As 2017 nears, have you thought about what you want in this year? How do you want 2017 to be different than any other year? Or how do you want it to remain the same as other years?
In thinking about these questions, each one of us may have a different perspective. You may say to yourself or others in a dismissive way, “I don’t believe in New Year resolutions”. My question to you is, what is it that you don’t believe in? Are you afraid you will be disappointed in NOT being able to fulfill whatever wish or resolution? Are you afraid that you will fail and thus feel embarrassed to others for having made that public declaration about your wish or resolution for the new year? Do you doubt yourself that you won’t be able to get whatever you want to get or do whatever you have planned to do? Or are you resistant to changes, because change takes a lot of work. Or changes inevitably take you out of your comfort zone and so can be very, very uncomfortable for awhile.
Then guess what! You will not get what you want in 2017 if you continue to think and believe in these ways. The year 2017 will remain the same as any other year – disappointing, monotonous, challenging, stagnant, unhappy, dissatisfying… In other words, nothing will change in 2017 for you. Or worse, it may be more disappointing, more challenging and more dissatisfying. Our beliefs are creating our reality.
I challenge you to think in terms of “what you can””, “what you do”, “what you have” and “what you will”, rather than “what you can’t”, “what you don’t'”, “what you haven’t”, and what you won’t”. Rather than letting your fears control and dictate your thoughts, feelings, actions, dreams and visions, why don’t you instead let your dreams, your self-confidence, your courage and your faith, either in yourself, God, the Buddha, the Universe, the Higher Power, or the Divinity be the driving force in getting what you want. Go after your dreams, otherwise no one else will for you. Have a vision, for everything great and incredible in this world starts with one person’s vision. Believe in yourself before others can believe in you. And have the courage to go after what you want rather than running away from it or being afraid that you will fail. Remember, every failure is a great life lesson, and every mistake brings you one step closer to perfection. So, don’t be afraid and dream away!
Let me share with you a personal example that really illustrates the power of visualization. In late June 2014, I was at a dark place in my career. I was very unhappy with my job because there was a lot of negativity that I encountered every day. The pay was also low and it was a temporary position. More importantly, I didn’t get to do as much one-on-one counselling as I wanted, which is my true passion. Then I also realized I didn’t feel as fulfilled in my life in general. For a long time, I experienced a lot of pain in my head and my neck because of the long commute I did for years. I used to have to travel three hours to and from my work three times a week for three years via public transit (buses and SkyTrain). I was living in a one-bedroom apartment that was getting crowded. Yet the possibility of owning a house was dismal and farfetched because houses are ridiculously expensive in the greater Vancouver area.
Sitting in my office, I started to form a vision for my future. This was what I said to myself:
I have a job that I really love. I want to be able to inspire my clients, empower them and transform their lives. I feel valued, respected and accepted by my co-workers. I hold a permanent position. My workplace is very close to my home — within a few blocks. I am free of headaches and neck pain.
Then I went on…
I dream of owning a waterfront house. I want to be able to hear ocean waves in my house. I want to live in a quiet area that is surrounded by nature. I feel loved, supported, happy and peaceful in my life. I can hear birds singing around my house.
Following my vision, I began to be open to different possibilities in life. I started to apply for different jobs in different areas of the country, including Vancouver, Abbotsford, Terrace, Prince George, Fort St. John, Calgary, Edmonton, to name a few. I even got an interview with a college in Fort McMurray in Alberta. I didn’t limit myself and trusted that wherever I will go, my vision will be fulfilled. Fortunately, Hans, my then fiancé, has always been very supportive. He was willing to move to wherever my job would take me, even though he wasn’t very keen about some of the places I applied for jobs.
Now two and a half years later from the day of my visualization in my office, I am currently working as a psychotherapist in a renowned addiction treatment centre in Powell River, BC. I feel very inspired in this job. Often my clients tell me how much I have helped them change their lives in important ways. Among my co-workers, I feel valued, accepted, and respected. What’s more, we now own a waterfront house that is three blocks from my workplace just as I had previously envisioned. We have bird feeders outside our house. When I open our windows, I could hear ocean waves and birds singing. And perhaps because of the lack of stress from living in a big city and because I no longer have to cope with long commuting for my work, I am very pleased to report that I no longer have constant headaches and neck pain. It feels so good and so free to have no pain in my body, something that I experienced for years!
So, what are your hopes and dreams? What do you wish to have, do and be in 2017?
Write down your goals, needs, wants, hopes and dreams for 2017. Write them in positive phrases. For example, instead of writing “I don’t want to have any more neck pain”, write “I will be free of neck pain”. Hence, rather than saying to yourself “I can’t”, “I don’t”, “I haven’t” and “I won’t”, instead say to yourself “I can”, “I do”, “I have”, and “I will”.
As you are writing down each of these wishes, imagine what it feels like when you experience each of these wishes. For example, when I visualized the ability to inspire my clients and touch their hearts, I imagined feeling very grateful, effective, and inspired myself. I imagined sensing their hearts quivering because of some powerful insights. Or when I visualized living close to the ocean, I imagined feeling the ocean breeze on my face and my hair, smelling the ocean air, hearing the sounds of the waves… When you can attach feelings and sensations to the vision of your hopes and dreams, it brings you much closer to those hopes and dreams and it makes realising those dreams more real. In other words, truly believe that you will be able to realise your hopes and dreams by allowing your body, your mind and your heart to feel the feelings and sensations associated with your dreams.
Many of us have had dreams and goals before and have not been able to achieve them. So, we have come to think “What’s the point!” However, the reason we often don’t get what we want is because deep down inside, we have formed certain negative beliefs and doubts about our ability to get what we want. Or we have formed some negative beliefs about those actual things we want. For example, although many of us wish to have financial abundance in our lives, deep down we may have some negative beliefs about money, such as money is the root of all evil, money takes away family happiness, money kills love, and so on. Likewise, although many of us wish to find love, we have formed some deep negative beliefs about love, such as lasting love only exists in movies or novels, or every woman ultimately just wants money, or every man will cheat, or love is only good during the honeymoon phase.
So, ask yourself “Do I have any negative beliefs about any of my hopes and dreams?” If you do, try to erase those beliefs. How do you do that? First, replace each of those negative beliefs with a positive one. For example, replace the belief “money is the root of all evil” with “money can help the poor” or “money can empower me and my family”. Second, for each of your dreams, write down on a piece of paper all the negative beliefs or thoughts that you have about it. Then either burn that piece of paper or tare it. Or if you write them down on computer like myself, delete what you have written.
Good luck and have fun visualizing! May 2017 bring you whatever your heart desires!