas of my life-job, creative work, religion, homemaking-I’m not switching hats anymore. I try to be my creative self in all areas of my life, and it’s challenging, but it’s wonderful for keeping my priorities straight.
  • I intend to lay the foundation for my art and writing career: I haven’t been incredibly productive in the studio lately, but I am clarifying the steps I need to take. I’m also experimenting and playing with different techniques and elements to include in my work and different directs I want to take it.
  • I intend to honor my body with the food and movement it needs: This one is a challenge, because adjusting to my new schedule is a little stressful, and I tend to default to food when I’m stressed, especially in the winter when I crave carbs and sugar anyway. However, I am keeping a food journal a few days a week to track bring some consciousness back to my eating, and I’m experimenting with alternative sweeteners like stevia and xylitol, because they are much easier on me than sugar. I’m also making more time to bundle up for daily walks.
  • I intend to dive into my gospel study: I’ve been reading my scriptures nearly every morning, which is a nice way to start my day. I’ve also put more effort into clearing my mind during church so I can focus on the lessons rather than planning my week. This is still hard for me, because I tend to zone out during lectures and sermons of any sort, but I’m getting better.
  • I intend to use my money consciously and deliberately: This is a big one, and I’ve been much better at keeping track of our spending and putting more thought into purchases. I’ve been using the 10 second rule, and trying to use the 30 day rule, though the near-death of my netbook required a hasty purchase of a new computer. We put in some research and got a MacBook Pro to suit my art and writing needs, and I’m quite happy with it so far.

All in all, I feel that I’ve done very well with my intentions for this year, and in keeping my Word for 2012, Stability, in mind as I shape my life.

How are you doing? Did you set intentions for 2012?