2017 Intention Setting: Printable Guides & Strategies for Your Next Wonderful Year

quotecardThe new year is a time for dreamers & do-ers. Beginnings are hopeful and full of possibility making it easy for folks to look ahead and map out their every wish and desire. However, it can be hard to keep focus and not get lost in the many ways to ‘improve’. We tend to resort to dreams as ‘fixes’ to our lives. Before I set out on describing my method of intention setting, I’d like to say that you yourself are wholly enough just the way you are, right now in this very year on this very day! There is no diet, workout, yoga sequence, travel guide, class or job that is going to make that truth any more true or false. That being said, humans are a result of process, not perfection, and this is a time for you to set out new habits and goals for your very human process of self. 

As I said, I love reflection- perhaps it’s that I’m an english major, perhaps that I’m a teacher, perhaps that I’m a yogi- either way, reflection very well may be my favourite part of the practice of process. Which is why it makes sense to start with reflection when setting new intentions. Below, is a free printable reflection guide that you can use to write in your moments from this year ( click here for the PDF download). It is important to get a sense of where you are personally after all these 12 months have passed before moving on to setting new goals and intentions.

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Looking forward, this new year is full of unbound possibility for changing old habits and creating new ones. By placing your attention onto certain areas of your life, you can start to round out an intention for the direction you would like them to go in. Looking at your 2016 what feelings do you want to carry forward…which ones will you work on letting go of? Was you focus or focuses accomplished? Did they change as the year moved on? What did you accomplish this year that you are proud of (no self deprecation here, be your own best cheerleader)? Most importantly, what/who were you grateful for? All of these aspects of life have ties to different areas, different parts of what makes you, you. By looking at these parts of yourself, I encourage you to find 5 aspects of your life that you would like to shed more attention & awareness on. Thats all- you may not even want them to change all that much- just looking for more attention & awareness in that part of your heart. I did this on a separate sheet of paper in bubbles, with aspects you’ve done well, some you wish to progress, some you think are pipe dreams that may never come true and so on. I ended up with 5 areas- you may have more, you may have less. 

Now that you have your 5 areas of your life with all the aspects within those areas, you can start to create you intention.

An intention is a clear and concise ‘I will’ statement. It is your shout into the universe of what your heart desires. The moment you find your ‘I will…’, the intention begins to manifest itself into your life.

Here is another free printable sheet (click here for pdf) to write out your intentions. What is most important is how you know you will have reached it. How will you feel??Be quite clear on what it is you wish to manifest in your life! This is a sample of a few of mine:

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Of course there are MANY ways you can ring-in this new year with new goals and dreams. Some are more visual and will choose to create a vision board while some are so pragmatic that they set out a plan on a calendar down to the dates. Which ever way you are setting resolutions, intentions, dreams or goals this new years, I hope you remember that life is all simply a process. We are never done- when we reach a peak there will inevitably be a valley near by- but we can learn how to continually set these intentions and keep on keeping on!

Have a wonderful new years!!!

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Favourites of 2016

2016 has surprised me in so many ways. Back in January I certainly would not have thought I’d be writing this at my parents house in the U.K & working in Luxembourg in the new year. In fact I had absolutely no idea where i’d be- no direction, no big goal- for the first time in 23 years I had no plan. 2016, for this reason, is going to go down in history as one of those in between years- a building year. A year of growth and big change- some change heartbreaking and some quiet and internal. Despite all this rockiness and change, there was so.much.good. So much good. Here, I’m gonna shed light on it all

Best of Luna Bell

Luna had a big year between vet visits, trips to grandmas and chasing balls. She was lunab3spayed, got all her vaccines and declawed (I researched thoroughly and spent many hours in worry over it, its not the right decision for all kitties but it was for Luna B). She spent most of all that looking at me from her carrier like “I trust you, but why are we doing this again?”.Her little nose is so cute.

My favourite day with her however, had to be during a snow day. In the winter I was on a teaching placement that, to be truthful, had me quite emotionally drained. There was a chunk of time- 2 days I think- where we got calls that it was a snow day so I got to stay home. It was MUCH needed & Luna stayed with me all day, cooking and watching movies and catching up on lesson planning. She really is the best company.lunab2My favourite photo of her in 2016 has to be this one though. Always a distraction while I’m working, she’ll come sit on my lap and manoeuvre into the weirdest poses.lunabShe really is my best choice. When I decided to take this 6 month job, she was my first worry, my first thought. Originally I had wanted to fly her to the UK to stay with my parents but when that changed due to their impending move in 2017, she ended up staying with my grandma in Canada. This was my first month without her in her whole life and its been really hard for me, but I know 6 months will fly by and I’ll be back with her soon, figuring out our new plan. For now, she is happy as a clam at grandmas- spoiled with tuna everyday and stairs to bolt up and down and lots of love. luna5lunab4

