January 1, 2019

Why I Went from New Year's Resolutions to New Year's Intentions

Happy 2019! I don’t remember the last time I made a New Year’s resolution. So much emphasis is put on them even though most fizzle away by Valentine’s Day. So instead, I’ve resolved to replace resolutions with intentions. Things seemed to flow and feel more aligned when I made this shift. I loved it so much that I started doing intention setting sessions every six months instead of just once a year.

When you set intentions and it’s meant to be, other opportunities and people start to show up. That’s how the divine universe works. During a morning walk a few years ago, my two soul sisters, Kate and Keely, mentioned they too wanted to do intention setting sessions (what I like to call “soul sessions”). This sacred tradition is a great way to do a self check-in, which comes from my feelings vs. what I think I should do. When I uploaded pictures of our soul sessions on social media, several people asked me for tips. If you’re interested, here is last year’s blog I penned about “How to Achieve Productive and Successful Intention-Setting Sessions.”

So many emotions and revelations emerged from my last session from December that I needed to sit with them. A couple days after the session, right after my morning workout, the “ahas” started to materialize. While walking to my car, I felt my gut telling me to go to a nearby park. I recorded my thoughts into this video diary. Don’t you love it when the messages flow in? Things like, “Where do I go next in my career?” “Why did I go through such big challenges last year?” “What did I learn from them?” “How can I be kinder to myself?” And perhaps the biggest revelation, “All along when I was feeling lost, I was learning more about my true path.” Hello, yellow brick road of revelations.
Here’s a recap of my three biggest lessons from 2018:

1. It’s OK to be/feel LOST:

This year, I felt more lost than I ever have in my life. I realized that I put many of my professional goals on the backburner to heal and grieve the loss of my brother-in-law to suicide two summers ago. I felt guilty for not feeling like doing my to-do list and not motivated to achieve more on the professional front. Then, the realization hit me: I was grieving. I was so busy getting things done and helping my sister and her kids get things in order that I the grief didn't settle in until a year later. I also learned this was teaching me about compassion, empathy and a deeper connection with God as well as those around me.

The truth is, we all feel lost in life. It’s not a bad thing. It’s not taboo. It's ok. It’s is a process that leads us to the next chapter. Looking back at my career, I always knew the “why” but not the “how.” One day, I remembered thinking I had achieved all of my professional goals: TV reporter, host for PBS show and teaching at the university level. This is how I’ve remained patient and not driven myself crazy as I worked toward these dreams: I’ve become more comfortable with not having to know the how — that will reveal itself. You just need to take these steps:

a) set your intention(s)
b) take action toward the intention(s) that bring you excitement
c) stay consistent
d) surrender to what is and how things unfold (this last part is the hardest)

During a holiday party, Kelly Starrett, renowned coach and co-owner of San Francisco Crossfit, and I spoke about being OK in the lost-ness and that being lost is essential to finding the most authentic path for you. Nobody gets to where they are supposed to go without feeling lost and making mistakes. These are essential truths that lead us to becoming more of our authentic selves... #SoTrue #Adulting

He reminded me of the life lessons we spoke about during an interview with him for my “TruthDare” podcast.

2. #YouDoYouBoo

#AdultingIsHard. There is no handbook, life is truly a real-life “Choose Your Own Adventure” journey. I had many professional goals for myself this year, but felt like I fell short of some of them. But according to whose timeline? Only I know what I’m truly feeling. Only I know the challenges I’m experiencing. Only I know what my gut is telling me.

3. You Are Exactly Where You Are Supposed to Be:

No matter what you are going through in life, know that it is the perfect place you’re supposed to be. Yes, even if it is a painful experience, it is here to teach you more about your best self. I’ve learned that experiences are like dots scattered on the floor. Each dot is an experience. When you learn from them, you connect the dots, which creates a zig-zag path that is supposed to be for you. No matter the experience laid before me — good, bad or ugly — each one has taught me more about myself, my character, my strength, my resilience and my spirit. I learned the heartache from the loss of a family member and helped me become more compassionate and empathetic toward others… including me.

So to all my fellow seekers, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to feel all the feels so you can heal. It’s OK to be lost. Sit with it. Then work through it. Some people like to talk it out, some people journal, while others like to still in nature or if you’re like me, it’s all of the above. Breathe, be present and do things that excite you and use your power/talent to serve others.

Hooray to a new year, happy joyful soulful 2019!

As Oprah says, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

What were your biggest lessons of 2018? What are your intentions for 2019? Wishing you an auspicious, joyful and LOVE-filled new year.

Xx
Toan

P.S. These free-flow video diaries are fun. I think I’m going to do more of them.

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