Well, here we are again: at the end of one year and the beginning of another. I don’t know about you, but I always have mixed emotions around this time of the year.
On one hand, I love the energy of the holiday season. I love the excitement and joy that fills the air. I feel it everywhere I go – the newsroom, the stores, even at the gym. It’s like everyone has an elevated level of happiness, cheer and manners – to the point where I don’t even get upset spending my entire paycheck on presents.
One the other hand, I get reflective about my life. I think back to the high and low points of the year. I think about strides I’ve made in my career. I think about family members that have died and the babies that have been born. I think about my spiritual and emotional growth. I think about the state of politics and our place in the world. I wonder where this journey is going and what I am destined for.
This year was a quite a rollercoaster ride. I got engaged. I lost one job and got another. Both of my parents experienced life-threatening health crises. My fiancé lost his mentor. I released my first book and started this blog. There were moments that were exhilarating and happy followed by others that were scary and sad. To say 2017 was a weird one is an understatement. I’m leaving it behind feeling both fragile and empowered. I think this happens to most of us as we get older. We comprehend the fragility of life while feeling more secure and centered about who we are as individuals.
No matter what went down this year, we can’t linger on that for long. That traps you in the ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda.’ Ain’t nobody got time for that! You can’t regret anything because the decisions you made, you made because they were the right decisions for you at the time. The losses you experienced, for the most part, are out of your control. It is only your reactions to losses that you can control. If you didn’t react the way you should have – then you know what you need to work on 2018.
Here’s the great thing about this very moment. This is the time to set your intentions for the next year. To envision how you want to live your life, who you want to be and the dreams you want to make reality. Want 2018 to be abundant? This is the secret to achieving the success you long for.
Here’s the caveat: I don’t believe that wishing for success is enough. While there are many positive aspects about intention-based theories like the Law of Attraction and “The Secret,” the problematic issue I have with both is that they blame failure solely on the purity of a person’s intentions. That just doesn’t jive in a lot of situations. I believe hope and intentions are often the only thing a lot of people have – single moms, men sold in the Libyan slave trade, refugees, young girls who have been human trafficked and orphans. Can you really blame their tragic situations on negative thoughts or lack of intentions? That ideology just rings a bit privileged and preachy to me.
The fact of the matter is, we all experience self-doubt. We all have some level of fear. We all have negative energy floating around in our brains at any given time. This is human nature. While negative thoughts and actions can affect your success, it’s not the only element in play that determines it. Luck, timing and happenstance are very real things.
Here’s what actually works to manifest success: Aligning your thoughts and feeling, (intentions) with actions. By setting your intentions you instantly begin to change the vibrational energy surrounding your dreams. This seemingly insignificant action has been scientifically proven to make a huge impact on your brain’s reticular activating system (RAS). The minute you actively focus on your intentions, your brain’s RAS begins to sift through millions of bits of sensory information and prioritizes those related to your goals. Think about how your computer or phone marks an important email with a red flag. It’s the same thing.
Where the Law of Attraction comes into play is that once we begin to visualize the process and adopt behavioral patterns that prioritize our goals, that attracts us to people, opportunities and situations that are like-minded. Like energy attracts like energy. But what’s really amazing about this phenomenon is that is begins in your brain!
And now – just days before the start of the New Year – is the perfect time to think about what you really want for your life in 2018. Here are three easy ways to start that process and to see it through successfully:
Write Down Your Intentions
This sounds so basic but you’d be amazed how many people don’t know what they want in life because they’ve never allowed themselves to articulate their desires or dream of the possibilities. Taking pen to paper makes you have to acknowledge what goals/desires are most important to you and helps you prioritize them. When everything is written down, the vision of your life and your purpose becomes clearer, quicker.
Tip: My most honest writing happens when I am alone and can be unguarded with my thoughts. Set aside some private time, grab a notebook and your favorite pen and then start writing down all the things you want for yourself. This is the time to dream big! Write each thing in the present tense to assert your ownership and belief in it.
Create An Inspiration Board
I love inspiration boards. I have one in my home office right in front of my desk. Every time I glance up, I see all the happy and uplifting things I have pinned on it. I pin thank you notes, photos of me and my friends, favorite quotes, fashion editorials and trinkets from trips. It may seem silly but this board helps keep my creative juices flowing and reminds me to seek inspiration everywhere.
Tip: Don’t over pin your board to the point of messiness. The whole point is to be able to derive visual inspiration at a glance. If you can’t see any one thing, that will defeat the point. Start with a clean board and when it starts getting cluttered, remove the items that no longer serve as inspiration.
Writing your intentions and creating a mood board only does so much. Seeing your dreams materialize requires you make them a project that is prioritized. This means working on them consistently. When I first started writing my book, I would do my interviews early in the morning before I left for work. I didn’t have a lot of time to spare, but I spent one hour every other morning interviewing experts. Then I would spend the weekends using those interviews to write various chapters. It was a slow grind but after six months, I finished my book.
Tip: Set aside a block of time each week to work on anything that moves your dream closer to reality. That can be 30 minutes, 2 hours, a whole day – whatever you can afford to spend. Little task or big job – doesn’t matter – as long a its project-related: 20 minutes for networking phone calls; 1 hour learning Word Press; 4 hours taking an online class – you get the gist. Don’t stress if you don’t see instant success. Baby steps are still steps forward. You will get to your destination (the adverb for destiny) if you just moving toward it. Remember that.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and successful 2018!