Today I’ll be sharing the goals I’ve mentally committed to reaching throughout this upcoming year and hope to see come to fruition! A helpful practice I began over the last twelve months was setting an intention and focus word to serve me throughout the year and sit ever present in my mind as I think, act and continue to just be. In this way, it becomes a powerful tool for focus, navigation of circumstances, the guiding of your attention and the ultimate shaping of the execution of your goals. It’s had such a powerful impact in my life that I now consider it a ritual for this time of year. The beauty of a focus word is that it’s not just a simple reference to what you’re doing. More often, it’s about a transformative way of being. It has the ability to guide your thinking and, through that, your actions. It will recur in your mind as a timely reminder of where you should direct your attention and to what may warrant it. You will learn about what requires you to show up in your life, but, most importantly, what you wish to do that for.
Keeping this word in mind won’t mean that you’ll develop a hardcore fixation on nothing but. Think of it as a gentle guide, a hand to pat your back and provide you with the encouragement you’ll need to persevere. When you slip, you’ll be prompted to think about how better you could address a situation should it arise again. You’ll find yourself centred and brought back to intention. Let your focus word be the foundation on which you build yourself up. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper into the juicy depths of all you wish to be and have. This word needs only be meaningful to you. Don’t feel pressured to share it with others if you believe the magic may be taken away. Just as with birthday wishes, some knowledge is more special when it is kept intimate.
Now, you may be wondering- why set a single word when you could have an array? You need not stick to a certain number or feel that you’re limited in any way. Choosing one word is more difficult than choosing several, but, ultimately, has greater impact. This way, you won’t need to move between them and spread your resources thin. Think about how you naturally tend to manage things and integrate them into your life. However, a single word will often have several partner words to go along with it. In this way, you’ll naturally have a few that are similar come to mind. Finding that cluster of related words will give you the depth of meaning you so crave and hope for. From there, challenge yourself to land on one and be nourished on the daily through that. This being said, there is no one way. I invite you to explore this notion and do what feels right.
Without further ado, here are my goals for Twenty Twenty One, alongside my focus word for the year, determination.
It is the size of one’s will that determines success. Only through focus can you do world class things, no matter how capable you are. Perfectly said, if you ask me. When I think of the ambitious endeavours I hope to carry out this upcoming year, the biblical verses from Isaiah forty three spring to mind and instill in me humble values. This is new terrain- that much goes without saying. I don’t think I’ve ever pushed myself so far before. In recent years, my energy was directed towards building myself back up again after taking one hit after another. This time, I’m solidifying the person I am and breaking out of all that is comfortable, easy and known to me. At one time familiar surroundings brought me comfort but now I feel stifled. My potential is choked by ordinary matters. All the time I spent climbing mountains was for nothing but the belief that I’d reach the pinnacle I now stand on, no matter the cost. It is a privileged position indeed because I see clearly now. There is a long journey ahead and the hard yards will be demanded of me without fail. This is what I’ve always wanted. To call the shots and live on my own terms. Now the buck stops with me. My journey and whether it is one of few or great steps, hinges on my perseverance. Now is the time to embrace doggedness, to be tenacious and hold onto what is mine with an iron grip. This is how I will move forward. I’d like to sum up this reflection with the serenity prayer. It’s beautiful but seems only to be used in an addicts anonymous group context. Let’s change that. God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things within my control, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
who brings forth chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Reach a place of body acceptance
While I ultimately wish to be healed enough to embrace every perceived bodily imperfection and see myself through the same lens my loved ones do, I don’t want to discount the power of progress. There is more strength and power to be found in vulnerability. In admitting that what I am is perfectly fine- that I don’t need to change what I see in the mirror but that it’s okay if I wish to. I spent a long time feeling ashamed that I couldn’t come to terms with how I looked. At no point did I stop to dig deeper into these feelings and decipher them. I immediately rushed to what I thought was the root of the problem- my external self. I developed an Eating Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa with hints of Bulimia Nervosa, as a young teenager.
