Head vs. Heart
If you think about most New Year’s resolutions, they’re
usually head decisions, or things you think you should do. For
example, let’s look at the most common New Year’s resolution:
losing weight. Most people want to lose weight because they don’t
feel good about the way they look, or they’re concerned about
their health. So, the emotions that drive the resolution are guilt
and fear: you feel guilty about having gained weight and are afraid
that unless you take action, it’ll get worse. So, you embark
on a plan of healthy eating, and after a few days, lo and behold,
you start to feel better. That’s great… except, what
happens to the fear and guilt? Well, because you’ve taken
steps to address the issue, they diminish too. And as these emotions
fade, so does the emotional energy that was moving you forward.
Result? You fall off the wagon!
Intentions are different because they come from the heart, rather
than the head. Rather than getting tossed aside as do so many resolutions,
intentions are held close to the heart, and nurtured every day.
An intention addresses the whole of you, rather than just the part.
It uses the energy of love, rather than fear and guilt. And it
moves you toward what you want to create, rather than away from
what you don’t.
What’s Stopping You?
Perhaps you already find yourself struggling with your resolution
for the New Year. Or maybe you didn’t make one at all. If
that’s the case, you can choose to start fresh and make today the beginning of your new year (it is your prerogative, you know!)
But that means that first, you need to make space for what you
want to create by discovering what’s holding you back.
Start by taking some time and thinking about what particular intention
you’d like to set for yourself. Then, rather than just stopping
there, think about how your life will be different when you achieve
that intention. What would you have? How would you feel? What would
your relationships, with yourself and others, be like? Immerse
yourself in visualizing your world as you would like it to be…see
it, feel it, experience it. Then notice….is there any resistance?
Any fear? Any door that might open once your goal is achieved that
stops you dead in your tracks?
When my client Tricia did this exercise, she was quite surprised.
Like many, she had been struggling with her weight, and her goal
was to finally get healthy in the New Year. But when she did this
exercise, she discovered that the issue was about much more. As
she visualized herself at her perfect weight, she experienced herself
as confident enough to move into the leadership position she desired
at work. And, almost immediately she realized how afraid she was
to take this step! Even though she knew she was capable, she became
aware that she would constantly diminish herself at work, and find
excuses not to volunteer for tasks she knew would advance her career.
And, she realized, she used her weight as a way to hide and avoid
Out With The Old…
So, do this exercise as a way of discovering if your have any
resistance to making the positive change you desire. What is the
present situation, unchanged, allowing you to do? What is it letting
you avoid? Once you make the change, what circumstances or relationships
in your life would also shift? How do you feel about this? What
you’re doing here is acknowledging the things that are holding
you back, rather than letting them creep up and sabotage you. This
also allows you to put words to your fears so that you can let
I learned about a wonderful way to do this from a client who attended
a local Unity church. Every year, she told me, on the first Sunday
in January, they have what they call a “burning bowl ceremony.” Each
person writes down on a piece of paper what fear, or what aspect
of themselves they would like to let go of in the upcoming year.
Then, each member files up and tosses the paper into a burning
bowl, with the intention of releasing it.
So, go ahead and have your own “burning bowl ceremony,” and
start off your year by letting go of any old, outmoded ways of
being that no longer serve you, and the life you intend to create!
…and In With The New
Now that you’ve cleared some space, let’s talk about
some new habits that will nurture your intention this year. First,
let’s go back to the visualization you did. You want to keep
that vision of yourself alive, and the best way to do that is to
keep reinforcing it. As soon as you wake up in the morning, and
just before you go to sleep at night, imagine yourself having already achieved your intention. Feel the feelings, and see and hear the
sights and sounds of satisfied accomplishment, in as much detail
as possible. Be sure to also acknowledge and breathe into any resistance,
or fear, that may still be there. The more you do this, the more
natural this new state of being will become.
Remember: everything we achieve starts with our thoughts, and
what you are doing is beginning this process by consciously growing
the seeds to your new way of being.
Until next time…