Photo by Denys Nevozahl
My favourite time of the year is the week between Christmas Day and New Years Day. Everything slows down (for almost everyone), there is no set schedule and one day merges into the next. It is messy and unclear and those days ignite a desire for just the opposite — order and clarity. Luckily, January 1st is only around the corner, promising a fresh start. If you do anything in the next week, promise yourself at least an hour alone at a coffee shop with just you and your notebook. Reflect on the year that has passed and allow yourself to dream for the coming year and the years to come. And write it all down.
This year has been a year of big changes for me. It has been a year of accelerated growth, clarity and personal empowerment. And as I reflect back, I realize that there are certain factors that brought me to where I am now, poised to take on 2019 prepared and with enthusiasm and excitement.
Goal-setting as an exercise is all well and good, but it can feel futile and unfulfilling if you aren’t getting to the heart of the matter. Which is really, getting to YOUR heart. If you’re living mostly on the surface, how do you even know what you want?
This is what I learned this year — you can’t get clear on your true desires and purpose until you’ve positioned yourself to receive those messages.
So how do you get to the bottom of your heart’s desires?
Here are five tips to get you there (they worked for me!):
1. Listen up when your inner voice speaks.
How often do we ignore our internal voice? The one that tells us we need a change, that we want something more, that we are coasting instead of growing or just surviving instead of thriving? DO NOT IGNORE THAT VOICE. If you ignore that voice, all the goal-setting and even goal-attaining in the world won’t make you happier or more fulfilled. Your internal voice is your spirit and soul guiding you towards more. It is showing you the first few steps on a new path. Instead of shutting it up, shine a big fat light on it. Start by sharing the message of your internal voice with a trusted friend or even just in your journal. (For more on listening to your inner voice, read this.)
2. Be on the lookout for Guides.
This has been the year of guides for me. Several incredible, powerful, inspiring women have either come newly into my life or stepped into the light to offer me their wisdom, love, and support. They’ve held up a mirror that I’ve been surprised and amazed to look into. This year, keep a keen eye out for your guides. Nurture your relationships with them. Appreciate them not just as people in your “network” but as precious members of your inner circle that know you, see you and only want to see you achieve and grow.
3. Move quickly on your instincts.
My husband and I were discussing recently how many of us are completely disconnected from our intuition (also referred to as our inner voice above). We get a feeling about someone or something or a nudge to act or do and we dismiss it over and over again. Every time we do this, we are telling our instincts they are full of it and that they should stay in a dark corner, when we really want them to be on our shoulder, shouting in our ear. The next time you get an inclination to do something — call someone, sign up for a workshop, connect with someone new over coffee, act on it right away. Try using the 5-Second Rule, a nifty tool coined by Mel Robbins that prompts you to countdown 5–4–3–2–1 and then propel yourself into action.
Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next. — Jonas Salk
4. Invest in yourself.
Sometimes I think about my tuition, for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I think about the thousands and thousands of dollars that went into filling my mind with facts and knowledge that I frankly, barely use. Of course, I do believe there is value in traditional education. But why is it that we easily accept that investment is a given but then later in life bring investing in our education and ourselves to a grinding halt? If anything, we should be accelerating our learning as we experience life and get to know ourselves and our world better. This year, take a course, listen to podcasts, hire a coach, go on a retreat, attend that workshop and/or read tons of books (always have a list going). The greatest investment you can make is in your own growth and development.
5. Expand your circle.
As I write this last thought, I’m realizing that all of these five ideas come down to creating an environment for growth. Growth comes from internal nudges, from external information, knowledge and wisdom and also from surrounding ourselves with people that represent or show us aspects of the person we want to grow into. This year, commit to stepping outside of your circle…or better yet, to holding out your hand and gently pulling someone in to yours.
You deserve to have an amazing year and an amazing life. I wish you the courage to dig deep, unearth your dreams, say them out loud and go skipping wildly and joyfully after them. Happiest new year!!