Why New Year Planning Fails

When I close my eyes, I can see the room at the retreat center. My student and I sit opposite each other. Everyone else is napping or hiking or reading. The silence has a physical presence I recognize as a sign of the sacred.

“Everybody else gets what they need,” her voice is quiet and angry. I watch her impatiently rub at her tears, trying to will them away. “What I want always gets pushed aside.” She inhales and tries to stifle a sob. “Because what I want doesn’t matter.” She tries to stop herself from saying more but it’s pointless. The truth has arrived and it must be spoken.

“Because what I want doesn’t matter to me.” 

***

I’ve had variations of this conversation hundreds of times in the last 29 years. With clients, students, friends, with myself. And when this time of the year rolls around and everybody starts touting their particular brand of planning and visioning, word of the year, minimalist this and vision board that, I want to get on my yellow roof and bellow:

None of this stuff works if you don’t own your desires.

Try this. Repeat after me:

I matter.
My desires matter.
Not because I realize them or cling to them or am defined by them;
But because they bring me to life.
They inspire me to grow into my fullest self and share that self with the world.
I matter.
My desires matter.

What do you notice?

You may find yourself sitting up straighter, feeling more clear, ready to choose your next actions or plan your next few months. Hell yes! I matter and my desires matter!

Or, maybe you hear the voice of a parent or caretaker telling you, “How dare you?”, “Don’t you know good girls don’t?”, “You’re too much”, “We can’t afford it”, “That’s not for people like us.”

You might recall a teacher telling you, “Heather can draw/write/sing, but you can’t, so find something else dear. That’s best.”

Or a memory of abuse or trauma might be rubbed against; an experience that has linked desire with danger, pain and humiliation.

It could be that you find yourself smack back in the middle of a failure, failing at something you desired in the past. The heat rushes into your face and throat. You think, why bother to risk that again?

You might decide owning your desires is something you will have to perfect before you can actually move forward and take action on what you want in 2021.

Please, please don’t.

Owning your desires is not a destination or a skill to perfect.

It is a spiritual practice.

A constant opening to more.

A feminist manifesto in miniature.

An action of power, a reclaiming of sovereignty.

Not once, but again and again. This is why it’s called a practice.

I matter.
My desires matter.
Not because I realize them or cling to them or am defined by them.
But because they bring me to life.
They inspire me to grow into my fullest self and share that self with the world.

Dance it, collage it, journal it, bring it to therapy or coaching, to your friends.

Weave this into whatever system you use to plan your year, your life. Then whatever you choose will be filled with your life, your truth, your growth.

May it be so.

Happy New Year!


Want to get your bother on starting now?

Read the first chapter from my new book for a jolt of fresh perspective and possibility, and a radical reframe on what to do when you are feeling lost, blah, unmotivated, or burned out, in any area of your life or for any reason — even success!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply:
Get Your Bother On: A Guided Journal to Discover What’s Next AVAILABLE NOW!Buy Now!