Finalizing 2017 & Setting Intentions for 2018: New Year's Eve Reflection

Before I begin, I just wanted to thank you for your patience with this post! I had intended on publishing this on Friday BUT my computer decided that it would begin sparking & did not stop until last evening. However, I have fixed the problem and I'm ready to get vulnerable with you! P.S. This post is super text-heavy (you've been warned)! 

2017 has been the most difficult year of my life, thus far. After having two surgeries (one major and one minor), I was left with a lot of time to reflect. By no means was the year what I expected or intended for it to be. I spent a lot of time in hospitals and in bed this year -- far more than I ever could have imagined I would. On March 8th of this year, my world came to a jolting halt. Everything was about to change. I was inches and hours away from permanent paralysis; but something wonderful stopped this from happening. It was a miracle, a second chance and a blessing in disguise, all at once. Only then, was I able to realize that I am enclosed within a circle of divine protection. With this second chance, I finally left the negative behind and from then on, focused only on the good. 

I have spent many hours over the past nine months trying to sort out my emotional baggage. A two-month hospitalization will provide you with much opportunity to do this. I did SO much personal work this year, that I think I should be good to skip the next couple of years (obvi kidding - I am kind of obsessed with personal improvement now and it looks like my blog is moving in that direction to reflect this). Here is a brief but POWERFUL list of my most significant accomplishments of 2017. 

2017 Accomplishments: 
- learned how to walk again
- strengthened relationships with those important to me
- developed an even greater sense of empathy
- woke up everyday and faced my mental health head-on
- gave back to the community (whenever possible)
- saw the positive in all situations (even if i could not accept this)
- discovered my worth (especially in romantic-relationships)
- communicated clearly
- accepted things i cannot change
- stopped doing anything that made me feel miserable
- successfully fought addiction daily
- stuck to personal health goals
- set and maintained boundaries
- let go of resentment
- never gave up

These accomplishments were not planned, but rather they unfolded given the circumstances of my existence. It was time to sink or swim, and I was determined to do the latter. Through the necessity of my determination and perseverance, I found strength. This strength lead me to discover my worth and it was the greatest (and most emotional) feeling I’ve ever experienced.  The many lessons, challenges, triumphs and changes 2017 brought guided me to a much different path. I intend on using 2018 as a platform to expand on my self-improvement journey to achieve my definition of personal mastery.

Intention vs. Goal Setting:
Most of us are familiar with the concept of goal setting. That is, expressing a desire to achieve something and taking measurable steps toward this. Goals often have “parts” to them, or milestone markers on the way to success. I need to break down my goals into smaller, more manageable segments or they seem too overwhelming (personally). Since being introduced to the concept of "intention setting" a few months ago, I have been casually researching & brainstorming the following elements of what it takes to write out intentions successfully: language, purpose, meaning, and action. 

What I discovered is that while goals represent what you may want, intentions focus on what you need. Goals are guided toward the future, while intentions capitalize on the present moment. Intentions are also lived everyday. While you may have 10 goals to achieve by the end of 2018, it is doubtful that you will spend each day committed to at least one goal, let alone all 10 of them.  Some days, it just won’t be possible. It is however, to develop goals AND set intentions.

That being said, I created a goal map & manifestation document this year. If you're interested in doing something similar (it's never too late!) and need inspiration, sign up for my friend Catie's newsletter on her blog and you will receive a free PDF Soul Map with questions & guidance!!! 
I did create the more *visually appealing* version free through a pre-made Canva layout. Therefore, the physical space I had to identify these goals was limited. I had a total of 60 characters to work with and by my standards, that isn’t very much (this is coming from a person who rarely tweets because it is anxiety provoking limiting myself to 140 characters).

