Happy New Year! As we move out of the holidays and into the beginning of another year, it is traditional to set goals and intentions, or what’s commonly known as New Year’s resolutions. I’d like to suggest a slight variation on that theme.

I spent New Years’ Eve day with my partner and a friend reflecting on 2017. We looked at what had happened for ourselves personally, both the challenges and accomplishments. We expressed gratitude for the lessons learned and the insights gained, as well as regrets for where we might have missed the mark.

When it came time to look to the year ahead and what we wanted for ourselves, I asked that we think not so much of what we wanted to achieve but of the qualities we would need to embody to get there. This led us deep inside to our cores and the essence of who we are.

When we focus on an external goal, it can feel like something far away and separate from ourselves. The gap between where we are now and where we want to be yawns wide. It takes a huge leap of faith to believe in our capacity to bridge the difference.

By putting our attention on the qualities we need to embody, we begin building that bridge in the here and now. For as we spoke about them, we had to also feel them in our bodies. For example, one of the qualities I want is to be more heart-centered. Just saying those words brings me more into my heart.

Try it for yourself. Think of something you’re hoping for in 2018. Then think of what inner qualities you would need to have for that to come true. Imagine how it would feel in your body. Live into it fully. Those qualities already exist inside you. Call them up and give them energy.

In this way, you can also insure that your goals are in alignment with your true values. For if they require qualities you don’t want to cultivate, perhaps they’re not worthy of your pursuit. You shouldn’t have to bully and coerce yourself to get where you want to be.

When you’re truly listening to your deepest longings and desires, the energy to fullfill them wells up inside and will guide you forward. You may still encounter fear and doubt along the way, and make some wrong turns, but the inner qualities you’ve identified as needed to get there will be your compass, always pointing to True North.

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