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There’s always so much talk about New Years Resolutions in January.  I stopped doing resolutions a number of years ago, but didn’t really replace it with anything.  Resolutions usually mean that something’s wrong with you or something’s wrong with how you’re doing something, and it needs to be fixed.  It’s also more often than not, a platform from which we feel guilt and shame when we don’t achieve the thing(s) that we resolved to do.  It is very result oriented and usually ends in failure, causing you to feel worse than before you made the resolution!  I prefer intentions rather than resolutions.  Intentions have more flexibility and don’t tie us into a certain outcome.  It’s about being more mindful and aware of something you want to bring into your life.  By creating and really being aware throughout the day of your intention, there is more likelihood of you manifesting it.

In one of my workshops I encourage women to think about something that they want, and really why they want it.  Then post it on a note that you look at everyday.  My intention is to manage stress.  That sounds lovely, but to really make an intention beneficial, you need to go a little deeper.  I want to be able to manage stress better so that I can be the best version of myself and achieve what I want to do.  There will be more ease in my life and it will make everything (and everyone!) a bit easier.  While I practice gratitude in the morning (more on that below) and mindfulness in the day, my intention is to change up (or improve) specifically my morning ritual to include stretching and a morning meditation that includes affirmations.  I have this posted on my mirror and look at it everyday.  I find this the easiest way to make a change.  You could try this with so many things.  Another example is to drink more water. Think about why you want to drink more water, and not just because you know you should!  Do you want to get more energy, improve your skin, boost your immune system, flush out toxins??  For sure!  Post it where you will see it and look at it everyday.  Setting, writing out, and looking at your intention often (or at least morning and night) will help you to make it happen.  Give it a try if you haven’t already!

In an Instagram post I did earlier this month, I mentioned how 2017 started out.  I was very excited and had the idea that I was going to “celebrate” everything and jot down the good things that happened each week and put it in a nicely decorated jar.  Then within that first week my Mom passed away and suddenly everything changed.  The special jar got thrown into a drawer.  It didn’t seem to apply anymore.  It was definitely a hard year, though it got a little better in the second half.  Some good things happened for my Dad, myself, and my family.  Though we missed her everyday (and still do), and tears sometimes happen, there were things to be happy about.

In January 2017 the thought of being grateful for anything was tough.  Because I had a foundation in mindfulness, as well as gratitude, I slowly brought it back into my days.  It is actually amazing what habitual gratitude can do for you. Many people who practice gratitude write it down daily.  I think that’s awesome!  I actually don’t write it down, but it’s part of my morning ritual.  Every morning I step outside (I just peek my head out when it’s -25 as it was recently)!  I take several deep abdominal breaths and think about at least three things that I’m grateful for.  It could be as simple as my warm robe and a sunny day.  Or it might be the family that I’ve been blessed with.  It might be the fact that I’m able to run and jump and be physically active.  Whatever it is that I think about, I don’t just list the thing quickly. I really think about “why”.  For example, I’m grateful that I can be physically active … because it allows me to spend time with my family and friends doing activities I love to do.  Gratitude not only makes us happier, it makes us more resilient, it makes us stronger emotionally.  (Okay, I’m still going to be an emotional, empathetic person. That won’t go away. But I’ll be more resilient in dealing with the things that come my way).  It also improves self esteem and lowers the risk of depression.  It even heightens our immune system, decreases blood pressure, and helps us sleep better.  Often, we tend to focus on the negative, or things that aren’t as we’d wish.  Changing the focus and adding more gratitude into our days is definitely a win-win!