I broke my goals up into categories and sorted them over 5 years. At this point in my life (26) – I felt that setting goals for more than 5 years away seemed (personally) unrealistic. I created four pages: 6 mon-1 yr, 1-2 yrs, 3-4 yrs & 5+ yrs. I then settled on the following 15 categories: love, finances, friends, contribution (to society), spirituality, home environment, blogging, achievements, education, travel, health, creativity, career, family and of course, personal growth. 

The method you use for intention setting is your choice! Personally, I’m a notebook girl and have doodles in a notebook about intentions, goals and future plans. I also have multiple Word documents that are even more detailed than my journals due to space/limits. I also *just* had hand surgery, so most things have had to be dictated/typed lately - which ultimately lead to this). 

Pictured below: A segment of my 2018 goal & achievement document
In terms of intention setting, it is my inexpert opinion is that intentions are FEELINGS. Intentions are the offspring of your soul and psyche’s collective dreams. In the English language, “psyche” can be found synonymously used with “soul”. However, for the purpose of this explanation, I must also highlight their differences. Psychology suggests that “psyche” refers to the mental or psychological structure of a being, especially underlined by a motivational force. With this, I hope it is clear that your soul (your heart, desires, and passions) with which you crave and feel, does interact and rationalize with your mind. For example, my soul craves kindness, love and connection. Then, my psyche is able to discern why I desire this, and how I might be able to achieve this. My motivation may be that I have always felt rather lonely, and I desire to be free of this feeling. Therefore, I will open myself up to the prospect of love & hope to be in a relationship. 

On November 28th of this year, it was abnormally warm for Toronto. I took my notebook to the lake and set the following intentions for 2018: 

I want to spend as much time near the water as possible, so that I may feel naturally calm and at peace.
I want to receive financial abundance so that I no longer worry about where money is coming from. 
I want to feel empowered to make decisions for myself, so that I no longer struggle with indecision and passiveness. 
I want to open my heart, so I may experience true love with someone who encourages me everyday. 
I  want to put faith in fate and blind chance, so that I may meet wonderful people who exude positivity. 

Tips for Intention Setting:
1)   Sit with your feelings
-       Quiet your mind
-       Respect where you are at right now
-       Understand your feelings
2)   Allow yourself to dream
-       The possibilities are endless
-       You are the author of your own destiny
-       What would make you happy?
3)   Don’t get hung up about the language (at first)
-       Take a cue from your heart’s desire
-       Write first & edit later
-       Restructure words to create powerful sentences
-       Use phrases such as “I want” & “so” – to signify what your desires can do for you
4)   Be specific
-       The Universe loves specific requests – why? Because they are testaments of what you truly desire
-       Address people, ideas, places, numbers, etc. directly
-       Discuss timelines (very important)
5)   Imagine a future where you have manifested what you desire
-       Similar to dreaming (it’s really your “ultimate fantasy”)
-       What would this look like? What would this mean? How would you feel?
-       Believe it already to exist, without a shadow of a doubt!
6)   Release your intentions
-       The most challenging aspect of intention setting
-     Release control over your life & circumstances beyond your control
-       Move out of your own way (we have a tendency to self-sabotage)
7)   Reflect with gratitude
-       Should occur continuously (i.e. quarterly or when you notice a big shift)
-       Recognize and record the signs
-       Maintain unwavering belief in yourself & the Universe
-       Give thanks (i.e. gratitude journal, giving back, etc.)

Tomorrow evening (January 1st) marks the first full moon of 2018 (a Supermoon to be exact). This is a perfect time to release what no longer serves a purpose in your world. On January 1st, 2017 I made a resolution that I was only able to keep for 2 weeks until I eventually surrendered to personal defeat. Two months later (almost to the day), I took the power back and stopped on my own terms.  I just recently celebrated 9 months of my success and I couldn’t be prouder. This was something I never thought I would be able to do. There are many things that I still don’t feel *strong* enough to do, stop or finish. In the mean time, I hope to build my strength and confidence so that I may overcome these ever-present insecurities. 

Love & Light to you all! Happy New Year! May this year be the best yet! 
xoxo Erica 

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