It’s the beginning of another year, and if you’re like me, 2018 passed quickly. Not that it was a bad year…not by a long shot. I’ve re-read my journals and the year was jammed-packed, every day an opportunity to learn and grow.
Now that a new year is dawning, I find myself at a peaceful standstill. What will 2019 bring? I wonder. I know my plans, but who knows what surprises are hiding around the bend? That’s why I no longer make New Year’s resolutions. They never really worked for me as I would easily find a loophole, worm my way back into old behavior (with plenty of good excuses, of course), or simply give up and revert back to my old ways.
A year of purpose
I realize now that it wasn’t the physical weight I wanted to drop back then, or the money I wanted to save, or even the house I wanted to organize. I longed for the inner transformation, the internal motivation for my behavior to change…for good.
More than twenty years ago, I decided to “name the year”. It began with a desire to create a more simple way of being, so naturally I dubbed 1998 “The Year of Simplicity”. With this intention in mind, I actively pursued opportunities to create space in every aspect of my life: work, home, relationships, and even the way I dressed. For twelve months, I allowed the focus of one objective to guide my experience, one consistent thing to keep in mind as I journeyed onward.
Being willing to change is the first step in setting an intention. Matt Kizaur, an English and drama teacher at Whitmer High School, knows this all too well. “I started this concept in my twenties, a couple of years after my parents passed and a rather emotional divorce,” he says. Matt chooses a word that represents a long-term transformation rather than a single resolution. “In replacing resolution with intention, there is a shift in thinking as it allows for failure, for humanity,” he explains. “It means I don’t know exactly what this is, but I know it’s what I want to invite and allow in my life.”
Some of Matt’s years have been lighthearted such as 2000’s “YNOT2K” while others have been more challenging. “2013’s Year of Quiet had me examining my use of technology and letting go of all social media,” he says. “That began as an intention of quieting my monkey brain.”
For Matt, naming the year is a solitary activity. “I have tried now and again to include others,” he says. “But ultimately, like the truest, most honest sense of resolution, it has to be about the change we wish to make in ourselves.”
Opportunities for growth
A busy mother of four, Katie Partin begins each January with the goal of participating in life with present moment awareness. “My intention brews all year,” she says. “But with the holidays and family time, as well as the societal call for resolutions, it reminds me to choose a word my family and I will focus on in the year ahead. We all learn how to set our minds to an attainable desire and follow the intention to achievement.”
Although Katie is the ringmaster of the efforts to move toward present moment awareness, her husband and children also participate in the theme for each year. “For the younger kids, it’s discussed in simple terms and how to participate in making healthy growth and achieving goals,” she explains. “For the oldest, we have more discussions, but with the same ideas in mind. She actively participates and has seen the results of following an intention to fruition.”
In the process, Katie finds that everyone discovers more about themselves and learns about the world around them. “Positive or negative, you gain if you can open your eyes to change and growth,” she says. “It’s all a gift.”
For two decades I’ve lived through years of joy, of manifestation, of creativity. Years in which I’ve learned the true meaning of freedom and the dedication to commitment. Each twelve-month span brought unexpected lessons that revealed a lasting impression, an enduring understanding of the choices I make every day.
Now I bring with me the lessons of the past and welcome a new year that I’m certain will open even more doors of awareness with every experience, every relationship, and every endeavor.
What will the year 2019 bring? You name it.
It’s all yours for the creating.