Live with clear intention
Every year starts off the same. Goals... ambitions... the need for change and the desire to do this year better than the last... Not that the prior year was all that bad. This past one was actually pretty great, however that still doesn't trump the desire to do better and be better. My biggest motivation over the course of the last few years has been actually seeing the changes that have been coming about in my own life since I made the decision to stop wishing for things to happen, and start making them happen for myself.
I actively sought out new friendships, I traveled, I tried out various jobs, I took courses on anything that interests me, and I studied business management. I learned from the mistakes of others and my own. I painted, drew, planned, and dreamt. I left my comfort-zone in the dust... I went to Burning Man. I contemplated life and self, and learned that it takes making uncomfortable and difficult decisions to make the biggest strides in life. All my searching and trying and choices lead me to 2012. The year I now dub The Year of Change. It was in that year that I took a big leap and left a nearly seven year long relationship that was comfortable, but not fulfilling. It was that year that I decided to take my writing out of my journal and onto this blog. It was that year that I decided where I'd work on my masters, and it was that year that I met the now love of my life. It was hard. Change is hard. Putting your heart out into the world is hard, but it's also so fulfilling and wonderful and freeing.
Life is a series of choices, and the fourth step to living a blissful life is making choices that do the life you want justice.
Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I am a strong advocate of list making. It's kind of an obsession. If you haven't already noticed as you're make your way through the 12 Steps list. But don't underestimate the power of a well thought out list!
Lists give us direction, remind us of promises we're made to ourselves and other people, and give us a chance to see a glimpse of what out lives could look like if we were to check off all that we wish to accomplish. With a clear direction in mind, making choices that elevate your life is all that much easier. No matter where you are in life and what stage of achieving your goals or reaching your dreams you are in, knowing what you want and what you need to do to get it is important. So how about starting off this year with a list of what you intend to create and the life you wish to foster in the year to come! Take into consideration the previous steps. Remember your limitless potential and the power of your choices that we discussed in Step One; to come from a place of self-love and respect like we talked about in Step Two; and use your answers to the inward-reflection questions from Step Three to build a list that will inspire great change or forward momentum in your life.
What makes a good list?
A GOOD Bliss List contains 5 important characteristics:
1. Realism: When creating your list for the New Year be bold, but be real. A major characteristic of a realistic list is it's ability to be achieved. It's easy to write outlandish things on a list, so that when they fail you don't have to feel the burden of responsibility. But the ongoing search for bliss isn't about setting yourself up for failure or relieving yourself of responsibility, it's about empowering yourself and really going after the life you want. So things like winning the lottery don't belong on your Bliss List, but going for a promotion at work does. Also realism means not over packing your list for the year as well. It's better to have 5-10 achievable goals, then an overwhelmingly lengthy list that you don't finish.
2. Specifics: Great lists are specific. Vagueness is a common down fall of many New Year's resolutions lists. Writing statements like, "make more money", "travel", "get in shape", are no good without specifics for how you intend to accomplish them. If you want to lose weight this year, set a goal for the amount you want to lose, the date you want to lose the weight by, and the actions you'll take to achieve that goal. Actions you may write might be something like "exercise 3-times a week", or "Sign up for a yoga class series", or "plan out my weekly meals", or "keep a food diary". Specifics are your best friend towards goal achievement, so think: what by when, and how.
3. Boldness: While you want to be realistic, you don't want to play it safe. This list is about really going for the things you want in life and that means putting down your honest wants and needs. Think about what you do and don't want in your life and what may need to change in order for you to have the life you want. This may mean: ending toxic relationships, breaking bad habits like smoking or drinking, going after a promotion, or starting your own business.
4. Measurability: Another characteristic of a great Bliss List is your ability to measure the goals you've set for yourself. That means setting dates for when things should be accomplished, knowing how much of something needs to happen in order for you to consider it's accomplished, and/or how long it continues to be worked on. So, for my wanting to read more this year, my goal is to read 20 books I haven't read before by the end of the year.
5. Positivity: Finding bliss is about coming from a loving place. So when you are building your list for the New Year, coming from a positive place of love is important. Rather than setting goals that tell you to not do something, write goals that tell you TO DO something.
FYI: For each goal I have on my list this year, I have a second more detailed list that sets time constraints and talks about specifics.