Tag Archives: new year’s

Announcing The Year of Intent : Use Intent.com to Reach Your Goals in 2014

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We’ve been bringing it up over the past several weeks but today the Intent team is excited to officially announce 2014 as THE YEAR OF INTENT. From here on out Intent.com and the blog will be used to support our community in achieving their goals. Intent itself will be striving to do it’s part as a brand and a conscious company to make a world a better place. We think that an essential part of that is by helping our community utilize the power of intent not just as part of a meditation or yoga practice, but in every aspect of their lives.

How? 

What do you want to accomplish in 2014? Mallika Chopra intends to write and publish her book Living With Intent. Gotham Chopra intends to launch The Religion of Sports  – a multimedia cross-platform project to answer why do you care so much about a thing you have no control over? Megan (Intent Blog editor) intends to finish her first screen play. MeLissa (Intent.com community moderator) intends to take her writing and acting career to the next level.

Whether you are trying to do something big like write a book or start a business or something more personal like intend to be a more patient person, we want you to come up with one major intent for 2014. Sign up (it’s totally free!) on Intent.com and post it in our Year of Intent category. We’ll be recruiting others with big projects to do the same. Then we’re going to support each other. Throughout the year you’ll update that intent with your progress (worksheets to help you keep track of your progress will be available soon!). Tell us about the major milestones you hit, or if you hit a snag and need help getting back in the saddle. We’ve enabled users on Intent.com to be able to post hot links and YouTube videos for multi-media projects. The blog will also be a tool for support (more on that below).

If you are unsure of how to set your intent or even what it is, read this post to help you get started.

Why

The idea of intent isn’t limited to meditation or a yoga space. We are trying to show that it’s a principal that can be applied to your every day life to make your life more fulfilling and help you achieve the things your soul most desires. We want to show you and the world how to do that and prove that intents aren’t something you state and then leave for the ether. The Year of Intent is going to help people create real change in their lives and the world by encouraging them to complete their heart projects. So we are inviting you to be part of that movement by adding your intent and going on this journey with us.

Okay, sounds good, but it also sounds like a lot of work. What’s in it for me besides some feel good stuff? 

We’re glad you asked. There are actually quite a few incentives for you to participate in Year of Intent. Let’s start with a basic few.

  • Quantifiable support: Intent.com is an active and growing community. Its members are also very active. As you update your intent you’ll have the community behind you – and the numbers are right there for you to show investors, publishers, agents, etc. So if you’re writing a book, as Mallika is doing, as you update your intent your support will grow. Chapter by chapter and and by the end of the manuscript you can go to publishers and say “I’ve been tracking my progress on Intent.com and I already have X amount of people in seeing this become a reality.” (Our newsletter mailing list alone has 30K, so that X can be quite impressive). For those pursuing creative intents having a measurable audience is a definite help when it comes to finding partners and companies to help distribute or officially launch your work and Intent.com can be the place where you grow that invested audience.
  • Collaborations: MeLissa and Megan will be monitoring the community and the intents daily. As you update your intents they will recommend users who are working on similar projects. So if you update your intent to say that you have hit a snag, there could very well be another member of the community who is working on something similar or has expertise in the field that you need and you can be connected. Not only does it foster the supportive vibe we want in the community but it also enhances your personal projects and could create lasting partnerships.
  • Accountability and inspiration: Everyone knows that a little pressure can be invaluable when you’re trying to reach a goal. Setting your Intent.com and creating an audience creates an accountability to keep up with your intent, whether its creative or personal (or both). We also encourage you to support others’ intents to make them accountable, and to draw inspiration from those around you also pursuing their goals.

I still don’t get what you mean by “update my intent.” Don’t I just make it and affirm it when it’s done? 

Year of Intent is about big goals, even if they are personal in nature. We want you to create an intent that is going to take work to complete. We’ve created worksheets and other tools to help you break your “big” intent down into smaller milestone goals. As you reach a milestone, you’ll update your intent with your progress. With the hot link and YouTube features you can actually show that progress as well to those who have supported you and also to show new members of the community or to your intent what you’ve been up to. By creating smaller goals to achieve it not only makes you accountable (see above!) but it helps make reaching your big intent more manageable, and you get encouragement along the way to help push you forward!

