But How: Rethinking Resolutions
About the “But How” Series
There are a plethora of quotes or directions or spirituality online—“vibrate higher,” they say, let go of your doubts. But how?! This series will provide you with baby steps towards achieving inner peace through working with your inner child and its inherent boundless joy.
Let’s be real: Resolutions are not really my cup of tea. Year after year I watch friends make them, promptly forget about them, let life take its course and voila! Not much has changed.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It actually is possible to make resolutions that stick, that inspire, and that bring you joy. Changing your life doesn’t have to feel like hard work, after all. Instead, it can be as simple as the shift of learning to check-in with your energy when it’s at its most vibrant. Then, you can simply feel into what areas of your life need fulfillment and make actionable goals with according mantras or mindful reminders that are in alignment with this true self. By the end of this 15 minute exercise you’ll feel fully equipped to handle the shifting energetic tides of New Year’s and beyond. Let’s dive in!
The thing is, resolutions are like the scones of the spiritual world: prepare them incorrectly and it’s a disaster – a dense, hockey puck in your mouth lacking flavor or substance. Prepare them right, though, and they’re pillows of buttery, flaky goodness that caress your tongue, putting a pep in your step to approach your day ahead. The point is that good resolutions require a recipe. That recipe must begin, of course, with intention. To find your intention, you must first tap in and feel (not think) your way into what it is about your life that needs changing.
Begin by standing up and shaking each of your limbs for about 20 seconds each then swinging your hips around in circles, moving your head side to side, etc. The goal here is to loosen up any stagnant energy in the body so you can begin to channel it. It doesn’t have to be high-energy like you’re a 90s teen at a rave; go at whatever speed is right for your body. If your body doesn’t allow this, you can visualize doing it or skip on ahead.
After about 2 minutes of getting loose, hold your hands in front of your heart, palms facing each other but not touching. Feel the energy course through them and between them for about 30 seconds. Then place one hand onto your heart and the other onto your low belly, breathing slowly for another 30 seconds. This exercise will get you in tune with your source energy AKA your true nature. It is only from here that you should set intentions.
Now, make a list of areas of your life on a piece of paper. Include things like Career, Romantic Relationships, Friendship, Spirituality, Physical Health, Finances, Hobbies, etc. Next to each category write down how satisfied you feel with this area of your life in terms of a percentage. For example, next to Career you might say 60%, Spirituality might read 75%, Physical Health is at 20% and so on. The trick is to do this quickly, trusting your gut and not overthinking it. Even if you don’t have a working relationship with one category, such as Romantic Relationship, engage with it and rate it still.
Once this is complete, find the two or three categories with the lowest scores. Note: it’s important here not to judge these categories – we all have shit that falls by the wayside; it’s chill and you’re taking active steps towards bettering yourself right now so cowabunga!
Now, for each of these categories, I want you to first write down a mantra. The mantra is the visual, tangible iteration of the intention we have been loosely speaking of so this is a critical step. The mantra should be simple and make you feel joy when you speak it aloud so keep it positive. It should also be written as an affirmation that puts you into the energy of what you desire for yourself.
For example, if one of your low scores is in Finances you might write, “I am abundant” rather than “I will work really hard to make more money.” The difference here is that repeating to yourself that you are abundant puts you in the mindset of abundance while the second mantra puts keeps you in the mindset of lack. In its openness, it allows you to see what you may already be abundant in, such as a good family or a supportive office space. These will be your anchors in encouragement as you aim for your goals.
Now that you have your intentions and your mantras, you can set your goals. We're not talking your typical New Year's Resolution type goals either, fam. We all know those are notoriously idealistic and ungrounded. Instead, we're talking real actionable goals. Instead of "Lose 20 pounds by 2020," write down "Run 3x/week" and/or "Limit myself to one dessert per/week." Instead of "Find love," write down "Go on one date every two weeks" or, better yet, "Reach out to cutie from house party last Saturday night." This way, you can hold yourself accountable and, if you don't meet said goal, you can easily assess what went wrong. Remember, you can always rework a goal if it turned out to be too lofty, but the important thing is to stay honest and on top of your progress. At the end of the day, after all, you can’t think your way towards changes; you have to physically take action towards your highest energetic vibration.
And this is, of course, where people typically go wrong. We make goals that put our progress in the hands of others (i.e. “I’m going to get a promotion”) without considering how we can contribute to what we desire. In other words, we don’t make a plan to get there. Actionable goal setting rights this downfall by not only giving you real steps towards your goal but also by putting you into alignment with the things you want energetically. If we make a goal that says “I will ask for a performance review with my boss” and then set goals based on that meeting instead, we’re moving in the right direction by linking it with your actions! When we do this, we not only are actually inching towards our goals but we are also sending a message to the universe that says “Hey, look at me showing some initiative over here!” This, in turn, allows those engaged in your goal to have a reaction towards your goal.
Once you’ve written your mantra and set these goals, it’s up to you to get going. Above all else, your goals and your mantra should be fun for you. They should spark joy and make you feel accomplished, radiant, and like you are progressing towards your ideal self. And the good news is, if they aren’t doing just that, you can totally switch it up at any time. Keep checkingin with your energy and you can’t go wrong!