"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -- Abraham Lincoln
It's the time of year when I celebrate my birthday (Happy Birthday, fellow Scorpios!) by practicing a ritual that I've used for more than fifteen years. I've shared it with you before, and since it reflects a powerful way to create your life with intention, I thought I'd share it again this year. Here's what I do:
1. I schedule at least an hour of uninterrupted time with myself.
2. I think carefully about the year ahead and the intentions I have for me and my family.
3. I review the prior year's intentions (written in an old journal), and write about whether or not they came to pass and how they've affected my life.
4. I set ten new intentions for the upcoming year, taking into account all areas of my life -- health, relationships, work, spiritual growth, etc.
5. I finish the ritual by writing a letter to myself, acknowledging how I've made a difference in my life and in the lives of others.
This exercise has become an important part of my birthday ritual -- one I look forward to most. Over the years, as I've reviewed my intentions, I'm always surprised to discover that most of them come to pass in some way or another. Sure enough, this year was no exception. I was surprised to see that 80% of the intentions I set last year did come to fruition.
I'm sure you've heard the old saying: "Most people spend more time planning their vacations than their lives." It's sad, but true. If you don't take the time to stop and consider where you'd like to be in a year, you may not like where you end up :).
Setting intentions is easier than you think. You don't need to spend hours working on them. Ten lines are all it takes. As you set them, make sure you choose intentions that you're ready to put your time and energy behind. Setting intentions in and of itself is only one part of the process. Taking action to fulfill them is what inspires doors to open and pathways to clear.
This year, I'm doing something a bit different. I'll be turning 49 years old and I've decided to spend the last year of my forties having a little fun. Along with setting ten life intentions, I'm making a list of things I've wanted to do for a long time that I'm either afraid to do, or that challenge me in a significant way. Kind of like a bucket-list from the movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Here are some examples of what I mean:
* Learn to surf (I'm doing that this week - stay tuned!).
* Sing fearlessly in front of an audience.
* Learn to paint flowers using watercolors.
* Learn to dance the salsa with Michael.
As you set your own intentions, they might relate to your finances, your health, your career, the dreams you keep putting off, or the areas of your life that need your attention for a while. Whatever type you set, keep them simple. What matters most is that they feel right to you. You'll know this is the case when you look back over the list and think "Yes! This is EXACTLY what I need to focus on or what I'd like to have happen!"
This year, celebrate your life by adding a new ritual. There's only one you in the world and it serves us all when you live your very best life.
Take Action Challenge
You don't have to wait for your birthday to set intentions. Schedule a little time to yourself this week and answer the following question:
"What would I most like to have happen in my life between now and my next birthday?"
List ten intentions in a journal or notebook. Keep a copy of these intentions in a place where you'll see them occasionally. Then, on your next birthday, start your own self-honoring ritual to celebrate your life!