Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

“Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.”  ~Henry Ward Beecher

2010 was a pretty eventful year for me. I grew my career. I got closer to some people in my life, and I redefined some relationships that were toxic. I made some really difficult choices, and I learned a lot about myself. I took a step back and looked at my life with fresh eyes, a new perspective provided by the choices I made, and I came to understand many things on a profound new level.

In the end, I am calling 2010 a success and I’m so grateful for all of the wonderful people, things and situations in my life. As for those difficult situations and people, I’m grateful for the lessons I learned from them and that they forced me to find a kind of strength within myself that I never knew I had.

I’m trying something new this year. Instead of coming up with a bunch of traditional “New Year’s Resolutions,” I’m going with “New Year’s Intentions.” As far as I’m concerned, resolutions are sort of a recipe for negativity. Statistically speaking, most people don’t follow through with most resolutions–and they’re left feeling like they’ve failed. This can begin a cycle of negativity that can spin out of control.

I’m starting out 2011 by feeling good. I thinned out my wardrobe, cleaned the house and paid my 13 year old to help me clean and rearrange my office. I did these things not because I resolved to do them, but because I wanted to do them–and because it feels good having done them.

I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it again: when we feel good, we bring more reasons to feel good into our lives. What we think about, we bring about. If we focus on our problems, we attract more problems into our lives. When we think about things or situations or people that we find unpleasant–guess what? We are actively attracting them into our lives.

So this year, instead of promising myself I am going to Become A Whole New Person, I am promising myself that I will be happy with who I am, right now. I will define myself, instead of letting someone else define me. I am promising myself to focus on positive thoughts, actions, people, places, things. I am promising myself that I will focus on what I want–not what I don’t want.

Instead of worrying about the size of my jeans, I’m going to focus on the fact that my body is an amazing machine that helps me do what I want and need to do every day. Instead of focusing on the dust on my shelves, I’m going to focus on being grateful for the home that those dusty shelves (and I) live in. Instead of worrying about mean people and icky situations, I’m going to focus on love–love for my family and friends, love for my career, love for myself. You get the idea–like the old song goes, I’m going to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.

Instead of focusing on what other people think about me and want from me, I’m going to focus on what I think and what I want for me.

If I feel stressed or anxious, I am going to change my mind, and focus on the things for which I’m grateful instead. I’m not going to beat myself up if something doesn’t go my way–I’m going to realize that another opportunity is on the way and stay positive in anticipation of it.

It’s all in my head. And that’s where it all starts, for each and every one of us. It’s good to think big–just remember to focus on your own vision and not what you think you’re supposed to want. Like I said last year on this day–do not put limits on your desires! Just be confident enough in yourself to truly embrace them.

Be comfortable enough with who you are to embrace your true nature, and stand up and tell the world who you are.

And so my friends, as Oprah Winfrey said, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

What do you think? Are you making any resolutions this year, or will you be sticking with intentions? Tell me in the comments!

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