Favourite Trip

My favourite trip of 2016 hands down, without a doubt, was Kauai & Maui with Andrew’s family. Hawaii is just one of those places where I instantly feel good. I feel like I am where I’m supposed to be and like nothing else matters. Theres such a sense of peace and home I get when I’m there. I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but all my roads lead back to Hawaii- maybe not in 2017, but at some point(maybe for another ytt:) ). This particular trip can be summed up in one word: MAGIC. Everyday was absolutely spectacular-from rainbows to oceans to mountains to chickens to snorkeling with turtles and fish… magic. Magic. Magic.hawa2.jpghawahawa4.jpgOn the trip I learned that I need the ocean like I need oxygen- too long without it is not okay. I also learned that Andrew is a waaayyy better surfer than I am (although, I still felt very blue crush standing for the first time- then getting hit in the noggin with the board :p)  and that yoga on a towel is just as good as yoga on a $100.00 yoga mat.  I learned that you don’t really need a lot of material things if you are deeply happy- I felt I could have let go of everything I own and lived with just the clothes in my case. I learned there is more to life than worrying about whether you’ve made or are making the right or wrong choice.

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For most of the year I was home in Canada and there were lots of favourites. My little brother leaving home and going off to university for one!! It was a hard shift, being that my parents would still be in UK and he was coming back to live in Canada, but we all got through and he is doing wonderfully. I’m so proud of him and happy I got to see it all unfold.

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I spent a lot of time this spring & summer on the waterfront in the town where I lived. A rocky beach was only a 10 minute walk from where I lived and there was a sand one about 40 minutes away by bus. These quiet moments were my favourite. Often, I’d go after work, having sat all day long needing some movement. best2.jpg

Field trip with my best girls is up there in the charts as well. Such a happy fun day all 4 of us together! The National was pretty amazing too.
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img_2342Before my brother started school, my family came to the town I was living in for a vacation. We went to Wolfe Island and had such a wonderful time together. All 4 of us together is hard to come by sometimes so it was great to take it easy.img_3474

My best friends and I also went on a roadtrip to Vermont before  left for Luxemboug where they threw me a ‘Happy Everything’ party. Complete with halloween, christmas, birthday, new years, valentines and cinco de mayo. Best. trip. ever.

Yoga

2016 was the year I completed my first 200hr yoga teacher training. May 1st, graduation day, will forever be one of my most favourite days of my entire life. It was incredible. Full of love and harmony and emotion. I came home almost vibrating with energy. Yoga has been an important path for me for a long time and will continue to be.IMG_9053

Creative Self Study

One of my ‘resolutions’ for 2016 was to give myself more space for creative release. I’ve always loved art, I took art class all throughout high school and loved it immensely but never felt it was something to take seriously. Now i know that it is seriously something I need to allow time for in my life for my own wellness. Making that space was one of the best things I did for myself in 2016- it will continue on in 2017!

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Tattoo Love

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I got my first tattoo this year commemorating my scoliosis & spinal fusion surgery. I did it on a random day and couldn’t love it more than I do. I walked in, no hand to hold and no plan other than wanting a lotus. Afterwards there was such a feeling of freedom of control and respect for my body. It was a fantastic little experience.

 

 

 

Those are the big favourites of 2016! Of course I have a million and one other favourite moments- they’re smaller moments though, little snippets of love and generosity that are saved in my memory forever. These, however, are the big photographable moments of yoga, travel and teaching throughout 2016. I’ve loved looking through all my photos & videos from the year and hope you will with your own photos & videos!

All I can say now is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

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Minimalism: The Art of Letting Go

For the past few weeks I have been downsizing. I don’t just mean letting a few old and broken things go, I mean I’ve taken a head first dive into minimalism. I’ve taken a 6 month job abroad to get some travel bug dreams actualized and some teaching under my belt. This new leap means however, that all my possessions and belongings that I have oh-so cherished and moved from now 3 homes (uni & 2 apartments) will very suddenly not have a home. As such, I’ve become quite a friend to pinterest, searching up minimalism ‘hacks’.

Let me tell you world, there are a lot of fabulous ideas out there on how to declutter your life, all of which terrified me. Of course I’m not letting go of everything. Some boxes and treasured pieces will find homes with some of my willing friends and family. However, the thought of throwing out that Billibong dress I bought 3 years ago for Easter dinner and never wore again-well it just makes my heart hurt a little.

Its got me thinking- what makes us so attached to these things? I started to build up categories of my attachment- and began to find that it helped me to let go. Looking at thing and knowing why I was attached to it, which category of my life it fit into, helped me figure out if it should be let go of or saved. This started to help me more than some of the pinterest hacks I had tried so I thought I would share!

