There is something about a New Year that makes us take stock of our lives. Make New Year resolutions if you want, but what if you just decided to accept that you are fine as you are? Rather than making a big promise to change, I prefer to take a moment to pause and reflect and do this simple writing exercise on New Year’s Day. It’s a great exercise to help you get clarity on where you’ve been, and where you want to go.
Before you can manifest your dreams and goals for the new year, you have to identify them. You don’t have to know HOW you will manifest them, you only have to know what your heart wants. Once you identify that with clarity, the universe will find strange and surprising ways to support you in realizing your dreams.
So how can I find out what my heart wants?
New Year Writing Exercise:
Step 1 – Reflect on the Past Year
Block out an hour or two to do this. Do a 15-30 minute free write on everything that comes to mind about 2017. Ask yourself:
- What were the highlights?
- What didn’t work out so well?
- What was downright painful that I’d like to change?
- What was heavenly that I want more of?
Don’t filter, screen, manipulate or ignore what comes to mind. Don’t show this to anyone! It is for your eyes only. That way you’ll be sure to be 100% honest. Get down on paper the truth about what happened for you over the past year, so you know what you’re working with.
Step 2 – Look Deeper
Go back and highlight, underline, or circle the moments or insights that feel “charged.” Charged means there is energy when you read it, either in a positive or negative sense. When there is a charge around that topic, then highlight it. Make a list of these moments on a new piece of paper.
Step 3 – Categorize and Prioritize
Now go through that list, identify what your hopes or intentions were in these situations and categorize each item. Whether a thing worked out well or didn’t, check in with yourself to find out how important that thing is to you. Then, either rate it as something that stays on your list of aspirations for this year, or that you will let go.
Step 4 – Approach With Fresh Insight
For the items that didn’t work out so well but that you want to keep, outline 2-3 ways you could approach your goal with fresh insight. For things that continue to work, and that you want to keep, are there ways to keep evolution inspired? Hint: you can do free writes for each of these questions.
Step 5 – Identify Your Desires
Ask yourself this question for each situation: What do I want? Write your list of aspirations for 2018. You don’t have to know how you’re going to manifest these things. All you need to know is what you want to manifest. Once you identify precisely and in detail what it is you’d like, your subconscious starts acting on your behalf. It acts on your behalf when you give it negative messages as well, so be careful what story you tell yourself! But here is the most important part:
Writing tips for this exercise
Write your aspirations in the present tense, as if you are already living the reality!
It’s a bit sneaky. You’re tricking your neurons into believing you.
A few years ago, I had just bought my house in the U.S., which was a scary thing to do for someone who has lived the past decade overseas. I wanted to keep working overseas – in South Asia, specifically – during the winter months when it is too cold to be in Colorado. So that year, I wrote on my yearly list of aspirations, “part-time, well-paid work in Asia so that I can live without working in my home during the summers.” I had absolutely no prospects and no idea how, where, when that might happen, or if it was even possible. I didn’t have the vision of it, I just knew I wanted certain things: part-time, teaching yoga, Asia, well paid. So, I identified it, in detail. It’s important to get into the specific details of what you want and also how it will make you feel.
Then let those aspirations go
I put my goals in a drawer and forgot about them. It wasn’t until nearly 2 years later that I found that journal and realized what had happened. A few months after writing that, I got a call out of the blue from a friend who was looking for help developing a yoga program in Phuket. It just so happened I would be passing through Thailand when they wanted to interview me. On the interview, I told them I could not work summers and they just said OK! I ended up moving to Thailand, and my aspiration became a reality. Crazy huh?
One thing I should note on this process: It’s important not to talk about it too much. Don’t fritter away the energy of something that is important to you by chatting idly about it with those who may or may not care. Conserve your energy to put it to use towards manifesting your heart’s wishes. In other words, keep your attention on the present moment.
Keep it simple
Sometimes I think we make things way too complicated. There is wisdom inside us if we simply listen. This exercise is not about making a Santa list of things you want and then sitting back and waiting for your gifts to come showering down – this is deeper than the “law of attraction” theory. This is more about aligning with your true heart’s desires, which are reflections of your divine spark’s presence. Ego may trick you into believing you want certain things that don’t align with your inner wisdom. These things may or may not show up, but they probably won’t make you happy in the long run. Your heart desires what will make you happy, so we are looking for the heart connection as we do this exercise.
This exercise then allows you the choice to change course, let go and allow your deeper wisdom to show you the way to your heart’s true desire.
What Is Your Heart’s Desire for 2018?
Kim Roberts is a psychotherapist, writer, and artist. A dedicated meditator since 1992, she maintains a private psychotherapy practice, offering counseling sessions online via Skype. She has an MA in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University and was authorized as an Ashtanga Yoga teacher, teaching internationally for over 20 years. A former Life Coach at NLF, she leads retreats around the world, incorporating yoga, meditation and creative process as a means to develop emotional balance. She lives in Crestone, Colorado, USA.