This is all happening on Intent.com. What about the blog though?

The blog is going to be Intent headquarters from here on out. We’ll still have great inspirational articles but they are going to be catered to supporting you and reaching your intents. There will be tips on setting your intents, how to keep the motivation going, useful habits for getting yourself out of a rut, etc. We will also increase the “From Intent.com” posts. Right now those happen once a week but we’ll start posting more frequently about inspiring intents that we see that we think the community should know about or that we thought are particularly inspiring.

Most excitingly though, we’ll be using the blog to help showcase updated intents and reward supporters with exclusive content from the intents they support. For example, Mallika is writing her book Living With Intent. One of her smaller goals is to finish a certain amount of chapters by the end of the first quarter. When she reaches that goal we will post a preview or sneak peak of what she’s been working on so you can actually see the work you’re supporting! So you’ll see it here on Intent Blog before it’s officially published anywhere else! This will happen with projects and intents all across the website. As more people sign up and start posting their intents we’ll post info about submitting to the blog as a featured Year of Intent participant. (Featured users will also go in our Intent newsletter as well. Add that to the incentives pile).

As Intent reaches out to more partners to help support the project – both companies that support healthy and wellness lifestyles as well as non-profit organizations we hope to spotlight – there will also be blogs about their intents, causes and goals for the year. They will sponsor content that helps inspire you in your pursuits and also give context to the work they are doing themselves to help make the world a better place.

This sounds great, but I’m not planning to write a book or start any massive projects in 2014. Why should I use Intent.com? 

Intent.com and Year of Intent is going to be useful for everyone. Even if you aren’t taking on a big creative or professional project, we encourage you to set some sort of goal for yourself in the coming year and set that intent. It can be something personal like wanting to get healthier or overcome an obstacle you see in your life. Those are just as important and valuable to our mission. Setting intents is about growing as a person and that means something different for every individual. Let’s say you have the following intent: “I intend to become a more open person in 2014.” Fantastic. How are you going to get there? Are you going to try and be more social? Are you going to join a new book club? Perhaps you’ll try meeting friends on MeetUps.com or go on more dates. Maybe you’ll offer forgiveness or an apology to someone you’ve been holding a grudge against for years. These are your smaller goals towards meeting your overall intent and the things that the community wants to support you in doing.

Support. This entire project will only work with support. Whether you have a project or not you can still support others who are blazing that trail (and who knows? Maybe it will inspire you to start your project). Add a supportive comment. Link them to a resource you think might help with their Intent. Share the intent with others. We believe that by joining the community and getting active you open yourself up and become a more conscious, mindful person.

More questions, comments, concerns?

Tell us in the comments below! Or email support@intent.com and we’ll be glad to advise the best we can!

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Help us make 2014 a great your for Intent, for you, and this wonderful community.

10 Ways to Make 2014 Your Best Year Yet

Fireworks Say it again, “I AM a powerful creator!!!”  Yes, you are.  The super cool thing about this new year, is that we are also starting off with a new moon on January 1t!  The last time this happened was 19 years ago.  New moons bring powerful energy for change and fresh starts.  Combine that with the energy of a new calendar year turning over, and you have super manifesting powers!

With that in mind, here are 10 tips to help you make 2014 your most amazing year yet!

  1. Ditch the resolutions and create real change that lasts by writing goals with soul!  Instead of the typical, boring goal list that you feel obligated to write because everybody else is, dig really deep and listen to the calling of your soul.  What is your big intention for the new year? How do you want to feel? What impact do you want to have in the world?  By aligning with the feelings you desire, your deep-rooted intentions, and the impact you want to have in the world, there is a much greater likelihood of you staying interested, motivated, and totally engaged.  For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose 10 pounds (and this year I’m really going to do it), a goal with soul would sound more like this: “I want to feel more alive and more energized!  I want to feel divinely feminine and sexy in my own skin.  I want the sense of accomplishment and rush of self-confidence knowing I finally did it.  I want tons of energy to enjoy chasing after my kids and still have enough left over to start that really amazing project.”  See the difference?  Which do you think has more staying power?