1.The ‘Me’ Museum 

One of my biggest categories was for why I couldn’t let go was the ‘memory’ aspect. I have boxes of memory artifacts- movie tickets from 7 years ago, student cards, airplane tickets…you name it, I kept it. I even have double bubble gum wrappers (the jokes on them are hilarious, okay?). What stops me from letting go is this one though “what if I want to look back on this when I’m 80?”. First of all, who wants to look at gum wrappers when they’re 80? Second, I would hate to grow old and have my belongings become a museum of my life. I’d rather they show I lived, rather than show that I simply held on to everything. I’ve started letting some things go- its been a hard process but, if I keep my journals, who needs the artifacts, right?

Method of Minimizing: Is there a way I can combine all these artifacts into one artifact so I don’t lose out on the memory but I save the space? 

2. Moving Around The Furniture

Furniture has been another hard thing to minimizer. Why? Because of the cost. It has nothing to do with sentimentality. I’ve been taught from a young age that you use something until it has completed its purpose- you don’t throw away things that still function. Well, I have bookshelves and side tables and coffee carts that have not fulfilled their entire purpose and yet, I can’t just carry em’ across the pond with me.  The problem with furniture is that its not so easy to give away! Especially when you don’t own a car! I’ve been fighting to make peace with the fact that these perfectly useful (not matching in any sort of way) pieces of  furniture will be garbage. Reduced to firewood basically. What helps? Knowing that I will feel SO MUCH lighter when its all said and done. AND that when I come back, I will be able to start fresh. Most of my belongings are pre-used by my family members, which is why its all a bit mismatched. When I come back, I will have a clean starting ground!

Method of Minimizing: How good will starting fresh without this piece of furniture feel? ( the answer is gooooood)

3. Clothing, Books and Art- Oh My! 

This was the overwhelming part. I have so. much. stuff. So many articles of clothing. So many books. To let go of pieces in this category,  I had to move fast. I envisioned the black garbage bag to be something like a black hole- what goes in DOES NOT come back out. If there was even 0.001% of me that thought I could live without the object- in the bag it went. And this went on for.days. In fact- its still going on. I’ve filled countless bags with clothing and books and my old paintings that are of absolutely no monetary worth. I’ve donated some clothes, pawned some movies and given away some books to family & friends, but the stuff is still piling up. It is a constant checking in and letting go.

Method of Minimizing: As soon as there is the tiniest voice in your mind saying “I don’t use that” or “I haven’t touched/ worn that in ages” you must tackle the letting go of it. There is no doing it later- put it in the bag and watch it slip into a vortex that is not your own. 

 

“Its not that you should own nothing – its that nothing should own you” Its been a wonderful practice, this letting go of things. I’ve found that I’m okay with owning nothing and I’m okay with owning abundance- but there is a place in between where I am better than okay, I am happy!

xx

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After the Storm

ats2Its been raining here for three days straight. The rain affects my mood so much- motivation goes out the window. The problem with checking off to-do lists is that they carry a bit of shame when you don’t end up check them off ‘in time’. The truth of it though, is you don’t need that check mark. Theres too much weight put on fake motivation in our society, on doing things to check them off. We expect people to be ambitious, concentrated, head strong and steadfast about accomplishing their goals, but thats not how humans work everyday. There are days when motivation is lacking and that, my friends, is not the same as laziness or disregard or apathy. It is as necessary as the rain is.

Three days I’ve been feeling kind of mellow, just working and then heading back into my comfy pants. Shifting things around in the apartment, preparing for changes. Something I haven’t really done, is check off any of the things on my ‘master to-do list’. I felt agitated most of the time though for not doing so.

Today the rainyness continued and I finally got to a space where I felt okay with it. I cleaned a closet. I watched movies. I ate Halloween candy.

And then the rain went away & I was gifted with this sky.

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Learn Something New Everyday

learnseomthing.jpgMay 1st 2016 was my yoga teacher training graduation. We all dressed in our whites and sang Stevie Nicks and jittered with excitement before beginning the ceremony. It would turn out to be one of the most connected and cosmically guided moments of my life thus far. It was one of those moments where you look around and think ‘I am here for a reason and the reason is inconsequential standing next to the fact that i.am.here’.

We were guided into the room by our teacher. When you walked in you could either move right of left to find your seat in the circle. I moved right. I found my seat. And in front of me was one of the most relevant phrases to my journey I have ever seen. Surrounded by colourful rose petals were the words ‘learn something new everyday’.

I’ve sat on these words for almost 4 months now and I can’t emphasize their importance enough.

What do you take away from each day?

What did you learn?

Did you learn something about yourself?

Did you learn something about someone else?

Did you humble yourself before something you thought you knew?

Did you commit yourself fully to the idea that we never truly are masters of anything?

Did you find yourself sitting in gratitude for the world around you, known and unknown?

This moment changed me in the most complete and beautiful way and I will carry this card with me all my life. In times that feel too big its helped me narrow my focus and in times where my focus has been too narrow its helped me broaden my horizons. Learn something new everyday.

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