The first few days of 2021 are already underway, and despite the trepidation so many people feel about making New Year's resolutions during a time of so much uncertainty, that hasn’t stopped the usual suspects from repeating their own renditions of the “new year, new me.”
To be honest with you, I’ve always hated the phrase. In my opinion, there was no difference between who you were on Dec 31st and who you are on Jan 1st, especially not if you just claimed it to be so the day before. It would be impossible to make any sort of monumental change like that, over the course of a single day, simply by saying it, and so I always dismissed the sentiment as a silly one.
However, after all of the twists, turns, and changes brought on by 2020, I have a deeper understanding of why so many people all around seek to reinvent themselves on the New Year. People seek to wash off the stress, trauma, confusion, and fear that is behind them in order for them to continue forward. For some, this is a kind of escapism, and though the desires may be real they aren’t founded on anything grounded which prevent any goals set from materializing in the material world. This is the type of mentality that I once had a distaste for. For others, though, leaving the struggles of a previous year behind does not mean to forget and pretend that they did not happen, but it allows the mind to reset and prepare for the unexpected while still being able to have hope for the future.
Sure, the Gregorian Calendar Year is not universal, the Lunar New Year is in February, and the astrological New Year isn’t until the Spring Equinox in March, but Jan 1st has a frequency all on its own that we are collectively tapped into. Each “year” is experienced by all of us, and therefore possesses its own individual energy outside of what cosmic influences are at play or dates set by past government officials. And it is that energy, which is held in the minds, bodies, and spirits of those who experience the calendar year in this way, that so many people wish to shed as they transition into a new year of possibilities.
Like a snake shedding its skin, we must too shed the layers of our past to make way for new growth. This time of shedding is different for everyone and Jan 1st just happens to be when most people in the West decide to make that transformation.
But how can we make that change successfully? How can you reinvent yourself in a way that’s authentic and has real results?
If you’re entering the year with a “New Year, new me” mentality, wish to shake off the shackles of last year, or want this year to create a shift in your life unlike the ones in the past—you know, the years where you set resolutions and forgot what they were by May—, the best way to start is with a clean slate.
Cambridge University defines a clean slate as “a state in which you are starting an activity or process again, not considering what happened in the past at all.” In the past a slate would be used in the same way that we use loose leaf paper today. It was a slim, stone tablet with a smooth face where writing utensils would be used to inscribe writings, images, equations, etc.
When you start on a clean slate, you are essentially a blank sheet of paper. On it, you can write your own story and reinvent yourself in a way that embodies your highest self & life vision. The meaning of a clean slate is to approach your life like an empty canvas, ready to be decorated with art. And, because you are not limited by utensils, new or old, you can create this vision of Self in whatever way that you’d like. If you’re going to be a “new you”, the best place to start is from the up.
Once you decide that you want a clean slate, so it is. From there all you need to do is take the steps to make your life vision into a reality.
Getting a good look at yourself, what you need, and what you desire, is always the first step in making any type of big change in your life. The answers to most of the questions you have are found internally, not in the outside world.
Meditation is a simple and extremely effective way to approach introspection. Simply sit in a comfortable position, in a place you won’t be disturbed, maybe with some incense burning or music playing and ask yourself these questions:
What do I want?
Who do I want to be?
What do I need to live my most happy & fulfilled life?
What makes life worth living?
Let your mind wander freely, put no judgements on your thoughts, ask whatever you need to know then listen to that little voice inside yourself, your soul’s voice, for the answer.
In his work Letters,Carl Gustav Jung wrote “who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakes”
When you begin to look inside yourself you begin the journey of re-awakening your spirit from its deep slumber, and with it will come the inspiration and clarity necessary to envision your soul’s desire.
Your soul’s desire is just my poetic way of describing the wants, needs, and dreams that exist inside of you, without the influence of the external world or ego. Introspection allows you to examine your soul’s desire, to take stock of everything that you came here to do, achieve, and be. As you explore the depths of yourself, you awaken those visions.
And like a clean slate, it does not take into consideration the mistakes you’ve made, the traumas you’ve gone through, or the fears you may have. It exists, purely, to give you the opportunity to experience life in its greatest form, completely on your terms, as your desires dictate. And like the soul’s desire never leaves, the clean slate is always available to us
Step Into The Present
One of the biggest mistakes we make on this planet is living in the realm of the past or the visions of the future. This is the source of anxiety and depression for so many people in our modern world. Worrying about what has been or what will be keeps you from focusing on what you’re doing right now, and that lack of focus often leads to confusion or misdirection along your spiritual journey
When you step into the present moment, and accept things for what they are right now, you are able to see the path before you with much more clarity
A great way to do this is to stop whatever you’re doing, and take three deep breaths. You can practice this at any moment. In fact, you can do it right now.
Look away from this article for a second and take three, consecutive deep breaths, at your own pace, making sure to focus solely on your breathing.
