At the end of each year (sometimes every other year), I do a process of year in review. I follow that up with Invisioning my future.

Invisioning is a term I coined that refers to looking inward to see the future I want to create. The result is a vision that pulls (not pushes) me into the future.

Here’s the thing: we look outside ourselves when setting New Year’s resolutions or goals. What should I want? What should I do? I should lose weight. I should be nicer. I should get promoted. I should stop swearing. I should meditate.

But why? Why do this to ourselves? Why look outside?

We set externally motivated resolutions because we believe (subconsciously) they will leave us feeling a certain way. Calm. Peaceful. Energized. Cherished. Wanted. Smart.

Of course it never works. By February we are left beating ourselves up over our broken commitments. External motivations rarely work. They leave us empty.

But what if we turned this broken game around and started planning with our core desired feelings? With our Invision of . . . Calm. Peaceful. Energized. Cherished.

What if we let these feelings drive our goals and resolutions for the year?

You guessed it. When we let our core desired feelings shape our goals – we create a life ignited. A life that feels full and nourishing. A sense of purpose. A completeness.

This process is known as Desire Mapping, based on Danielle LaPorte’s best-selling book The Desire Map. In 2014, I wrote about the effect Desire Mapping had on my life at that time. You can read that story here. In short, I changed my career and the role of work in my life because of Desire Mapping.

Fast forward to my 2017 year in review. I see how Desire Mapping continues to reverberate through my life. Here are a few things that have changed in my life this year because I’m focused on feeling Fierce . . . Free . . . . Inspired . . . and the lessons that followed.

  1. Daily intentional gratitude. Every morning I sat on my couch, enjoying my matcha tea, and focused in on what I could do that day that would leave me feeling sustained and grateful at the end of the day. I then posted that sustenance list for the world to see. Accountability matters and inspires.
  2. Cultivated tribe. With love, intention and humility, I grew our little community of Life Igniters to almost 100. I learned that bringing people together isn’t about clicks, comments or likes, but simply about going deep, being honest, and not having all the answers.
  3. Each morning I read a verse of the Yoga Sutras or A Course in Miracles. Reading spiritual texts reminds me that for millennia the human condition has been seeking transcendence. We all want the same thing. Love.
  4. Asked for support. When I slipped into my writing cave in October to try and finish Exiting The Hamster Wheel (its coming along because you can’t rush inspiration) I asked for support in inspiring our Life Igniter Community in my absence. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. And impressed with how our tribe members stepped up and went deep. Way to go ladies.
  5. Used Living Libations skincare to nourish my skin and counteract those signs of aging. Next year I’ll work on embracing those signs of aging without judgment. You see this is a journey, not perfection.
  6. Sang kirtan in the car. Really loud. It turns out chanting for five minutes a day is a good alzheimer prevention practice. As if I need an excuse
  7. Started dry brushing again. Every morning, in the shower, I scrub my body down with a bristle brush. My skin is glowing and soft as a baby’s bottom in just a few weeks. Is creating new skin every day what is meant by reincarnation
  8. Began teaching yoga. Which really means I’ve taken my learning to a whole new level. Turns out beginners mind is a real thing and is scary as hell. In the process, I’ve learned that trying something new is a great way to feel alive. Oh and that in giving, I gain ten-fold.
  9. Released all restrictions . . . for a week.  I’ve been committed to my alkaline, anti-inflammatory way of living for eight years now. No regrets. When I selected Paris to celebrate my 50th birthday, I knew the only way I could experience fierce inspired freedom was to release my restrictions. I drank wine, ate croissants and indulged with no judgment.  Sure it was hard to go back to “real life”. As you read on you’ll see that releasing restrictions opened the door to new ways of indulgence within my healing regimen.
  10. Launched a home for GastroTraveling. For years, I’ve loved to discover the world through it’s food. Paris reignited that love hard. Turns out others were interested in my gastro traveling as well. Instead of bombarding my friends with food pics, I created a Facebook page and an Instagram account for my international food porn. Recipes included.
  11. I bake bread 2-3 times a week. Part of bringing Paris home with me was finding a way to enjoy the experience of bread without the bloat. I stumbled upon the no-knead, gluten-free bread in 5 minutes a day method and have been blissfully reunited with bread. Turns out my soul needs bread.
  12. Received monthly body work. Between sitting 8 hours a day and walking on hard yoga studio floors several times a week, my body let its protest known with random aches and pains. Ok age might have had a thing or two to do with it as well. Anyway, in addition to my magic finger Bowen worker Kate Deriso, I got myself a massage subscription at a local spa. My body is happy and balanced.
  13. Make dessert once a week. After Paris, I bake or assemble a dessert for the week. Whether it was finding a use for 200+ persimmons or exploring various gluten-free crusts, dessert makes life sweeter. My household has a serious culinary crush on anything by the Unconventional Baker.
  14. Say no to pressure. Especially the self-generated kind. I took a lot on to my plate this year – yoga teacher, new clients, new role at work. It was easy to feel the pressure. Instead I lived in the moment (as much as possible). I said no to feeling pressured. Life feels lighter.
  15. Put myself in the path of learning. This year I traveled to Toronto, Snowshoe, West Virginia and Columbus to deepen my yoga learning. Along the way I discovered a new teacher. A teacher of truth, who just happens to have a mean handstand practice. Next year I’ll follow him to India to fulfill my life long dream of an Indian pilgrimage. When I put myself in the path of learning, I create connection to all beings.
  16. Took the leap and became a Desire Map Facilitator. I’d resisted for various reasons. Not this year. When I realized how much the process has meant to me, I could no longer resist the investment in order to share this work with you. I’m hosting my first in-person retreat for January 20-21, 2018. Join me.

Every single one of these experiences and practices are a result of me Desire Mapping all those years ago. What’s not to love about that?

What do you think? Do you have a process for annual reflection and planning? Share what works for you.

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