For many years, I followed a kind of self-defeating pattern around the New Year where I earnestly tried to make and follow resolutions and in the process found I’d created a setup for disappointment. So I tried to avoid the topic altogether.

Something changed for me several years ago when my partner, Sherry,  began thinking of New Year’s resolutions as “Transformation Opportunities”. That reframe felt somehow less entrapping to me—like it was a chance at change, not something I had to resolve to control.

So last year I decided that I wanted to “take the opportunity” to transform how fear works in my life—those boogiemen voices who taunt me with all the ways I am not who I am supposed to be, all the ways I am not living my life Right. Sure enough, I had LOADS of chances over this year to engage with terrors, those gargoyles at the gate of growth, as I stretched and expanded my limits both professionally and personally. In other words, I gave myself a great AFGO (Another F***in’ Growth Opportunity).

Now, in the spirit of renewal, I think I’d like to choose something more fun to focus on this year. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I still want to stretch and challenge myself. But I think I’d rather do it with Less Stress this time around.

In an effort to practice what I teach, I’ve been asking myself what kind of year I want to live/feel/experience. I figure as I enter the Year of the Rabbit (in February), it’s time to hop up to a new rung on my own spiral of intention. Like how about Riding the Waves of Change or Laughing My Way Forward or even just Take It Easy???

Below are some of the specific questions I’ve been thinking about (which, btw, are also inquiries I’ve offered Way of Joy students preparing for my annual Nourishing the Flame:  New Year’s Invocation winter workshop).*

What are 3-5 major successes you’ve had this year? (It could be accomplishing a goal like exercising enough, deepening a connection with someone, success at work, spark of inspiration about creativity, eating better (even if not “perfect”), follow-through on a challenging issue, or anything else)

What is the energy/quality of being that you would like to bring forth from those accomplishments?

What are 3-5 disappointments or unfulfilled wishes? (something incomplete, an attempt that didn’t pan out, loss of work, not making enough $$, etc)?

What new lesson(s) did you learn, if anything, from not having gotten/achieved what you wanted?

Try to observe all of the feelings and thoughts that come up when you think about these disappointments with compassion and neutrality. Then place your attention/focus to any ways in which loss(es) contributed to your understanding, wisdom, or focus. Allow what you don’t want to lead you to what you do want. Ask yourself the question Michael Losier poses in his work with the Law of Attraction, So, what do I want?

Given lessons learned during 2010, what do you want to ignite and nourish for the year ahead?

This can range from “qualities of being” (what you bring to “the table” or your life) to specific goals.

So as I let these questions rattle around, I’m going to go practice my qigong. As I do, I send you qi that you thrive through the year ahead, experiencing delightful surprises that emerge as you manifest your intentions.

Happy New Year to all and to all a good year.

*Thanks to life coach Dory Willer, “cheerleader for your soul,” who introduced me to the inspiration behind these questions with her work with the Best Year Yet format. Check her blog at