  2. Follow your bliss.  Whatever you have going on in your life, make sure you are doing something that makes you happy every single day!  Passion is the internal fire that lights us up and keep us going through the tough times.  Don’t put yours on the back burner. Instead, make sure your flame is kept healthy and strong by spending time nourishing it each day.

  3. Show up!  Often, the most difficult part of creating a new habit or practice is having the discipline to show up each day.  But, on the flip side of that, if you can just commit to showing up for it, the rest will happen naturally.  In other words, get your booty to the gym, the classroom, the meeting, in front of the computer typing feverishly, or wherever else it needs to be to make good things happen in your life!  In doing so, you’ve already covered the tough part.  Next, make sure you are showing up mindfully and without distractions so that you can be fully engaged in the activity.  Stay committed and you are pretty much guaranteed to see progress and success over time.  So, no excuses or compromise.  Show up!

  4. Make self-care a priority.  If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anybody else very well either.  And, the world needs you!  So, make sure you are loving and nurturing yourself regularly.  This includes your physical fitness, health, mental well-being, spirituality, relationships, finances, career, personal goals, and anything else that needs attention to ensure you are healthy, happy, peaceful and fulfilled in your life.

  5. Say “no” to anything that doesn’t totally excite your soul.  Our most valuable resource is our time.  We only have so many hours in each day and we can never go backwards to get it back.  Spend yours wisely!  Often, this means saying no, and possibly even disappointing others along this way.  But, this is your life and these are your dreams.  If your time is filled up doing stuff that you don’t absolutely love, than there isn’t going to be enough space for your true love and calling to seep in.  So, before saying ‘yes’ to something, ask yourself if it lines up with your vision and your goals with soul.  Sit on it for at least 24 hours. If the answer is not an excited “Hell yes!!” than consider taking a pass on it.

  6. Help others.  When your goals and dreams include more than just helping yourself, they seem to come alive that much quicker and more vibrantly.  It’s just one of those unexplained laws of the Universe. Bonus: it feels good.  Whether it’s sharing knowledge and wisdom, your time, or allocating a percentage of sales or income to giving back, consider some ways you can help impact the world with your gifts in a positive way.  It all comes back around.

  7. Practice humility and grace. When you achieve some amount of success in your life, always remember where you came from and how hard you worked to get there.  Also, be mindful that there is an ebb and flow to these sorts of things.  Be grateful and enjoy your achievements in the moment, but be ready and willing to continue to work hard to keep them up.  Success also has a way of sometimes bringing up adversity.  Make it your policy to embrace the positive, disregard the negative (with the exception of any valuable lessons you can extract), and handle any difficult situations or people with dignity and grace.  You will go far if you can master the art of this!

  8. Savor and celebrate.  Sometimes in our day-to-day routines, we don’t realize how far we’ve come.  Any progress is good progress!  Check in with your goals often and be sure to celebrate all of the big and small accomplishments along the way.  You deserve it!  It feels good to treat yourself and also serves as a reminder of the hard work you’ve put in to make steps in the direction of your dreams.  Life is about the journey more so than the destination. So, enjoy the ride!

  9. Don’t give up! When the going gets tough, so many people want to throw in the towel. This is when you’re passion and devotion is put to the test as you will need to dig even deeper to keep pushing along.  You wouldn’t train for a marathon and give up a mile before the finish line because you are tired. No way!  You push through it.  A spectator sign that I’ve seen in a couple marathons that I’ve ran is “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”  So true! Change out a couple of words and apply it to chasing your dreams, and keep trying.

  10. Have fun!!!  Don’t take life so serious.  Nobody gets out alive, anyway.  Laugh. Be silly.  Dance.  Forgive.  Let go.  Embrace. Smile. Enjoy.  With two businesses, two young children, and a beautifully chaotic life of my own, embracing an abundance of unbridled joy is one of my biggest intentions for next year.  I hope you will join me, let loose a little, and let the corners of your mouth turn up more too!  Let’s change the world with smiles on our faces.

I hope these 10 tips will leave you feeling inspired at the start of this new year!  Revisit them any time you need a little extra boost.

