12 in ’12. Setting intentions for the new year

The other side of excess.

The overeating, partying, general indulging that many tend to find themselves in this time of year has its shadow side, doesn’t it? That little voice in our heads that’s making a list every day of Resolutions. Oh yes, too much of the sugar! Resolve to stop eating sweets in the new year. Or too painful a hangover. Resolve to quit drinking in the new year. Or Oh my pants don’t fit! Resolve to get to the gym more regularly in the new year.

It gets so painful, doesn’t it?

There are stories every year about why new year’s resolutions fail. They all say the same thing. It boils down to this: Resolutions without a foundation of intention and action have little staying power.

I belong to a gym. And I am a member of a 12-step recovery program for over twenty years. Every January it’s the same. You can barely squeeze into the locker room or find an open elliptical machine. Twelve-step meetings double in size. And then, by the end of that first month of the year, you can see the trickling down—and out—of the new faces. Who’s left? The same people you saw in March. And August. And November and December.

I am writing about this again this year, just like I did last year at this time. I’m passionate about this, because I am lucky enough to know the secret. Commitment to who you want to be and what you want to live into is the key. Creating the commitment (intentions), making a sacred contract with yourself and your spiritual source is the first step. Which goes nowhere fast unless it’s connected to the second step: creating a livable doable day-to-day action plan that reflects every intention you’ve got and that will work for you. In January. In March. And in August.

What are these intentions of which you speak?

Create an intention—or two—for every area of your life.

Okay, let’s back up. What are areas of life?

Areas of life (we are using twelve to go with our theme of 12 in ’12!)

  • Health and wellness
  • Finances
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Business/career
  • Physical environment
  • Personal growth/spirituality
  • Romance
  • Friends
  • Community
  • Fun/recreation
  • Gratitude

In your year-end review, spend some time crafting a powerful intention for each one of these areas of life. Take the first one, for example. Here’s mine: Continue to go to the gym three times a week. Walk in the fresh air as often as possible. Move every day, on my feet for at least a half hour. Go social dancing once a week. Okay, strong beautiful committed intentions. That go nowhere until and unless they now get entered (as recurring events) in my calendar. (Which they are!)

Moving to the last one (skipping ahead for brevity’s sake; I’m hoping you don’t skip a single one of these!). Gratitude: In my calendar, five times a week is a reminder for me to write my gratitude lists. Regular readers here will know that I don’t make five entries a week. But I do one or two or three. I’m here to tell you that without my calendar reminder I would show up for gratitude even less often.

Wondering how to get a gratitude practice going in your own life? Read more about the benefits of occupying gratitude and join me in the Magnolias West 2012 Gratitude Challenge. An easy way to habituate yourself in a very juicy very valuable practice. Not only does it set you on an open and loving path simply by the doing of it, I swear it makes you younger! Certainly bring smiles. Hooray for smiles!

The longest night approaches, it’s tomorrow, Wednesday 12/21.

This is an especially auspicious time to set your intentions. Plug in your holiday lights. Light some candles. Put on some quiet music. Occupy solitude and create your 12 intentions for 2012.

Wishing joyful lightfilled juicy solstice blessings to all!


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I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.


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