On the Eve of a New Year

It is that time of year we find ourselves thinking of the year ahead. Perhaps, too, of the year we’re leaving.

What have I accomplished?
What have I not?
Where did I succeed?
Where did I falter?
Was I true to my intentions?
Must I find resolve again?

It’s been many years since I set down “resolutions” for myself—those onerous thorns of personal expectation destined to stay with you throughout the year.

I will lose 20 pounds.
I will go to the gym every day.
I will read a book a week.

I squirm at predefined expectations every day, what makes me think I’ll rally to the cause if they’re hidden in the guise of “resolutions”? I won’t.

So each year, now, I simply state my intentions:

to learn
to love
to be open
to welcome change
to be authentic
to follow my purpose
to be better

In my yoga class last week, our instructor asked how we were feeling. “The holidays,” she said, “have a way of making us contract and tighten up.” Then, she led us through an hour of stretching and deep, deep breathing that expanded everything — our muscles, our lungs, our bones, our hearts.

That’s what it should feel like — here at the end of a 12-month cycle of life. No grand expectations. No defined measures of success.

Just a deep, deep breath, stretching and expanding our bones and our hearts so we’re ready, again.

So we’re breathing deeply, inhaling all of the new possibilities of the days and months again.

Happy New Year!

• • •

Photo ©2011, Jen Payne

18 thoughts on “On the Eve of a New Year

Add yours

  1. i like that your list (even tho it was a “list”) said “falter” and not “fail”

    and the intentions, well, they are certainly worth the effort! thanks – have a happy, healthy and creative new year!

    1. Happy New Year to you too! Another year to grow and be the best we can be..one day, one minute at a time!

  2. Happy New Year! :-) Your intentions are lovely and I know you will meet them in the coming year. They represent who you are and what you stand for, which makes them the very best of intentions. :-)

  3. Beautiful thoughts and great reminder of what we deserve….to be….at one with ourselves, others, and our precious earth. Thank you for sharing. May your light shine bright in 2012! Peace and blessings………..

  4. I’ll quarrel with you over one point of intention only: to be better.
    You don’t need to be better. You are already GOOD. As you are.

    Living by those intentions may add to you and make you more. But more isn’t exactly synonymous with better, either, so we’re back where we began.
    You are already terrific, woman! Like it or lump it.
    Happy New Year!

    1. For me, I think better simply means to find those areas that I know need work and try to improve them. I could be, for example, better at being compassionate, and better at not being as judgmental. I could do better with my efforts to be healthy. I could be better at conquering my fears.

      But thank you for your words of encouragement and praise! Happy New Year to you, my friend, too!

    1. That’s a great post about resolutions. And I totally agree with what he’s saying! I suppose that word “better” in my post could imply an effort to be perfect or better by some external gauge. But my intention was not so much to fix things or perfect them, simply to continue working in areas I know can use some effort – as that blog says, ways to “deepen our lived experiences.”

  5. I also prefer to ‘set intentions’ vs. ‘making resolutions’ When I even say the word ‘resolution’ I can feel myself tense up and every fiber in my being yell ‘NOOOO!”. So I have also been setting intentions these past few years. And I love yours. Thank you for sharing them. I, too, am trying to remember to breathe in this new year, breathe in the possibilities, breathe and be open. Thank you for the reminder! And Happy New Year to you, my friend! :-)

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