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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Loud Lady :: Creating New Year's Goals that Last (A Guest Post by Casee Marie of Literary Inklings)


Hello, Loud Ladies! I'm Casee Marie, I write about books at Literary Inklings and I also share reflections on living with courage at CaseeMarie.com. I'm so grateful to Steph for inviting me to stop by and discuss end-of-year inspirations.

New Year's is such a complex time of deep feelings and big dreams. Sometimes it can be difficult to navigate. We might be on fire with the openness of the future before us, or we might be brought down by the rough year we're leaving behind. Ultimately, the New Year's holiday can take us in any number of directions, and the goals we set can be powerful, or they can be forgotten by January 2nd. My process for handling New Year's is mainly to check in with the many feelings that come up as best I can. So today I wanted to share some of my tips for invoking a bit of personal ceremony into the season of new beginnings.

Set a meaningful scene.
As I write this, I'm sitting in my favorite corner of my home, surrounded by books, writing to the light of a Christmas tree, with some quiet music and a warm cup of tea to help me tune in as I contemplate the remarkable process of transitioning from one year into another. Get into the vibe of you, whatever that looks and feels like; make your process of reflection and goal-setting into something of a ritual.

Revisit your 2014 self.
I think it's so important to approach your New Year's goal-setting with a positive perspective of your current self. It sets a more inspiring inner-dialogue that will actually be helpful. I like to get creative with my reflections; it's an opportunity to allow creativity to get active and be seen so fear can step back and relax. Maybe make a playlist of songs that draw up memories of your past year, and listen to it while you look through photos, reminisce with family and friends, or read journal entries from the year past.

Discover your 2015 inspirations.
With the inspiring inner-dialogue set and the positive reflections fresh in mind, approach your inspirations for the new year. You may want to create a vision board (I did this last year), or perhaps a secret Pinterest board. (Keeping it secret will keep it free from influence to start – you can always make it public later. Also, don't pin anything fitness-related. Be a bit more vague. Metaphorical, even. This is about your essence.) Maybe do a free-write in your journal with adjectives on top of adjectives describing how you want to feel in 2015. Contemplate what speaks to you and why.

Ask yourself what you can let go of.
Often we can add to our lives just by letting go of what doesn't serve us. Be realistic, and be open-hearted. Consider everything – make a list of the feelings, activities, people, and relationships that you feel burdened by, the ones that you think will cause you continued struggle and little joy in the coming year. Ask yourself what you can forgive, what you can work with, and what you can release.

Set your goals.
The most important thing is that you set your goals from a place of compassionate encouragement. Let your dreams be rooted in loving kindness. Base them on your motivation for cultivating a happier 2015. Last year, I dropped "Lose ten more pounds" from my list and added "Nurture courage". I replaced "Wake up earlier" with "Choose love over fear". I filled a page of my journal with goals like this, and I'm able to say that I consistently tried to live from that list.

Handle with care.
Remind yourself that it’s okay to go slow, to start small, to take your time. Be gentle and be kind to yourself. It may help to make one of your goals a monthly check-in with that very place of simple self-compassion you've tapped into. Draw consistently from that place. Make a goal to nurture the positive discoveries you've made about yourself. But whatever you do, do it with all your heart and do it because you mean it. Then welcome your 2014 self - who may be a bit worse for wear - into the new year with all the love you can muster. She deserves it!

Casee Marie is a reader, writer and blogger on a mission to cultivate quiet courage and simple joy. She has a passion for animals, tea, British TV, French films, and telling stories that engage the heart and encourage curiosity. This post is in support of my new program for 2015, Loud Ladies.
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