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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Conscious Alternative to New Year's Resolutions

This time of year is filled with joy and anticipation for many people, while others feel bewildered in this economy and world that seems full of negative events. Many folks sit down to write New Year's Resolutions, but then before January isn't even over, they are already realizing that the resolutions aren't do-able. So they give up and go through still another year without making any of those resolutions work.
Soul Collage(trademark) by Anne Copeland

I think one of the reasons they don't work is that they are generally couched in giving up something, or acknowledging that something that you are doing isn't working right.  For example, "I want to lose weight, or will lose 50 pounds by February 1."

So what IS a good alternative?  First of all, I do several things, and they DO work. The first one is a simple assignment. Pick a word that overall relates to your life and what you want for the following year. For example, last year my word was "Abundance."  It was not all about money, but abundance in every area of my life.  And did I have abundance?  You bet I did!  Absolutely. An abundance of new friends, an abundance of new creative experiences (like taking a cloth dyeing class and developing that skill really well, and trying numerous other creative avenues I have never tried (yes, it was an abundance of experiences), an abundance of adventures in my life and on and on.  This is so basically simple.

A friend of mine, Annemarie Rawlinson, http://www.anart.net/  each year paints flat rocks with words that are meaningful to select from. Then around the holiday season, she offers each of her friends the selection to choose from. The rocks are "painted" with simple Sharpie pens that come in different colors - generally the word, which might be outlined in black and painted inside with a different color and this charming little simple flower.  The white or perhaps light gray area around the word and under the flower is a natural coloring that is in the rock. There is more of this marking on the back side. Isn't this a great idea to help you remember what is the key theme of your life in the New Year?

The second thing I do is to write my goals/affirmations for the coming year.  Now a goal would be something like "I will find a new job that is exciting and meaningful in the New Year."  Nothing wrong with that, but I combine this with my affirmations: "Many exciting and meaningful opportunities open up for me in the New Year."  Write it as if it is already the real deal, for in reality it is!  All that you can dream, all that you can imagine for yourself, is within you right now.

Now, having finished this list (and there is no limitation on how many goals/affirmations you can have), we are ready to move onto the next stage.  This next stage is important because it again gives you something to look at and remind yourself every single day about the things you have set out as important.  This is the Visioning part, where you get yourself a pretty poster board in the color of your choice, and get some good magazines with great photos that appeal to you (make them ones that have photography or art subjects so that you have a very good variety as this will be important as you begin. You will also need some scissors and a good glue stick. And of course have your goals/affirmations handy.  Now look at a goal, and then look through the magazines until you find a picture or pictures that seem to express that goal for you. Do this for all of your goals/affirmations until you have filled your page with images.  You don't need to use any words, though if there are any in your pictures that are appropriate, good for you.  You will put this up somewhere where you will look at it every single day and it will help you remember what you have set forth, and you will find that you are making progress toward your goals quicker than you can imagine.

Some additional things you can do. Copy each of your cards onto a small card like an index card or smaller card that you can carry around in your pocket, purse, or wallet. Make it a point to reread these every single day, rain or shine. Review them to see which ones you have achieved or are making progress in, and write a list of the ones you have accomplished. Stop and reflect on these and be sure to acknowledge yourself and spend some time in gratitude.

If you have never tried this approach before give it a go. I have a piece of writing by Goethe to share with you that I also keep up on my wall all the time, and it is so true - every word.  This is titled:

Until One is Committed

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
The chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (& creation),
There is one elementary truth—the ignorance
Of which kills countless ideas & splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves, too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that
Would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents
& meetings & material assistance,
which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can,
Begin it.  Boldness has genius, power
And magic in it.  Begin it now. - Goethe

I wish you all the very best life has to offer for the New Year and all the years to follow. No matter who you are or where you are from or what you believe, you can make THIS your very best year ever!  Peace, light and many blessings, Annie always