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If you are looking for a little more help, visit the Dawnsense.com page and sign up for the email list to learn about the upcoming group coaching programs that will help you dig in and make 2014 your best year yet.  And, please also join us on the inspiring Dawnsense Facebook page.  I’ll be  cheering for you!
xo, Dawn

photo by: Amani Hasan

From Intent.com: Beautiful Things Out of Dust

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There’s a really wonderful song by a group called Gungor.
The chorus says:

“You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us.”

There’s so much hope in those lyrics. There’s something about knowing that growth can happen out of dust. It means it’s not too late. That in whatever destruction our lives have seen, there is still space for something beautiful to grow out of it.

It’s no surprise that around the end of the year, so many people are reflecting on where they’ve been and where they’d like to go.

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Being different takes time and bravery.
Sometimes your growing things out of dust and sometimes it feels like you’re getting nowhere, but if you plant the seeds, you’re further ahead than you might think. Because hope has a way of springing up.

So what would you like to see change in your life?
What have you been waiting on?
What would you hope to be at this time next year?

“All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You.”
-“Beautiful Things”, Gungor

Why Wait: Create Your Intentional Collage to Reach Your Goals

By Linda Lauren

Collage 2011

I define a dream as a wish that is powered by a positive intention until it becomes a reality.  We make our own reality each day and that is through our thoughts and convictions.

People who know me know that I take it upon myself to gather my friends together to create personal collages of what we intend to achieve in our lives in the coming year.  These collages help us to define our present so that we can create our future. They keep us focused on our goals and they dare us to fulfill our dreams. The reality is that each year, with each collage is a step closer to making your life positively unfold.

This collage does not have to be about obtaining material things, but can help foster a message of hope, love, and help you out of depression through healing. I once made a personal collage for a surgical procedure and hung it in my hospital room. Each time I looked at it I was spurred on to heal and that was my collage’s intention: healing.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the angst of the world and not realize how deeply global events can affect us in the negative. The signs are: depression, anger, jealousy, impatience, and the growing threat of intolerance. Everything from social media to social connections is threatened simply because it is easier to ride the wave of a bad vibe then it is to work at a positive one.  I remind myself of how important it is for me to be positive if I want to live a long and happy life, and that my every single thought has a profound affect on my entire life.  So, I reprogram my personal intentions through my collage, adding to it as the year progresses.

Though you can also do this on a computer, I have found that it’s more fun in a group to do it the following way.  You will need a few essentials and suggestions to get you started:

Get a piece of cardboard or poster board, scissors, glue and a lot of different and/favorite magazines, newspapers, and photos. Make sure you have a photo of yourself, and the year.  The size of the collage is up to you. If you are doing this as a project with family, friends or business partners, you might want a larger board so everyone can participate.

Cut out the images and words that best represent what you wish to manifest. Arrange them on the board, glue down when you’re satisfied with your work, and take a photo of the final results. Put the original collage in a room at home where you will always see it and use the photo as a screen saver or wallpaper on your computer, tablet and/or phone.

I have seen these collages become a source of motivation, comfort and peace. A collage with intention empowers us and helps us to go with the flow by directing the current so that we arrive at our destination!  The New Year is around the corner and there’s no better time to start!

Rethink How to Celebrate The Holidays

HolidayHappiness_1224210-01They’re back – The holidays. From mid to November to early January, many faiths and traditions celebrate. It has indeed the potential to be the most wonderful time of the year – a message that much of the music of the season shares with us.

But with the extreme commercialism that has come to define them, it is easy to lose sight of the real reason for holidays. How we celebrate is entirely our choice – we have the ability to remove or add things to ensure our celebrations are as we want them to be. Though we have the choice, we can get overwhelmed and intimidated into letting the commercial voices tell us how to celebrate the holidays. Don’t give in. Decide early, before the season is fully on you, how you want your celebrations to be.

