I have not made a New Year’s Resolution for a while now. It was a combination of low success rate and high expectations that lead me to reconsider the practice. 🙂 The resolutions themselves also tended to be narrow in the way they focused on behavior rather than on core values and beliefs.
The practice of reflection – looking at the past and taking stock is not a bad idea. We have a past that in part makes us who we are, we have a present certainly, and hopefully, we have a future. This year, I wanted a way to be able to ‘set the intention’ as we say in yoga, to look ahead to the new year and examine where I want to put my precious time and energy.
So what can be your guide to those decisions we make everyday about our time and energy?
A “personal mission statement” or PMS for short! This idea comes from the genius Katy Bowman and her book “Movement Matters”. Just as organizations and companies use mission statements to help guide them in their day to day operations, we can use a Personal Mission Statement to steer us in the direction of our deepest values on a daily basis.
To develop your PMS (this cracks me up) – Katy recommends this little exercise that took me about a half hour (it might take longer or shorter for you but it was surprisingly easy once I got into it) . Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and write this down.
Think for a moment of what is most precious and valuable to you. These are your key words. For example, most of us will have our health and our family on that list but the trick is to make sure the other things we put on this list are things we truly value and not something we think we should value, or things others want us to value. To know what it is you truly value, yoga and meditation are great practices that help us know our own hearts. These key words may change over time to reflect your own growth but they will always reflect your unique values.
My own key words started with my health and my family and included
nature, community, movement, learning, love, impact, activism, fun, growth, peace, gratitude creating
The next step is to make some short phrases that combine these values. My key words seemed to overlap easily and there seemed to be so many ways to “stack” my life, these were only a few of the phrases that i came up with.
showing myself love by creating vibrant health
having fun in nature with my family
growing through learning
growing community through activism and making an impact
better health by moving through my community
finding peace through gratitude and creating
The final step is making a personal mission statement based on those values and statements. Mission statements are generally action oriented and are meant to guide your decisions so they align with your deepest intentions. I will keep mine private as it seems personal enough already, but I hope you will make your own mission statement for the year. Each time you have to decide what to prioritize in your day, you will be able to ask does it align with my truest self? Let me know about your key words for 2017 in the comments below.