To this day, I can speak to what you hear about the condition being true. It is a physical manifestation of a mental battle, the war on worth, beauty, place and standing waged on two fronts. Only your mind never catches up with your body. You don’t see through the eyes of yourself but through the persona of Ana or Mia, your eating disorder in human form. The biggest irony was that returning to a state of wellness required me to do the very thing I was so afraid of- to eat. As painstaking as it was, I began to heal, slowly and then all at once. I no longer felt as if I’d become undone, led astray, left to be consumed by wolves. I pray everyday for those still lost in the forest because I know this particular heartbreak. I’ve met girls who’ve wished cancer on themselves because you lose your appetite and drop weight just like that.
As of today, I am doing so much better. I’m coming to terms with a more grown up version of my body. One with curves, extra weight, stretch marks, dips, dimples and disproportionality. I remind myself gently that I no longer look the fourteen year old vegetarian I once was, simply because I’ve evolved and shifted to be a different version of her. What I can do though is tone up, eat more mindfully, take care to not eat beyond my full point or out of boredom and follow a pattern of intermittent fasting where possible.
Explore healthy and effective communication further within my relationship
For those of you who are unaware, my partner and I are in a long distance relationship, him in America and myself in Australia. Us unconventional as it may be, we’ve mastered the art of consistent and effective communication. We are both night owls which makes interacting with each other less stressful as most hours of the day aren’t blocked out. He is a day behind while I am a day ahead. Until daylight savings ends this April, we enjoy an extra two hours of leeway. His ten in the evening is my five in the afternoon. We’ve just had our two year anniversary and couldn’t be happier. My partner and I don’t have the most romantic story in terms of us coming together and solidifying the relationship but I’ll explain this nonetheless. Perhaps it will encourage another person to be open and willing to understand the unexpected.
There was a chat site I used to frequent and had made some connections from. Occasionally they took off and I’d find a person I meshed with enough to continue the conversation for times to come. This had only happened once previously before I met my partner. It was with a long term friend who lived in Italy, whom I was close to for a good four years. The crazy thing was that I’d promised myself that night would be my last time on the chat site. My soon to be partner, on the other hand, had come online for the first time. He reached out and we spoke. I didn’t think much of it as I’m a more reserved sort. I hadn’t formulated any expectations of him yet.
As the days went by, I began to notice the ways in which he was different from other guys. We would facetime and have genuine conversations about philosophy, love, life, family, heartbreak and happiness. Whatever the case, he always found a way to weave in humour and positivity with a gentle sensitivity and tact. We dug into our past and gradually became comfortable with easing the burdens of past trauma. He took an interest in my family and began reaching out to them when possible. When he finally asked me to be his girlfriend, to give him a chance, my heart was his and had been for a while. It was that vow that made our bond unbreakable. My mess is yours, your mess is mine. In good times and in bad, I am yours and you are mine. This year I hope to be more present and intentional with him. To avoid distractions and becoming overly emotional when unexpected events occur. To not take our time for granted and to love fiercely and unconditionally. Most of all though, to turn our cameras on more often!
Pray more often, through good and bad times
I can’t pinpoint many times in my life that I’ve offered myself to a higher power in prayer, especially out of willingness and not fear, obligation or routine. When I was younger, I attempted here and there to learn namaz or salah, the five daily prayers a muslim follows. I attended an Islamic school from third grade until the beginning of high school, knowing full that well the religious exposure my dad hoped would rub off on me hadn’t made an ounce of difference. It was incredibly funny, when I think back. In sixth grade I’d taken on a leadership role as a prefect, one of my jobs being to watch over the girls in prayer and dictate where they should sit, report unruly behaviour and the like. I’d frequently sneak glances down the rows of scarfed girls, from head to toe in heavy dress, wanting to study their movements and emulate them in such a way that I looked as if my prayer was authentic. I may have been able to control my movements but knew nothing of what to speak.