I regularly see frantic gift-buyers rushing through stores with names of people to buy for. This focus on tangible gifts is still a challenge as our national media and commercial marketing has us believing that lovely diamonds, new cars, electronics and gift cards are the way to share how you feel about others. Though it activates our economy, what is its true place our celebrations? Gifts are truly gifts when they share something of us in a meaningful way with another. So, before you buy one more thing, consider the following gift ideas:

  1. Give the gift of time. Though we may be physically present, the pace of life can frequently make us mentally absent. Make time to fully show up in your relationships. Not only increase your contact – phone and face-to-face – but be more involved and interested in your relationships. Plan events together and really show up. Making time and being present for someone feels amazing. Who needs your gift of time?
  2. Give the gift of friendship. Redefine what being a friend means to you and show up this way to your relationships. Value them more. Be more involved. Share more. Connect at a deeper level. Say what you feel. Who needs your gift of friendship?
  3. Give the gift of patience. Manage your comments, opinions and tone. No two of us see the world in the same way so our responses to similar situations will likely be different. Not right or wrong; just different. We don’t have to agree. We just allow others to be who they are and to have the patience not to force them to see things always from our perspective. With our aging parents and our developing teens, patience can work miracles. The great thing about giving patience is that it generally gives you a similar gift in return. Who needs your gift of patience?
  4. Give the gift of forgiveness. Use this time of year to settle an old disagreement, right an old wrong and be the bigger person. Celebrate a renewed friendship or relationship that had felt the effects of ego, emotions and misunderstandings. Forgiving is a gift we give to others because we know they are human and sometimes humans get things wrong. And again, maybe by giving the gift of forgiveness, you may get it back. Who needs your gift of forgiveness?
  5. Give the gift of acceptance. Life isn’t easy – we are each trying to find our way. What if we were more accepting of others as they define their lives, values, interests and directions? The gift of acceptance is one of the best and most powerful. I received this gift from my grandfather. When I came out, he called to find out how he could learn more about what being gay meant to me so he could support me; he accepted me. That was years ago. I remember this gift every day. Who needs your gift of acceptance?

Rethink your holidays; transform them from commercial events into powerful celebrations of people and relationships. We are on this planet together to learn from each other and to participate together in the wonders of our world. Celebrations are a way to bring us together to help us learn more, connect better and build a stronger sense of community.

We have been trained that a nicely wrapped present means I love you. But spending time, being more forgiving, accepting, patient, friendly and present are more powerful ways of saying the same message – they just get less marketing dollars. Though some may think this approach just gets them out of the hassle of buying a gift, it actually takes considerably more work to show human to your relationships. But think of this one additional and important benefit: as you give these, you are changed. You become more present, more loving, more forgiving and more patient. They benefit, you benefit. That is what true celebration is.

Consider as the volume escalates on holiday music, ads and deals, that things don’t say ‘I love you’; your voice, heart, time and commitment say ‘I love you.’ May your holidays be merry. May they be happy. And may they remind you celebrate the wonderful people in your life.

Watching My Intents Come to Fruition

ColoradoBy Russell Richard

“I am reflecting upon the past year sourcing the wisdom it continues to bring, even in this late hour. I move toward the New Year with ambitious intentions for what I wish to manifest and how I wish to evolve. I am always amazed by all that happens in a year’s time and the growth that comes. Equally significant is the awareness of areas of growth requiring continued attention in the days ahead. I leave behind all that must be of 2012 and take with me all that will serve me. I welcome 2013 ready to work, grow, play, laugh, create, expand, serve, and most important of all, love genuinely and authentically.”

Those words were written in the quiet, reflective solitude of New Year’s Eve shortly before the stroke of midnight. Seven months later I find myself in awe of what can occur within a few months.

This story about intention actually begins in June of last year. I reached a point in life where I was not where I wanted to be and not sure where I wanted to go. From that place I set a very simple intention for clarity.

The first step in this process was reconnecting with a group of friends actively involved in deep psycho-spiritual work. As the saying goes, “long story short”, I ended the year not only with clarity but momentum. In the initial days of the New Year I created a list of clear goals and intentions for 2013.

An important distinction exists between the two. I view intentions as desires one seeks to manifest without evidence or knowledge of how it will or can occur; a want with no identifiable means of achieving it. Goals, in contrast, are desires we pursue with the knowledge and means to achieve them. Having experienced the power of intention in years past and having moved from confusion to clarity within a relatively short period of time, I entered this year with many desires and few identifiable means of achieving them.

