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20120103-093014.jpgIt’s the third day into the year, and already a number of New Year’s Resolutions have bit the dust.

I have not been one to put a lot of weight into making resolutions as it seems like people think this is the only time of year that they can make changes to their lives, and I like to encourage everyone that we can make a new life for ourselves at every moment. That said, it is a great time to reflect on things and see how you want to move forward in this moment.

I was lucky enough over the New Year’s weekend to have taken a few workshops at Easton Mountain, namely in gratitude, attraction, and mindfulness. They overarching message to me in these leanings was one in intention. Too often in our busy world, we are doing things that we have trained ourselves to to without thinking. While that serves us well in some fields (like driving a car) it’s not as good when we are trying to have a conversation with someone or packing for a trip. I have personally experienced many a time when I had to clean up or take extra time when I did something unmindfully.

Another concept that I’ve picked up from my recent studies in Tantra is the concept of intentions vs. goals. I’ve spoken to the idea of goals here many times and I still think that there’s a great use for them, but also have discovered that sometimes it’s better to have an intention about something. To really mix metaphors, I also have realized from my study of GTD that there’s a difference between a project and an area of focus. A project is one where there’s a clear end point (e.g.: re-tile the bathtub) where an area of focus could be something you’re responsible for, but you can never really say is ever completed (e.g.: keeping a healthy body). A goal works for a project, but not as well for an area of focus.

Therefore, I don’t have a resolution (goal) for this year, but I do have intentions. If I were to have a goal, I’d succeed or fail. I want to be more present all the time towards an intention instead. For most of my life I’ve been very goal oriented (and will never be without goals!) but I’m realizing done areas of my life need me to be more mindful in each moment and striving toward something, and intentions seem to be a better fit for that.

My intentions for 2012 are to be more present in each moment and consider what is in my best interest. As you can tell from this, I can’t have this be a success or failure; it’s just a continual striving.

So, what are your intentions for 2012?

Happy 2011!  Depending on how you look at it, we’re starting a new decade this week, and I for one am looking forward to a happier, healthier, more prosperous decade than I had the last one. I’ve been through my difficult transitions and think that now’s the time for me to move forward on all the good plans now that the hard work of moving obstacles out of my way is completed.

I just came back from my annual New Year’s Celebration at Easton Mountain, and am reflection on my experiences there. Like many of us have had, this was an opportunity to gain some insight and great ideas, and what I don’t want to do is leave them in a notebook and forgotten. In this time of resolutions made and broken, I want to really work on the processes of moving forward in my life to get what I want out of life (I should be walking the talk here!)

I took a great workshop on developing happiness in my life, lead by Craig Cullinane, and it reinforced many thoughts I’ve had. The main point that Craig made (gotten from the writings is Tal Ben-Shahar in the book Happier) is that happiness is a practice that we can cultivate in our lives. If we surround ourselves with more positive emotions, thoughts and people, like a seed that grows in good soil, we are more likely to be happy and grateful if we make it a point to surround ourselves with happy and grateful thoughts. Radical, isn’t it?

What this has reinforced for me is that I need to ritualize this habit so I do it all the time.  As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, I meditate every morning and share my meditations on Facebook and Twitter. It’s been a great way to force myself to keep me on track (I can’t disappoint my fans who wait for my posts!). One activity is to write down 10 things each day that you’re grateful for. I’m publicly stating that that will be a part of the new nighttime ritual. I also need to include in there done other things that are good for me like flossing and getting to bed at a decent time.

So, how are you making sure you surround yourself with happiness?


Note: I’m having an free teleworkshop on Monday, January 10, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to talk about career exploration and give information about my Finding Your Calling workshop on March 18-20, 2011 (rescheduled from January 2011).  Please join me!

Welcome to February! The year is 1/12th over. In this time we have gotten halfway from Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox. The amount of light is growing and, at least in Boston, sunset is finally after 5 p.m. Whether you celebrate this as Candlemass, Imbolc, or Groundhog Day, this has traditionally been the time that cabin fever sets in and we just want to be in the warm weather. People in earlier times work get crafty and prepare for the coming season by fixing up things and doing crafts or creative works of art. (Remind you of all the gardening catalogs coming in the mail now?)

