Hello there, and welcome back to the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast!
I’m your host, Cindy Norton.
Here in Episode 41 I share with you 4 of my favorite alternatives to new year’s resolutions.
Here we go…
Episode 41 Show Notes Links
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Episode 41 Transcript
You’re listening to the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast: a comfy, cozy place for private practice introverts, highly sensitive therapists, and solopreneurs who help and heal.
This is the place for practical, nature-based, magickal support for your business and life.
Hello there, and welcome back to the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast! I’m your host, Cindy Norton. Here in Episode 41 I’m going to share with you 4 of my favorite alternatives to new year’s resolutions.
How many of you have been swept away by the excitement of a “new year, new you” and end up feeling disappointed year after year?
There’s so much pressure that is put on the date of January 1st. Most of the resolutions we make have fallen off by the end of the month and we get down on ourselves for not being able to uphold them for more than a few weeks.
This leads me into my first alternative, which is to throw new year’s resolutions out the window all together. What I mean by this is that I don’t consider January 1st the new year.
There are two other dates that I consider to be more effective for me as the start of a new year and they are October 31st and February 1st. And what is even more helpful for me is to view the new year as a process over a three month period that flows between these two dates throughout November, December, and January.
If you know me, you know that I like to follow the seasons of the year and their meanings. And if you’ve been listening to this podcast, you’ve heard my seasonal bonus episodes for Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. October 31st is Samhain and the witch’s new year. Fall is the end of the harvest season and is a time for taking stock. January is in the dead of winter – which is a time for stillness and introspection. And Spring is a time of new beginnings and renewal. These three seasons will lend themselves to a type of new year process.
So instead of having all this pressure for the new year on January 1st, consider honoring the new year in a way that works for you. I’ll share what has worked for me in this regard, and you can then create your own tradition.
I like to start in November by taking stock of the year thus far, counting my blessings, showing gratitude, and reviewing what went well and what didn’t.
Then the holiday season is upon us and December is gone in a flash. But during this month, I like to take some time for myself and do some of the things that bring me joy, such as baking, watching my favorite movies, reading, and making body care products and candles.
I then like to take the month of January to be still and introspective, and to reflect. I imagine this time as my slow start to the new year. During January is when I do the second, third, and fourth new year alternatives that I’ll be going over shortly.
So I like to delay my official new year until February 1st so that I’ve had time to take stock, take time for myself, and reflect.
This is why we’ll be doing the online new year intention retreat in Forestmind in early February. There’s still a few spots left if you’d like to join in.
Now on to my second favorite new year’s resolution alternative, which is to select a word of the year. I’ve found this ritual to be really lovely. It’s a more gentle approach to resolutions.
It really is simple, but I ask that you take some time to think about your word and what you want your year to look and feel like. Don’t just choose a buzzword, or the first thing that comes to mind. Approach this task with intention.
It can be easy to forget about your word, so set an intention of checking in with your word throughout the year. Maybe you set a reminder on your phone so that your word pops up every Monday morning. Or maybe you write your word on a sticky note and put it on your desk so that you are reminded of it most days. Whatever works best for you to keep your word of the year top of mind.
I’d like to take a moment to share my personal experience with my word of the year in both 2020 and 2021, just to show you how powerful they can be and how the result isn’t always what you expect.
My word of the year for 2020 was success. (pause). I left a little pause in there for laughter. In 2020 my income significantly decreased due to the pandemic. So you could say that my word of the year just went to shit, along with the rest of the world. However, for me, success meant something very different than what I initially expected.
2020 was probably one of the most difficult years of my existence for a myriad of reasons, including a trying battle with chronic migraines that lasted for months at a time. I know I’m not alone in my experience of 2020, which was like being stripped down to the core of my existence. But what I found there was me. The real me. So the real success for me was finding a deep connection to my intuition, which has resulted in countless blessings for me since.
So I guess you could say that I found success in 2020, and there’s no way I would trade what I found for the monetary version of success.
My word of the year for 2021 was simplify. After the slowdown of 2020 – and the anticipation that the world would someday return to its regular pace of busyness, overworking, and burnout – I was not looking forward to it. So I decided that I was going to simplify everything in my life and business. Little did I know that this word would bring about the eventual end of my therapy practice. But what has taken its place has been greater than my wildest dreams.
So, needless to say, there has been a lot of loss associated with my last two words of the year. But the words played out just as I needed them to for my soul’s highest growth – and for that I couldn’t be more thankful.
