Happy New Year!

2010 not only ushers in a new year, it is also the beginning of a new decade. 2009 was a rough year for many people and several clients and friends shared with me their relief that it is over. From economic hardship to illness and relationship challenges, some folks were put through the wringer.

Before you get busy making your New Year’s intentions, I challenge you to pause and reflect on 2009. It is easy to get excited about making a new start and plan everything you want to change, hoping for more fulfillment in the new year.  While intentions can be really helpful, they can also be an excuse to escape the present reality and project a future that might not even be the one you really want.

I am going to suggest a more sustainable and honest way to create change for the new year.

1. Reflect on your journey. A lot happened last year. You might experienced some losses or accomplished something incredible. Or both. Everything that happened (positive or negative) got you to this very moment in your life. And this moment is the launching pad for the next 525, 948 minutes of 2010.

If you are too busy focusing on what comes next without really acknowledging where you are right now, you might have a pretty big gap (maybe even one that is difficult to hurdle) between where you are and where you want to be.

2. Acknowledge what you have learned. You grew last year. You are wiser and know things you didn’t know before. Even the really difficult experiences expanded you in some way. Make a list (right now) of everything you learned last year. Once you have done that, look at how you can apply your new tools to the new year.

3. Get to know the you of 2009. Who were you last year? In your proud moments and in the ones that took you to your knees, what kind of person were you being? We often get so caught up in what we have or what we can do, we forget that our biggest asset is actually who we are.

Take a few minutes to write a paragraph describing yourself last year. If you were a compassionate witness observing yourself, what would you say about the person you were in 2009?

4. What comes next? Now that you know where you have come from, what you have learned and who you were last year, allow yourself to be very curious about your next steps. Do you like the path this current you is forging? Would you like to change directions? If so, what is the easiest and most natural way to do so?

This process will help you create intentions that are more sustainable and authentic than the typical new year’s resolutions! Drop me a line or leave a comment and share what you learned from this exercise!