With new-found clarity and direction I began writing my first book and co-created another circle of support with a specific focus on professional endeavors. I am nearly half way through writing the initial draft of the book and have an outline for a second. Educational opportunities requiring travel and significant time and expense became possible. I built a spaceship and created this blog. The spaceship I refer to is my website. Not being very tech savvy and building the site myself, I imagine building a spaceship to be comparable; perhaps easier.

I welcomed 2013 ready to work, grow, play, laugh, create, expand, serve, and love. Not even half way through the year each of these intentions have manifested in profound ways.

It is quite amazing all that occurs in a year’s time. Even more amazing is what can occur when choosing to live with intention. After completing the third chapter of my book I had something of an epiphany. I began with a simple desire for clarity and arrived at a profound realization…

Live with intention, act with humility and genuine love, surrender self will to the will of the Highest Source and experience the miraculous.

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88215dab73dc55af10dec1d4ae3f9123Russell Richard has over 15 years of clinical experience facilitating individual, couples and group therapy. His areas of expertise include recurring emotional and behavioral patterns, major life transitions, relationship and couples distress, grief and loss, anger management and resolution, men’s issues, emotional intelligence and psycho-spiritual functioning. It is Russell’s belief that we are psychological and spiritual beings, and his approach is informed by the teachings and wisdom of the worlds great spiritual traditions. His ultimate goal is to assist clients in transforming personal awareness into success-oriented action.

Happening Now! Live Hangout with Mallika Chopra on Stress

mallikaIn collaboration with SELF magazine’s series, “13 Resolutions for a Better 2013,” Mallika Chopra is hosting a live conversation with some of the top minds in the wellness world. Today’s chat is all about stress – what causes stress, ways to de-stress, how to create an overall healthier, happier life.

The guests included in this hangout are:

Mallika Chopra – entrepreneur, founder of Intent.com, and author of two books on parenting

Gretchen Rubin – author of Happier at Home and The Happiness Project

Andy Puddicombe – founder of Headspace, former monk

Soren Gordhamer – founder and host of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, author

Gabby Bernstein – vlogger and author of the NY Times Bestseller, May Cause Miracles

Martin Shervington – business consultant, marketing psychologist, comedian

Lindsay Giorgi – wellness center operations specialist at Google

 

Join us NOW on The Chopra Well!

Why I’m Not Setting New Year’s Resolutions

After all the fuss and celebration surrounding New Year’s, how much has actually changed? What have those resolutions amounted to? Once the festivities die down, there’s little left to remind us of our resolve. And it seems the new year often masks a continuation of old habits and routines, despite how loudly we hail its transformative powers.

I’m a fan of shaking things up – traveling, trying new things, pushing my boundaries. But come New Year’s, I’m as complacent as anyone else. There is just too much built into the changing of the year, too many expectations. I often feel utterly defeated before we even make it to December 31.

This year was no different, and I sat with the familiar feelings of reluctance and disappointment as the day approached. Just need to make it through the next few days, I thought, and life can go back to normal. It was that prospect, though, that filled me with dread. Life will go back to normal, unless I do something about it…

I didn’t paint any gaudy signs or post any dramatic declarations on Facebook. Rather, I let the new year sneak into my life like a little draft of wind and followed it around for a bit to see wherecanal it would go. I followed it from my favorite Venice Beach cafe into an unfamiliar neighborhood. I turned a corner and dove into a serene, sunlit series of canals. Down the flowery lanes I walked, over decorated bridges, past ducks and children playing. So close to home yet heretofore unexplored!

The next day, the wind led me from my Silverlake spot over to Griffith Park. Yeah, okay, I’ve been here before. Not too exciting. But the new year had something else in mind. I started down my usual route, with about fifty other New Year’s Day hikers. Somewhere along the way, caught up in the beauty of glowing green hills, my feet took a turn, then another, and another. I soon found myself alone in a clearing of brush, standing in front of a lone and overflowing sage bush. All of a sudden this place I thought I knew so well had revealed itself anew, like a little treasure. I took a sprig of sage home as a souvenir.