I don’t yet know what my word of the year will be for 2022, but I’ll have it figured out before I join the members of Forestmind for our new year intention retreat.
My third favorite alternative to new year’s resolutions is to set intentions instead. Intentions are great because they allow for more creativity, flexibility, and open you up to more possibilities. With a resolution, you either achieve it or you don’t. And it’s much more likely that you don’t.
When setting intentions you can get the creative juices flowing by asking yourself a few questions such as:
-What do you want more of in your life?
-What are the things you’d like to let go of?
-What makes you happy?
-What’s most important to you?
As an example, one of my intentions last year was to create more white space in my calendar. There were several ways that I approached this and it allowed me to utilize my creativity to realize this intention. Along with the white space came more fulfillment, ease, and income – so I’d say my intention was a success.
My fourth alternative to new year’s resolutions is a ritual that I learned over a decade ago from one of my spiritual teachers, Hans Christian King. Before the new year, whatever date you choose, take out a pen and paper and write a letter. You start out with the words “I would like the experience of…” and you continue to write about things that you would like the experience of over the following year.
For example, you may write “I would like the experience of a fulfilling career that allows me a healthy income and plenty of time for rest, relaxation, and vacation with my family.” Or you may write “I would like the experience of a relationship with someone who truly sees me, respects me, and finds joy in my company.” Or anything else that your heart desires. Write from your soul about what you would like the experience of in the coming year.
When you have finished, you’ll write “To my highest good, always,” and then sign your name. Get yourself an envelope and seal it up. Over the seal write “to be opened…” and then write the date a year from the date of your letter. Then set a reminder on your calendar to open the letter on that date.
This one is pretty fascinating. You’ll be amazed at what comes to pass even when you’ve forgotten most of what you included in your letter. I’m really excited to do this exercise with members of Forestmind this year.
One little bonus I want to add to this list is planning and intention setting by the moon phases. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, as I’ll be covering this topic in more detail in a future episode, but you can set smaller monthly goals and intentions along with the moon phases by setting your intentions at each new moon. It’s a great way to focus on smaller intentions throughout the year.
ACORN (Tarot Card Pull)
Welcome to the acorn segment. With each solo episode I’ll be drawing a tarot card to help provide some magickal inspiration and insight.
The card for this episode is the Three of Swords (upright).
I’ll describe the card for those of you who may not be familiar. The card has a grey background with clouds and rain. There is a big red heart in the center of the card with three swords piercing into it.
Upon initially looking at the card it can be quite frightening, but as with all the cards there’s a helpful and supportive message.
The Three of Swords is a stark reminder of the necessity of sadness, pain, and sorrow, as this is what allows us to grow, learn for our mistakes, and evolve.
This card also represents trauma, hurt, and disappointment, as well as an opportunity for healing.
It’s quite fitting that I drew this card after the talk of the past couple of years, because we as a society have been through (and are still going through) a collective trauma.
The beautiful message from this card is that the pain is only temporary, the clouds will vanish, and the sun will shine again.
Succinctly, the Three of Swords is saying “this too shall pass.”
I’ll post a picture of the card along with the message today on my instagram @mountainpracticejourneys so head on over and let me know if this message resonates with you at this time.
Thank you so much for joining me today. For episode 42 I’ll be chatting with Susannah Horwitz of the Well-Connected Therapist about the concept of embodiment for more joyful networking.
I can’t wait for you to hear our conversation and to learn how to use embodiment in the moment for a more joyful experience of networking. It’s a brilliant concept, especially for those of you who aren’t huge fans of networking. It’s a must-listen, so be sure to tune in.
I’m truly grateful that you choose to join me here for practical, nature-based, magickal support for your business and life. For more inspiration and to see what I’m up to, join me over on instagram @mountainpracticejourneys If you’re enjoying yourself here, please head over to Apple Podcasts and hit those 5 stars and I’ll be over the moon. And if you’d like to work with me, join me in Forestmind, my cozy, small-group mastermind for private practice introverts, highly sensitive therapists, and solopreneurs who help and heal. May the forest be with you.
I Want You To Be Successful In Business & In Life!
Starting, growing, and maintaining a business is a big deal. It's super-exciting and super-scary all at the same time. I created Mountain Practice Journeys to support you through the difficult and muddy terrain, and to celebrate with you when you have reached each summit of the many mountains you will conquer on your journey.
Happy Climbing, Cindy