Most people like to set New Year’s Resolutions about this time of year.  While most of us will stick to them for a couple weeks, some of the more disciplined may hang on into February.  But by March, most of us are caught up in thoughts of Spring and the resolutions are long gone.

Most of the personal growth teachers that I read realize this is a pattern for most of us and they try to find new, innovative ways to deal with this New Year, fresh start.

Debbie Ford, having written a wonderful book called, “The Best Year of Your Life,” asks some questions: “What are your deepest desires for this new year?  What are you willing to give up to get them? What habits, limiting beliefs, unhealthy relationships or situations?”  I think that’s very direct and practical.  Most of the reason we don’t keep to our resolutions year after year is because we keep the same limiting beliefs that won’t allow us to change.

Cheryl Richardson suggests looking back at the lessons of the previous year and coming up with a couple of pithy phrases to remind you of them.  I liked hers: Do less whenever possible and do more of the kinds of things that make you feel good. Do your deep and quiet desires, first.

Libby Gill is into the catchy phrases, too.  I think it helps to remember them that way.  Instead of goals, she says, try themes.  Like a tag line.  I came up with “Let it Shine,” but am now leaning toward “Fun and Easy.”  I want to create more fun and more ease in my life this year.

Most all of them tell of an exercise to project yourself into the future, to January, 2011. Looking back on the year, ask yourself, what are the things you’re most proud of, that were your major accomplishments?  I surprised myself when I said that if we’re healthy and get to do some of the things we love to do, that will be a good year.  But looking back on 2009, I realize we had that.  I’d like more for 2010.

I did this jumping ahead and looking back exercise on October 10 this past year, projecting myself to 10/10/10.  As part of the Accountability Club, Libby Gill asked us to bust it up into three month segments.  Where will I be on my goal 9 months into the year, 6 months, 3?  Where are you going to put your energies to reach those milestone?  All good questions.

There are many ways to work with this Fresh Start we have every year.  I think the key is not to set unrealistic goals and focus more on creating new practices that will support you to reach your goals. I’ve been calling them New Year’s Intentions.  Whatever you call it, it’s a good thing to think about the new year and make some plans. 

I’m leaning toward our new weekly accountability goals as a good standard for the whole year: Letting go of the outcome allows you to do more.  Wearing life loosely gives you the energy to do that.  And seeking Awesome Moments keeps you focused on what’s joyful in the moment. (Goes along with Cheryl’s piece to do the really joyful things first.)  I’m such a planner, though, I need a few Intentions.  But I try to keep them simple and doable. I also write them up and look at them regularly, so I remember what I’ve intended to do, well into the year.  Nothing feels better than getting to the end of the year and realizing you’ve checked off everything you wanted to do that year.  What a wonderful way to start off the new year!

I wish everyone a healthy and wealthy 2010!