In more recent years, I’ve prayed to an unknown God out of sheer desperation, reciting over and over again the verses I’d be taught from childhood. I prayed for my partner whom they weren’t sure would make it out of a coma alive. He has a terminal lung condition but had, unbeknownst to me, been sparring at his local martial arts centre. An opponent had served up a kick to his head which had seemed insignificant at the time. My fear was palpable. It was in the tight pounding of my heartbeat in my chest, the clamminess of my limbs, the shaking of my hands, the tears in my eyes. It was desperation. Times like these can make or break a person. When you cannot place your faith entirely in another human being, who do you turn to?
Begin following a religion or figure out why I don’t have set beliefs
My mother’s side of the family is Christian whilst my Dad’s side is Muslim. Most of the religious influence I’ve had comes from him as he practices. As I’ve grown older though, I haven’t taken on these practices for myself. The beliefs he holds were never automatically transferred to me because I’m my own person and one that is coming of age too. Religion is an incredibly personal expression and so heavily intertwined with identity that I know I’d lose myself if I didn’t stay true to my core. I’d say that I’m more of a spiritual person than anything else. I resonate deeply with the philosophies of Buddhism, enjoy biblical studies from which I share verses frequently and pray from the Quran in the Arabic tongue. I could never be an Atheist because the world is too big and unfathomable to have come from nothing. I have known miracles that come from no human being. I just don’t know where to focus my attention when my beliefs are so fragmented.
Receive a scholarship for my Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration college course
I’m pleased to say that I can tick this one off the list. In late December I applied for two scholarships in the Interior Design and Decoration course I’m taking. They were for ten and twenty percent off my course fee respectively, with the more significant scholarship offering additional perks. Two guided success sessions with an established Interior Designer, entrance into a private club and more. I was able to secure the education accessibility scholarship which is basically an addition to the fee help I’m receiving.
I found out last week as I was signing the updated letter of offer I’d been sent over. At that point, I felt a flare of my competitive streak. I’d submitted a portfolio of work, attached my resume and given detailed answers to the questions asked yet hadn’t emerged as victorious as I’d have liked to. It was a slight ego blow because my I put my heart and soul into creative work. It is my fuel and life blood so not being picked for the weightier scholarship was a blow. I’ll admit that I can hold somewhat of an all or nothing mentality which doesn’t always serve me. It can be hard to celebrate smaller wins when my attention is so focused on where I apparently fell short. Breaking this news to family and friends was also somewhat underwhelming, if I’m honest.
Build an everyday wellness routine incorporating regular reading and Law Of Attraction practice
I really fell off the wagon when it comes to regular reading time and dedicating myself to the Law of Attraction practice. I’ve seen so much personal growth and comeback from my investment in the habits and can’t imagine not carrying them into the future with me. When it comes to reading, I’ve always enjoyed a good horror story but now veer towards thrillers, philosophical reads and poetry collections. None of these have the least bit in common but pique my interest for different reasons. If I was to describe myself I’d say that I’m somewhat of a wordsmith, a creatively driven free spirit and deep thinker. I stray from what’s considered the norm and delve into worlds of mystery and conspiracy with my fiction books.
My poetry picks embrace the lighter side of life- Tess Guinery, Rupi Kaur and Morgan Harper Nichols have a captivating writing style. I’ve read three and a half books over the last month and a half, all of which were lengthy but utterly consuming. I Saw A Man by Owen Sheers, Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay and Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen. I picked my copies up from the local thrift store when I was at my grandma’s place in the Blue Mountains and was pleasantly surprised to realise that most are recent releases. The next few books I have my eye on are Storyteller by Morgan Harper Nichols and Homebody by Rupi Kaur.
As for the Law of Attraction practice, I’ll pop on a fifteen minute youtube clip that shares harmonious and uplifting affirmations. As cheesy and base level as they can seem, your subconscious is very perceptive and incredibly malleable. We must not forget to feed mind, body and soul as we achieve optimal wellness when all are in balance. I want to begin repeating back the affirmations so I internalise them and set a good rhythm for my day.