Making Lasting Changes For The New Year

Contributor: Ashley Neese
Photographer: Saffron & Sage
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Before you go over this list I would take some time to really think about what it is you want for yourself this year. Perhaps you want to listen to your intuition, prepare meals at home, start that home improvement project you have been thinking about for ages, take a trip, establish an exercise routine. Whatever your intentions are it is important to set aside space to look at them deeply. If we are unwilling to give ourselves an hour to contemplate what we want to accomplish this year it is unlikely we will be focused enough to head in that direction.

As a side note, I have give a great deal of thought to setting goals vs setting intentions. I find goal setting to be more narrow in it’s approach which can lead to feeling bad or guilty if a goal is not accomplished. Let’s say I set a goal of drinking green juice every morning. Then life begins to happen, I wake up late one day, travel for a while, cannot make it to the farmers market on Friday. Whatever life stuff happens I find myself off track and not accomplishing my goal. I re-start, fall off, and re-start, but find this process very rigid. I prefer to set intentions which are fluid and offer guidance to how to deal with reality and make adjustments when necessary.  The intention version of this goal could be to drink green juice as many mornings as possible. This frees me up to not feel guilty or like I am “off my program” if I miss a morning of green juice. I can always have it later in the day too and I will not have wasted time and energy beating myself up for not accomplishing a goal. I hope this makes sense to everyone and am very curious about your thoughts on goals and intentions. Feel free to use whatever model works for you, there is no right or wrong here.

After you have come up with your list of intentions (or goals) follow the suggestions below and manifest your dreams ;)


1. Write down your intentions and keep them in a visible place, like taped to your bedroom mirror or the dashboard of your car. (The image above is a post-it that I’ve kept on my desktop for a while now, please excuse the dust! I have been using post-it notes for years to remind myself of intentions as well as for affirmations. And yes, that is part of the inspiring line from one of my all time favorite TV series, Friday Night Lights.)

2. Get to the source of whatever is keeping you in a rut. Are you stressed at your job and feel too tired to exercise after work? Are you spending time with people that bring you down? If you don’t tackle the root of the behavior, it will be much harder to accomplish your goal

3. Be clear about what your life would look like once you achieve your goal. If you resolve to go to the gym more, how will this benefit you? Get connected to the result of your action, and you will be more likely to stick with your plan.

4. Share your resolutions with family and friends. Hold each other accountable for achieving your goals. If you want to go to the gym more, have a friend call you two or three times a week to check on you or invite them to join you.

5. Reward yourself with every little accomplishment. If your intention is to lose weight and you lose 1 pound a week, pamper yourself with a massage, a new book, or a trip to the movies.

Big changes do not require big leaps. Permanent change is more likely to happen gradually than through one big restrictive plan. Allow yourself to climb the ladder one rung at a time.

Happy New Year!