What are you creating?

Also this is usually the time that the initial push of a New Year’s Resolution has waned and it’s out of your mind. As it helps to keep things in sight in order to succeed, here are some of he best writtings on resolution keeping that I found on the web this year.

So, what are you fixing up or creating now? Please share you thoughts in the comments!

In the past few weeks, we’ve been awash with images of all the various holidays celebrated at this time of year: Christmas (the big one), Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, St. Lucia Day (being Swedish, I had to have that in there), Kwanzaa, and even Festivus. I’ve also been in a rather melancholy spirit this season. I’m not sure if it’s regarding my getting used to the loss of my mother (she died in September 2009 after a long illness), my own illness and hospitalization (cellulitis caught while in the hospital waiting for my mother to die after we took her off life support), or just where I am in life. I’m assuming it’s probably a combination of everything. Regardless, I’ve been in a bit of a reflective mood at this time, and haven’t actually gone to many parties or done much of anything that I normally would.

This has given me a bit of brain space to try to merge together in my brain how all this goes together. Now, most of us are aware that a major theme of this time of year is light, and bringing back the light when it it darkest outside, but what has struck me is the concept of this being a time of something which we have waited for a long time to finally be born. Almost everyone knows the story of Jesus’ birth that is celebrated mostly by the reenacting of searching for riches and depositing them upon friends, family, and anyone we can (whether they want said riches or not), but there’s also the concept in the pagan tradition that the Sun is born this time of year, and we also have the birth of the “New Me” that is so present in New Year’s Resolutions. I’m also aware in my own life that things have started to grow and come to fruition at this time, whereas I feel like I’ve been gestating them for months (this blog being one of them.)

I’m feeling relieved that there seems to be a releasing of energy, in that I can now develop all those things that I’ve been thinking about for a while. Of course, there’s the issue of moving forward on these great new baby plans that have finally come into the world.

At this time, how are you planning to care and feed these new parts of you?

As one who’s profession it is to help people bring their dreams into reality, I think a lot about how to help people move towards their goals. I’m giving a workshop at the New Year’s Celebration program at Easton Mountain this coming week, and my main focus is to make sure that participants look to their core spiritual values and then connect them with action steps that will allow success to flow. While I’m still finalizing the workshop, here are two steps that are critical to success in achieving goals:

  1. Make Your Goals Achievable Early: Don’t make your resolution that you will be 100 lbs. lighter by the end of the year.  For one thing, it’s hard to see that goal in February because you might have only lost one lb. by that time. Some thing that you can achieve quickly, such as “walking 30 minutes a day, three days a week” or “not eating a donut every morning” is something that you can get a “quick win” and know that you’re doing something good for yourself.It takes about six weeks of doing something new to make it a habit, so allow for some things that you develop easily, and then build up them.
  2. Develop Your Support Network: Nothing keeps you honest like having someone else know your goals.  You need to speak your dreams out loud and then follow that up with a conversation.  Allow people to ask about it, in a loving, non-nagging way.  If you know that your best friend will be checking in on you next week, you better make some progress by then!

So, what are my goals (I was afraid you would ask.)  While these are bound to change, here’s what they are now.

  • Get back on my eating plan so that I am mindful of what I am eating each day (and therefore make better food choices).
  • Practice playing the hammered dulcimer at least twice a week.
  • Continue my meditation practice (I’ve had a lot of people say they like my meditation tweets!)
  • Continue to keep on top of my own “things to do” so that I never have a pile of unidentified stuff that I’m scared to address.

What are your goals and how are you getting to them?

With love and wishes for a new birth of a new you in 2010,
Ken

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

I am a career consultant who specializes in the connection between what your spirit wants to do in the world, and how to marry that to the work that you do in order to support yourself. While I work with people in all fields, I specialize in working with "creative entrepreneurs" and the LGBT community.

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