Updated: Jan 24
The New Year is often seen as a mark in the sand, a fresh beginning, and a time to make changes in your life for greater health and happiness. While you can surely grow and transform positively at any time of the year, a brand-new year can feel like an enchanting time to envision and consider all you want for yourself.
If you want to make shifts in your life but don’t find the idea of setting New Year’s resolutions appealing, you can take a different approach. The following practices guide you to “add-in” more of what you want so that you can manifest your best year yet.
Self-reflection is an opportunity for a kind of personal inventory of the past, looking back on how far you’ve come while gaining deeper wisdom and understanding of yourself.
Reflection can also help to improve your future performance. One study found that when people spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting (in the form of journaling) on what they had learned, they increased their performance after just ten days.
Gratitude elevates what you already have in your life—even through challenging times. Focusing on what you have to be grateful for can immediately shift you into a positive frame of mind and offers many healing benefits. Learning to cherish the gifts in your life fills your mind with loving thoughts and hope, while dissipating feelings of pain, fear, and shame.
One study found that cultivating gratitude increased happiness and life satisfaction while also reducing depressive symptoms and negative moods and emotions. In short, practicing gratitude supports a life of greater health and happiness.
Desire is a transformational force that can expand your health and your happiness. Pure desire (free from ego and greed) is said to be a soul expression of what you want for your health, relationships, work, and all other aspects of your life. Pure desire can bring you into alignment with that which will serve the highest outcome both for yourself and for others.
As you begin a new year, clarifying your desires can support you in staying focused, seeing the big picture, and deciding what you want to “add-in” to your life.
As Deepak Chopra has written, an intention is “the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.” The art of setting intentions (also known as Sankalpa) is an ancient practice that has been documented in early yogic texts dating as far back as 1000 BCE.)
When you set an intention, you are focusing your attention and energy on what you want, planting a seed in consciousness that can help bring your desires to fruition. This will make it seem less like an onerous challenge and more like a positive change.
Take baby steps
Rather than trying to make a big change, which can feel overwhelming, take the smallest possible steps towards fulfilling your intention. According to the American Psychological Association, it’s best to start small and choose simple, realistic, measurable, and clear ways to track your progress.
Affirmations are positive statements that can keep you focused and create momentum in the fulfillment of your desires and intentions. While implementing affirmations is a simple practice, the results can be profound. There is ample results-based research in using positive affirmations. Some of these examples may inspire you to create our own affirmations.One study found that participants used affirmations on a regular basis, they experienced a decrease in negative self-esteem and depressive symptoms.
Another group of researchers found that people who had a regular practice of using positive affirmations had greater feelings of self-worth. Affirmations can take a bit of time to become habitual. Being patient with the process will help you along. Have fun with your affirmations, repeat them regularly, and find joy in the process.