The “New” Year is a great time to reflect on your life and decide what changes you would like to make in order to live it more fully. Take a moment and consider these questions: What activities have you done in the past that brought you joy? What fills you with more passion and energy? What have you always dreamed of trying? In this tip, I hope that you will entertain new behaviors that will help you to connect more fully with your “dreams” and passions. In order to accomplish this, I invite you to consider doing the following:

Create space. Before you can manifest your dream you need to make room for it. Make the decision to give up activities that you have outgrown or that no longer nurture you. When you are invited to do something that you do not want to do, if you have a choice, consider saying “no”. As you let go of what is no longer true, you will make room for the question, “now what?” The answer is stirring inside of you and if you will create the space for reflection, you will discover the desires that energize you and make you happy.

Recall past passions. You can discover what you are passionate about by recalling activities that made you feel enthusiastic. Once you remember, notice if there are common themes in each activity. Was it creative? Was it physical? Was it spiritual? Were you with others or alone? Recently, I discovered that being active in nature is a restorative experience for me. Upon reflection, I recalled that as a school age child, I loved to wander alone in the woods. Somehow as I grew up and my life became hectic, I disconnected from an activity that helped me be joyful. Having recalled this experience, I now carve out time to be active in nature because when I do this, I become ebullient and energized. Recall one of your passions then make a date with yourself to do it.

Allow yourself to dream. A critical step in connecting with your passion is to figure out what it is that you are passionate about. Often you will not admit your dream because you have been disappointed in the past or ridiculed and may be afraid to dream again. Sometimes you think that your dreams are selfish; especially dreams like having more fun. It is actually an act of generosity to dream because it makes you more positive and pleasant to be around and it can inspire others to also dream. When I was in college, I had a 20 year old co-worker who went to Greece. She came back so enthusiastic that it became one of my dreams to go there. It took 20 years, but I held on to that dream and did so. Her enthusiasm over her trip to Greece encouraged me to consider that it was possible to have my own adventures.

Actualize your dream. Not all dreams must be huge or designed to save the world. Have you always wanted to act? Run a marathon? Made a gourmet meal? Your dream matters and is worthy of pursuit in some form. Your first step is to clearly define your dream because vagueness causes chaos and confusion. Remember a dream is simply something that you would like to do. Sharing your dream with someone or writing it down is one step closer to making it real. If fulfilling a dream scares you, break it down and figure out what parts of the dream you are comfortable doing. You could explore joining a community theater, sign up for a 3k road race, take a cooking class. If your dream seems impossible and overwhelming, begin saying the intention: “I intend to explore the possibility to ….” or “I intend to learn how to ….” You will find these statements are less threatening, more believable and easier to accomplish.

Identify your fear and doubt because it can make you give up before you begin. If the doubt is based on a self-defeating belief, choose to focus on empowering belief which is also true. If your fear is based on realistic concerns, write them down and explore some steps that you need to take to overcome the obstacles. Then take some action and create a short term “to do” list that is manageable and non- threatening. Contact some positive people and share your ideas and dreams. Seek out someone who has accomplished your dream and see if she might be able to become your mentor.

The “New” Year is an ideal time to evaluate and reassess your life. What do you dream of doing? What would you try if you could not fail? What makes you feel alive and passionate? The enthusiasm that is stirring inside of you, urging you to follow your dream is God inviting you to life! For 2012, allow yourself to connect with one of your dreams and become enthusiastic. Nurture the passion that is stirring inside you. Take a risk! What do you have to lose?

Reflection Exercise:

1. Ask yourself “what activity seems to intrigue me?”
2. Write down 1 step that you can take to begin to make it concrete.

“The time for action is now. It is never too late to do something”. Carl Sandburg

Author's Bio: 

JoAnne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who believes in the connection of emotional health to body, mind and spirit. She has integrated clinical counseling with holistic techniques and has formalized her knowledge by creating the Journey Back to Self program which is available in a recorded CD. In addition, in order to further assist others, she writes self improvement tips that you can find on facebook or her website,