Community//

3 Simple Steps to Make Your New Year’s Intentions Happen

For real, this time.

Emily Fletcher, founder of Ziva Meditation. Photo by Kathryn Page.

We’re just over a month into 2018 and I’m curious to know — how many of the things from your vision board do you have a strategy in place for? Be honest. What of your big goals have made their way to your weekly calendar? From my experience there are two camps around this time of year: going strong and hanging by a thread.

Maybe you didn’t quite get around to setting any intentions or making a vision board during the craziness of the holidays, or maybe you feel such a sense of failure around previous year’s resolutions that you’re sure the universe is conspiring against you. If that’s you, I know that’s a tough spot to be in, and I am thrilled to share with you three simple steps to make your New Year’s intentions happen (for real, this time).

Celebrate your successes

“You can’t build on top of success you don’t acknowledge” is one of my favorite quotes from my friend Dallas Travers. I want you to really let that sink in. How can you progress if you don’t know where you are succeeding? My guess is that you are probably pretty clear on your shortcomings over the last year, which is why I created “Finish Strong, Start Stronger.” This exercise is meant to highlight your successes from 2017 so you can build on them from a place of enthusiasm and pride versus a place of fear and lack.

This guided exercise is designed to help you not only build on your successes but get crystal clear about what you want to achieve in 2018. You can even use this “Design Your Dream 2018″ worksheet to help you along the way.

Make a different kind of vision board

A vision board is quite simply a visual representation of the desires that you got specific on in step one. Now it’s time for the fun part. I recommend making sure you have a good chunk of time (one-to-two hours) and gather some materials for this step: some poster board, double-sided tape, magazine cutouts, photos, and mementos that inspire will be great. I would also be sure to print out anything you can’t find (if there’s a specific podcast you want to be a guest on, or a particular neighborhood you want to move to). Make it a real art project and let nature and creativity flow through you.

My favorite vision boarding tip might go against everything you have ever heard on the subject, but what I recommend is that after you spend the time creating it — you hide it. You don’t need it anymore because you have already “placed the order at the cosmic restaurant.” After you order your food in a restaurant you don’t keep pointing at the menu every time the waitress walks by. You don’t keep telling her how hungry you are, or asking to see the chef; you trust that your order has been placed and that it is on the way to you. The same is true of your intentions.

Get serious about habit-building

As Marie Forleo says, “If it isn’t scheduled, it won’t get done.” So schedule it. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it because you respect yourself. You can move it if you need, but make it a priority to show up for your dreams, and not just your to-do list. When you make yourself a priority you build integrity with yourself, which has a beautiful domino effect on the rest of your life.

Next, get yourself some accountability. It could be a writing partner, an acting partner, a meditation buddy, or a workout buddy. You could also make a wager. Let’s say you want to start a blog, and you want to have it up and running by the end of the year. Write a check for whatever amount has some significance to you, and give it to your friend. By the end of the year, if it isn’t created, your friend gets to deposit that check.

If you have a tendency to feel like the universe is conspiring against you when things aren’t going your way, then if you only take one thing from this article let it be this: When you show up for yourself, the universe shows up for you. I recently learned a new word and it sums up this concept brilliantly. The word is: “Pronoia.” Pronoia is the opposite of paranoia; the belief that nature is conspiring to shower us with blessings at all times. Have you ever heard that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile? Think of focusing on pronoia instead of paranoia just like that: It takes even less effort to believe that nature wants us to have our desires than it does to live in fear of them never happening.

Real mastery comes into play when you manage to take daily inspired action towards your goals without getting attached to the outcome. The truth is that your happiness does not lie on the other side of any of your desires or achievements. Our bliss and fulfillment only exist in one time, and that is right now. It can be hard to have a visceral understanding of this until you have a daily meditation practice, so I invite you to explore finding one works for you.

If you feel inspired, please join me at Ziva in NYC or LA for a free “Intro to meditation” talk, or learn from anywhere in the world with our brand new online meditation training, zivaONLINE.

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