This year I’m not setting any resolutions. It’s not that I don’t believe in them, but the practice just isn’t going to serve me this time. The freshness of 2013 has come through in unexpected turns and hidden revelations. This year will hold much to surprise and delight, and there is clearly plenty of the “familiar” that remains to be explored. I intend, therefore, to find the new around every corner, let my feet ramble, and trust the wind that guides me along the way.

Sticking To Your New Year’s Resolutions: The Five Percent Rule

ripple effect

When it comes to resolutions, think small and work to remain consistent.  Someone told me a long time ago that if you can change any area of your life by a consistent five percent, the effects will be remarkable.   The truth of this is mirrored in the reality of global warming.  Even changes of a single degree can change everything.  Just a few years ago what was imperceptible even to scientists, was altering the landscape of our collective future. This 5% rule applies to our personal ecosystems as well.   The smallest of changes in how we communicate in, show up for, and think about our relationship can and does alter its course.

Bad things happen fast, good things take time.  This is the caveat about how the five percent rule works.   Accidents, illnesses, forces of nature like hurricanes or tornados arrive in a moment, often with no warning.   Personal catastrophes like divorces can fall into the middle of your world like a tidal wave.  How is it possible that we could not see these things coming?   Relationships are fragile eco-systems and just as in the aftermath of a storm, rebuilding and recuperation is a process which takes the time and patience that is the daily work of sustaining.

It is easy to get burnt out in this daily work of relating, it is the hardest work that we are asked to do.    People are annoying, even the very best of them and especially when you live with them and are charged with their care.   This fact can apply to growing families or aging parents as easily as it does to our primary partner.   Keeping relationships healthy and being willing to heal the ones that are ailing is not a quick fix solution, it is a resolution to keep the five percent rule in action.   It is being willing to do the one extra act of kindness each day.  It is taking the time to listen even when you have heard enough.  It is finding the energy to be intimate even when you don’t feel connected.  It is the laundry and the dishes and one more trip to the grocery store.

The five percent rule is a good resolution to take on no matter what your life situation.  Another way of thinking about it is the continuous improvement plan, where we agree to remain vigilant to our own attitude and willingness to participate.  It acknowledges that we aren’t going to be perfect or expect perfection, but rather with realistic intentions, we strive to be just a bit better than yesterday.   It respects the time that it takes for small, seemingly imperceptible changes to be felt and experienced.

Making a resolution to live with a five percent improvement plan is a heroic act.  Not only do you courageously embrace the unpredictable and certain falling apart that happens in every life, but you simultaneously hold your heart open to trying to make the small acts of living softer and more bearable for the people you love.    It is a resolution that you can keep because it commits you to a process rather than an outcome and gives you the freedom to miss the mark some days.

So go ahead, resolve to get better at whatever you choose- or what the heck, just resolve to get better in your whole life, but just go for five percent.  It’s plenty.

Please take a look at our new website, www.goodcleanlove.com and use coupon code NEWSITE08,  to enjoy a new year 15% discount.   If you like this, share it with a friend, if not share it with me.

PHOTO: Flickr / freefotouk

7 Practical Tools to Ease Anxiety and Depression to Make Your Season Merry and Bright

It’s the time of year when your regularly scheduled programming for nutrition, exercise, and centering activities (like meditation and journaling) is interrupted for party hopping, shopping, and travelling. Throw into the mix the pressure of spending money and time (with perhaps some stress-inducing relatives), and it’s a wonder anyone says “Happy Holidays.”

Just as with the other eleven months of the year, you have a choice in whether you make your holidays merry and bright or, well, not so much.

In the busyness of the season, anxiety and depression can be gifts you’d rather not unwrap. But, they can be returned. 🙂

The key is to make a conscious effort to maintain a mind and body balance. While “mind/body connection” and “balance” are buzzwords that are often misconstrued and misunderstood, my friend and fellow Positively Positive contributor Dr. Frank Lipman and I want to offer some practical, easy daily tools to help you find a little more presence this holiday (your presence, by the way, is the ultimate present, despite what Target and Best Buy want you to believe).