How did that feel?
What I like to do is to inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds. However, you can adjust the number of seconds to your liking. What’s important is that you take the time to bring your mind back to the present, by tapping into and focusing on your breath.
This is also great for when you’re experiencing periods of distress, anxiety, depression, or dissociation. Taking 3 intentional breaths, or more, is a quick way to reset your mind and body, while bringing your spirit back to the present moment.
Here is Guided Meditation for being in the present moment, and there are plenty of other great ones you can find online completely free.
It is there, in the now, where you’ll be able to process your situation & circumstances from a clear, level-headed perspective. You’ll be able assess the obstacles along your path and traverse them with much more precision.
There is so much power to being in the present
Even though your mind and spirit shouldn’t exist purely in the future, having an understanding of where you’re going makes seeing the path that much easier.
This is a combination of the discovery you do during Introspection & bringing into the now by Stepping into the Present.
“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there” —Richard Bach
If you were to have all the things you wanted & required in order to live your most fulfilled life, what would that look like? Where would you be? Who will you meet? What will you be doing? How do people treat you? What does the air smell like? What do the foods you’re eating, taste like? How do you feel? What type of clothes are you wearing?
Let your imagination run wild. This is your greatest life, the highest point of everything that you desire, don’t leave any stone untouched. If you want to eventually live in a room surrounded by bioluminescent plants —yes, that’s a personal one— then visualize it. Anything you can imagine is capable of materializing into reality. Just like cellphones and airplanes were only the wild dreams of a few great minds only 150 years ago. Nothing is too crazy. Nothing is impossible. Especially when your soul has anything to say about it.
You can also make a vision board of pictures, colors, symbols, & quotes to represent the things you visualized. Hang it up somewhere you’ll see it often, but not often enough where you’ll get bored with it. Your vision board should excite you when you see it, and looking at it too much of the time will make you bored with it. This way, you have a clear view of your things that remind you of your life vision, at all times, that creates a subconscious impact every time it’s seen.
Now that you have your North Star to guide you, you can use it to illuminate the path. What steps do you need to take in order to get to your ideal life vision? What traits & characteristics do you need to take on to embody your highest self?
Be practical in this step, but still feel free to let your mind explore all of the possibilities —no matter how out there or small they may seem.
For example, if you want to improve your looks and your health, set practical wellness goals that will help you achieve the form you are aiming for. Plan to lose/gain a certain amount of weight by a specific date, think about what foods you can start eating to improve your hair, nails, skin, etc.
If you’d like to make a x amount of money, by the end of the year, figure out how much you’ll need to make every quarter to reach that goal. Is there a business you’ve been dying to start, but haven’t taken the first steps? Plan to make that vision a reality, and, if you’d like it to make you money, how will you use that idea to do so.
A great way to set goals is to use the SMART system which is laid out here.
There are tons of other great articles on goal setting, that can guide you through this process in a way that resonates with you. Simply go to google —or even better, Pinterest!— and type “how to set goals” or “goal setting” in the search bar.
These are some articles & resources that I’ve found to be helpful in my own goal-setting journey:
http://www.sortedbook.com/magic-goal-setting/ (this one also talks about New Years resolutions)
Faith without works is dead—John 2:20
After you’ve done the work of looking into yourself, stepping into the now, visualizing your ideal life, and creating goals to get there, the only thing left to do is take action.
This can be done in a myriad of ways, and only you know what’s best for you to do first, but my suggestion is to take your goals and break them into smaller ones that can be achieved in 1-3 month intervals.
Look again, for example, at a wellness goal. Turn “gain 25 lbs this year” to “create and start using a new meal plan in January” and build from there. You can include as little to as many goals as you can realistically handle and that number is up to you. The purpose of this is to make sure you get palpable results, as quickly as possible, while staying within your limits.
In reference to any financial goals, How can you put your best foot forward to achieve those goals? Do you need to sell more products every month? Will you need to start a side-hustle to make some extra income outside of your career? Are there any grants you can apply to that could help you invest in something that could help you make more money (using a grant to build a store and buy ads)?
Setting intentions, a common practice in new age communities, is a great way to bring those goals into daily practice. Intentions are the beliefs and values that direct our actions, but they also influence & can be practically applied to the steps we take on a daily basis.
This is a great article on how to use intentions to shift the vibrations of your everyday life. Deepak Chopra also has a great article on 5 Steps to Setting Powerful Intentions on his website.
By the end of the year, if you’ve gone through all of the steps and taken action to bring these techniques into your daily life, you’re bound to see a massive shift in your experience and quality of life. If you’re really dedicated to becoming a “new you” then dedicate yourself to a clean slate where you can write out the story of your life based on your soul’s desire.
Author - Mani Matterz
This is where I gather tips and tricks, current events, astrology overviews, and other fun stuff.