We, humans, are funny creatures. We often spend way too much time berating ourselves for failures, no matter how minor, while ignoring our successes. This is a good time of the year to objectively take an inventory of 2018, so that we can create an even better 2019. And plan to B.E. — W.I.L.D in 2019 with our eyes looking forward toward living an even more passionate life.
B. Be Grateful. One practice that works like magic in opening us up to all sorts of amazing possibilities in our lives is that of having gratitude. Be thankful for whatever gifts you already have in your life and what successes, big or small, you have achieved along your path in 2018. Focusing attention on what we feel thankful for, not only puts us into a more inspired and energized state of mind in order to create more of what we want, but it even changes our reality. As Oprah says, “What you focus on expands.” Take some time to write down all that you’re grateful for in your life and all of your achievements in 2018. Take a look at my blog, Having an Attitude of Gratitude: What Are You Thankful For?, for more benefits of gratitude and some tips to the practice of gratitude.
E. You Are and You Have Enough. Similar to having an attitude of gratitude, taking an inventory of where we are and where we want to be from a perspective of knowing that we are already enough is quite magical in enabling us to create more of what we want and to have the inspiration and passion to follow our dreams. If we come from a place of feeling that we’re not good enough until we achieve our goals, then we’re coming from a place of lack and this state of mind will undermine our ability to feel vitality and joy as we pursue our dreams. That is like trying to drive a car to our destination merely on fumes rather than Grade A fuel. Knowing that we are already enough and that we already have enough gives us the confidence to dream big and stay on the path toward our dreams, even during the rougher parts of the journey. Check out my blog, 9 Ways To Be Good To Yourself — Starting Today, for some how-to’s for achieving this state of self-love and feeling like enough.
W. What Inspires You? Reassess your goals. Are they really your passionate dreams or are they just what you think you’re supposed to be doing…or what someone else thinks you’re supposed to be doing? In setting your goals for the year ahead, consider what inspires you. If you set goals that are inspiring, such inspiration will be what lights the way along your path. As I wrote in my book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age, “A commonly held perception is that dreaming and following your dreams are both for the young. However, logic points to the contrary. After you’ve had life experience, after you’ve raised your family, or after you’ve worked in the career that was your calling when you were younger, you have a much better idea about what you would now find fulfilling and what gifts you have to offer.” What makes your heart quicken or feel full when you imagine doing it? Allowing yourself to feel the sensations of various possibilities will give you a better idea of what it is that actually inspires you.
I. Create Clear Intentions. Now, clearly write down your intentions for what you’d like to achieve in 2019. Say them aloud to a friend as a promise, rather than a “New Year’s resolution” that is forgotten by February. Then, review your intentions. Be open to being flexible and allowing them to change and evolve as the scenery changes while on your journey. What is the underlying reason for this goal or intention? Make that reason your number one intention. Having clear intentions throughout each and every day is essential for us to get into the flow of life and to reach our full potential. Often, I state my intentions for the day to myself when I first get out of bed. This includes intentions for that day such as accomplishing what needs to be done during the day, easily and joyfully, and to do my best to bring joy to whomever I come into contact with. This fills my day with purpose and meaning no matter what’s in store. I also re-write my larger goals or intentions and remind myself of them throughout the day to keep (or to get back) on track. This is especially helpful when I’m not feeling at my best because these moments usually indicate that I’ve begun to veer off course.
L. Let Your Imagination Run Wild. I often took long walks with my dad when he was alive. He would buy a lottery ticket along the way and then ask me, “What would you do if you won the lottery and you had all the money you needed to do whatever you wanted? Just let your imagination run wild!” I invite you to think about this question as a way to discover your true passion…your dream. And I invite you to let your imagination run wild, letting yourself see and feel as if you’re already living your dream. Really feel it, all of the excitement of it, and all of the joy. Practice feeling this feeling, daily, using your imagination. It will remind you about the why of your intention and will re-inspire you when your goal seems too difficult or too distant. At the same time, be open to new possibilities that unfold for you along your path in the coming year. If you’re rigid in your expectations of what must be, you’ll wind up at the end of 2019 feeling frustrated because things rarely turn out exactly the way we expect. And you’ll likely close yourself off to even better possibilities than you’re capable of imagining from where you’re sitting right now. That’s why imagining the feeling is the most powerful part of this exercise.
D. Determine to Take at Least One Step Per Day. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” said Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching. If you were to take just one step, big or small, every day toward your dream, imagine how far you would go within a year. One step might mean a phone call to connect with someone who can help you in your goals. It might mean signing up for a class that will teach you the skills you need to achieve your goal. It might mean writing a paragraph or a page or a chapter of the book you’re going to publish. Or it might mean spending time in nature, sitting in meditation, eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, spending time with positive people, or laughing, in order to put you on a healthier path, a very important part of living a passionate life. Check out my Huffington Post blog from 2015, 10 Tips For Riding Life’s Ups and Downs, for some more powerful steps.
For now, I wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Passionate New Year. I’ll meet you back here in 2019 with my series of tips to stay on track toward living your Passionate Life.
In Peace & Joy,
Check out Dr. Mara’s internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age!
Living the Passionate Life- Online Course will be launching in February 2019!