I’ve seen quite a few blog posts, articles, interviews and videos about how to prepare for the new year. Lots of talk about goal-setting and vision boards.

Here’s the trouble, though… all of this tends to leave me a little bit – well, I’ll just say it – empty.

I really want to write out my plan for next year and then stick to it like white on rice. I want to put together my vision board and have it magically manifest over the course of the year. I love the idea of a list of to-dos and to-haves that I can check off one by one as we progress through 2013.

But what I’ve noticed is that none of that ends up feeling fulfilling, because it leaves out arguably the most important part: how I want to FEEL.

Why, exactly, do we want any of the things we want in our lives? The bottom line is: we want them because we believe we’ll feel better when we have them.

So, if I want all of these things, but I don’t know how I want to feel, then aren’t I just paving a road to some vague sense of “better” feeling?

This year, I’ll be planning in a different way. Here’s the ingredients:

  • 1 cozy, softly-lit space
  • 1 playlist of beautiful, inspiring music
  • 1 poster board
  • 1 pack of markers/crayons/colored pencils/etc.
  • 1 love of my life (this is optional, but will be included in my session)
  • 2 cats (optional)
  • 1 dog (optional)

And here’s the recipe:

  1. Brainstorm a list of all the ways you want to feel: joyful, abundant, loving, excited, enthusiastic, compassionate, wise, healthy, strong, etc.
  2. Write each word on the poster board in whatever manner you choose.
  3. Take some time to contemplate all of the emotions on your poster. (At this point, you will likely start to feel like you need to figure out HOW to get to those emotions. And that’s okay, but not the point of this exercise. Instead, just stay with the feeling place of each word.)
  4. Notice any patterns that emerge or if there’s one feeling in particular that really resonates with you. Don’t judge it, just let it rise to the top.
  5. Write that word in really BIG letters in the center of your poster board.
  6. Commit that word to memory. Write it down and carry it with you in your wallet. Make it the wallpaper on your mobile phone and your laptop. Sing songs with that word in the lyrics.
  7. Strive every day to feel that emotion in everything you do, from grocery shopping to working with clients to talking with your partner. Allow it to permeate your experience.

That’s it! All of the other things that you want to be and do and have will all come forth in technicolor once you focus on how you want to feel. You’ll be sending out that signal in a big way and the universe will respond in kind.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this recipe or anything else that comes up for you. Whatever you choose, I hope you make it fun!