7 Daily Tips for Better Holiday Presence

Cut the Caffeine

Switch to decaf or, better yet, herbal tea. Caffeine is a stimulant that can trigger anxiety and depression by making your thoughts and mind feel chaotic. It is also extremely acidic, which leads to inflammation (a factor in many diseases and ailments, such as heart problems, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and weight gain) and a diuretic (causes dehydration).

Drinking. Messy or Merry?

As with caffeine, alcohol is acidic and dehydrating. Drinking can also overwork your liver and may interfere with your body’s ability to properly use oxygen, which can make you more sensitive to stress. Also, alcohol masks the symptoms of anxiety because it is a depressant (meaning it slows down the nervous system and increases feelings of sadness) and is a form of self-medication that ultimately exaggerates the problem.

Water to the Rescue

As mentioned above, alcohol and caffeine lead to dehydration, as do processed, sugary foods and a general lack of sufficient hydration. Dehydration interferes with proper brain and body functioning, which can be a trigger for anxiety and depression. Aim to consume half of your body weight in ounces of water per day.

Foods high in water content also count—so load up on the fruits and veggies. When your body does not get enough water, it starts to conserve and prioritize allocation, meaning certain body processes suffer. Increasing water intake flushes toxins and other depression contributing elements from your system at a faster rate and keeps your brain, digestive, and circulatory systems in their prime.

Get Enough Zzzzz… for Belly and Brain

Lack of sleep can make you more vulnerable to anxiety by making you edgy, unfocused, and hormonally imbalanced. And generalized feelings of tiredness worsen depressive symptoms.

Holiday parties can often lead you to grazing late into the evening. Remember, every part of your body needs its rest, including your belly! Get into the habit of resting your digestive system for at least ten hours a night. This means that if you eat breakfast at 7:00 a.m., try not to eat anything after 9:00 p.m. Another tip: don’t eat within two hours of bedtime so your digestive system isn’t revved up while you’re trying to get everything to hush.

Seven to eight hours of sleep a night is recommended for your body to renew, restore, and replenish.

Move Your Body

Do any sort of physical activity for a minimum of thirty minutes a day. It does not have to be thirty solid minutes. Take the stairs and walk whenever you can. Do some crunches and pushups while watching television. If you are not sure what to do, don’t stress about it! Whatever you enjoy doing that ups your heart rate is perfect. Exercise helps flush toxins and lowers anxiety and depression-provoking chemicals and hormones while it increases feel-good hormones.

Breathe. Release. Repeat.

Deep breathing slows the body’s rhythms and restores calm. This is a super effective and completely free way of ritualizing relaxation and being present.

  1. RPM (Rise Pee Meditate)—from my meditation maestro and another Positively Positive contributor DavidJi. Wake up five minutes earlier to just sit in silence and stillness and set the tone for your day.
  2. Throughout the day, schedule your cell phone to vibrate every three or four hours to take five deeps breaths.

Common breathing technique: Breathe in deeply through your nose and exhale out of your mouth with a sigh. On each inhale, breathe in love, expansion, and joy, and on each exhale, breathe out any tension or fatigue.

Savor the Flavors

Eating slowly gives your body enough time to gear up, stoke the digestive fires, and signal to the gastrointestinal system that it’s time for digestion. Gulping your food down in a hurry is like piling logs in the fireplace and expecting a crackling fire to materialize without striking a match.

I hope you take the time to implement some of these suggestions. You are worth the effort!

If your depression and anxiety are debilitating to the point of interfering with daily functioning, please seek treatment from a licensed professional. Therapy is a gift you can give yourself even if you are not suffering from clinical depression and anxiety. Consider it one hour a week that you do not have to take care anyone but yourself!

Love Love Love

Terri and Dr. Frank



Terri Cole, founder and CEO of Live Fearless and Free, is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. A cornerstone of Terri’s practice, meditation, was the impetus for her recently released guided mediation CD Meditation Transformation. Terri can be found on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

For more information about my 21-Day Mind/Body Cleanse with Dr. Frank Lipman starting January 7, click here.

Also check out Liver-Palooza, a fundraiser for my sister’s liver transplant.

*Photo by kelp1966.

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