How to Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet: Reflection Before Resolution

Whoooaaaah! THAT was fast…2011 was an amazing year for me. But true to form, it rather flew by my busy body. Being only a few days from 2012, I have an increasing awareness of how many people (including myself) are making plans for 2012 in earnest: vacations, projects, and the good ol’ New Year Resolutions.

But wait a minute…

Before we make those plans, it’s vital that we ask ourselves, “How do I avoid the annoying habit of making the same mistakes over and over again? How can I avoid missing the opportunities that allow me to create the life of my dreams? What did I do beautifully and what can I learn from that?”

To enter into 2012 consciously and creatively, there is real importance in reflecting upon what the hoo-ha just happened during the past 12 months! Without taking the time to go inward and sincerely understand what we have just experienced, our perceptions and judgements of the past year as well as our goals and visions for the next year are often misdirected. So many of us come up with resolutions and visions that sound great, yet many of these are ill-fated from the get go, having been made “sub”-consciously without much reflection on what our root needs or causes are.

In the hustle and bustle of this transition, stopping to reflect on 2011 can help us create AUTHENTIC visions, goals, and resolutions – ones that resonate with us at our core, ones that honor our true needs and values…ones that count! In addition, it helps set us up for success in our goals.

When we take the time to learn from our past experiences and get clear about our values and how we want to live them, we are able to avoid making the same mistakes, and our visions and goals resonate with us more deeply. We are more motivated because we can FEEL how they matter to us, and thus we are more likely to achieve them.

Here are four sets of questions to set you in motion towards making 2012 the most conscious, creative, wild and free year yet!

  • What am I most proud of in the past year? What are my greatest celebrations? In other words, in which moments was I most clearly and fully living my values?
  • What were my greatest challenges? What patterns have I noticed that I have in those challenges?
  • Who and/or what was most supportive of my journey this past year? Have I acknowledged them for this? If not, how can I do this?
  • What are some of the things I can (and NEED to) let go of from 2011, such as judgements, expectations, and perspectives that no longer serve me? I highly recommend writing these down one pieces of paper and burning them in a campfire or other ceremonial fire. There’s something very symbolic, cleansing and releasing about seeing the flames engulf them and turn them into smoke. Poof! Gone!

Intention Instead of Resolution

When we set intentions, the Universe starts to shift and line up to help us make it all happen. For me, resolutions seem to imply a struggle…something you stick to “no matter what.” “Resolve” is necessary and you “better be ready for the fight!”

As an alternative, I suggest you enter into 2012 by setting an intention(s). This way, you ask for and receive help from the Universe to help you achieve your vision, and you don’t start off with the expectation that it will be a struggle. Challenges are different from struggles. They can even be fun and stimulating! In setting intentions, you know and trust that you create your life (see the December Ziji Up! 30-Day Challenge for a great “mantra” about this!).

In setting your intention for 2012, be VERY CLEAR! This means getting as juicily detailed as possible with:

1) How you want to BE/FEEL (I am confident, relaxed, content, a supportive partner…)
2) What you want to be DOING and (I work only 4 days a week and take long weekends once a month to visit somewhere new…)
3) What you want to HAVE (I have a loving dog, a comfortable home with lots of light…)

Write about how you want to feel, go into detail about what your perfect days look like. Write from what is possible, and in the PRESENT tense (e.g. “I feel blessed when I wake up with a smile on my face as I take in the beautiful view coming into my bedroom window. Love fills my heart as I walk downstairs and see my partner’s face”).

If you have a specific goal in mind, drop into what it would be like to have that, here and now, and what things look like around you, what your body feels like, what the weather is like outside, who you’re with…Go for it! Get specific, and remember not to focus so much on the “what,” but rather on how it feels to embody/have the “what.” Feeling registers more with your being…and thus the Universe (which is always on your side!).

I find many people focus on a “what” such as “more money” or “less weight” rather than on the feelings of having the “whats,” such as “abundance, contentment, and ease” or feeling “healthy, sexy, and fit.” Feeling these things is ultimately what we’re after anyway! Drop into the feeling, and rest will follow more easily, as our feelings are clearer than words (especially in my case!). Having said that, it is also important to be very specific about the “what” when you do describe it (e.g. not just “I have lost weight” but “I have lost 15 pounds”).

For more ideas about how to do this, check out the free Ziji Life Getting Clear eBook.

After getting clearer about your visions and intentions, ask yourself these questions (inspired from a friend and colleague, Christopher Kuntsch):

  • What do I want to cultivate in my life to move closer to those visions – to what I see is possible?
  • How will I need to grow? What skills, competencies, and qualities do I feel inspired to develop and nurture in myself? How will I do this? What support do I need?

Word of the Year

If that is too much for you (or if you simply want more!), then after taking some time with the earlier Reflection questions, pick ONE WORD that will set the theme for 2012. My business coach, Christine Kane, reminds her clients to do this every year, and I’d love to pass on this tradition to you.

Last year, one of my clients chose the word “release.” She had a habit of holding on: to objects, to grudges, to expectations. She wanted her next year to be about more readily letting go to allow her more freedom inwardly and outwardly.

What do you want 2012 to be about for you…in one word? Sometimes, simplifying things into one word requires – and allows – us to dive deeper into the root of what it is we are currently seeking or needing to move closer to a state of balance, fulfillment, and freedom.

Life is short. It is never too late. Do it now. Be it now. Live it now. Ziji Up! Have an outrageously fulfilling 2012 living your Ziji Life! I’m rooting for you!