In keeping with a time honored tradition, New Year's Day began for me with a hangover and eating copious amounts of bacon as an attempt to cure said hangover. January 2nd, began with another time honored tradition--a short burst of overzealous ambition including a long run and a juice cleanse. The rest of the year will likely fall somewhere in-between, which is fine by me.
The New Year is functionally not terribly different from the year prior, but an opportunity to reflect, regardless of the occasion, is always welcomed. Unfortunately, all too often reflection takes the shape of some stripe of health or financial resolution that fizzles after a few weeks, drowning in its wake the the tenuous threads of ambition that the original ideas were built upon.
I like to dabble in such ambitions myself, as evidenced by my start of 2016, but I'd also like to take the long view on my 2016 resolutions. A friend recently introduced me to Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map Workbook. This resource guides you to reflect on the core areas in your life (livelihood & lifestyle, body & wellness, creativity & learning, relationships & society, essence & spirituality) and asks how you want to feel in each of these areas. Only once you've identified your core desired feeling, do you move into the mechanics of getting there.
This kind of intention setting is familiar to all teachers who use the backwards design model for crafting classroom curriculum. In the backwards design model, you start first with the big picture question of: "What are my desired results?" Once you've answered that question you work towards answering the question: "What will serve as evidence that I have reached my desired result?" And then from there you get into the nitty gritty of how you'll achieve the desired results.
Perhaps our New Year's resolutions often end prematurely because we telescope into the micro details far too quickly before giving the big picture the attention it is due. One of my resolutions, stemming from a desire to feel spiritually alive, is to read Anita Barrows and Johanna Macy's A Year with Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Maria Ranier Rilke each day. The entry for January 1 is as follows: "I love all beginnings, despite their anxiousness and uncertainty, which belongs to every commencement. If I have earned a pleasure or a reward, or if I wish that something had not happened; if I doubt the worth of an experience and remain in my past--then I choose to begin at this very second. Begin what? I begin. I have already begun a thousand lives."
Here's to 2016, intentions with deep roots, and beginning again and again and again.