It’s that time again, when everyone gets on the fresh-start bandwagon with ambitious 2016 resolutions for self improvement.
Have you noticed that most often these stated resolutions end up as wishful thinking instead of actual outcomes? And even if you do manage to pull of a few of your resolutions for bettering your health, wealth or love life, you probably look back and realize your goal targeting missed what would really matter in that year ahead.
I’ve discovered over the years three simple but highly effective replacements for the traditional “resolution.” For me, these three change making strategies go beyond the surface and often end up becoming transformative medicine.
Rather than keep you in suspense here they are.
1. Make a sacred contract.
This is a contract not a resolution. Instead of a statement of what you resolve to do differently in the next year, you make a formal agreement with your soul.
Yes, I said soul. This is a kind of celestial bargain that you are willing to strike and to participate in with a reverent willingness to surrender your will into the hands of a higher will. In essence you are going to choose to sacrifice one thing, for something greater.
This bypassing of your limited personal will power for the greater engine of your soul’s fierce will, can be nothing short of liberating. I suggest you reserve sacred contracts for truly momentous goals.
Example: I am writing a book, which is a lot like birthing a baby. I made a sacred contract to sacrifice nine months of wine (or any alcohol) in order to be “pregnant” with this creative project. The last time I made a bargain with my soul to nix the wine, I created the 40 Day Magic Challenge, an online program that attracted over 300 participants effortlessly.
Tip: write down your contract and share it with a friend or loved one who can be your “witness” to this sacred bargain.
2. Let your subconscious show you what really matters in the new year.
This one is fun and easy. The best way to plan a better year ahead is to go into creative reverie and let your muse show you what matters.
My favorite way to do this is to write poetry or to vision board. My vision board style is to sit with a stack of magazines, put on some great music, and start cutting out what ever I am drawn to in imagery or words–without censoring my choices by over thinking them. Just let those scissors lead the way.
Here is my last vision board, done in September. To me, vision boarding is a revelatory process as much as a creative one.
3. Use ritual to invite in your dreams and goals for the year ahead.
The art of ritual is a lost art. Ritual is a powerful took that takes the energy of your intention and gives it momentum and power. You can think of ritual as a focalizer–you take the scattered high beam of your heart felt desires and you condense them into a laser like force.
My favorite rituals? I love to head to the seashore and use the wet sand as ritual drawing board. Often I also gather stones and create a medicine wheel. Another way to create ritual for your intentions is with a sacred altar or a despacho ceremony.
At the end of the day, the form of ritual matters less than your attitude of engagement. Ritual asks us to invoke the mystery and magic of life. If you take your ritual seriously, it will yield serious results.
So there you go. Three resolution-free ways to engage the new year. Go ahead and give them a try. I promise they are a lot more fun and produce more lasting results than any hopeful resolution.