The holidays have passed and we have settled into the new year. Might I suggest a focal point for your intentions and energies?

I am not talking about the oft-forgotten resolutions. We all mean well and, at the time we announce our resolutions, we think this is the year. We are going to make those changes and save millions, lose tons, and find a whole bunch of better somethings. Yet, the oomph dissipates and we are stalled and circling step one – again. This does not feel so good. In fact, it feels pretty we have failed yet, again, and/or can’t keep our word to ourselves.  

But be aware, change is tricky for most of us everyday mortals. It requires an inside approach to be successful. What do I mean? You can do 100 push-ups, eat all organic, save 10% of our paycheck, avoid sugar and the like, and you can still shoot yourself in the foot and not meet your goals. Congruence and resonance are what is required.

Congruence requires a state of agreement. Do all parts of us want the same thing? This is rarer than you might imagine. Ask your inner kid part, your adult part, your teenager part, your wise self part? Is there consensus? At what point would every part of you concur?

Resonance speaks to an energetic alignment of body, mind, and soul. Akin to congruence, it asks the question “Is every aspect of ourselves humming the same tune?”

The idea is to look for an overarching theme – something that brings you an “ahhh” or a visceral “yes!” You are searching for a kind of beacon to remind you of your path during the next 12 months. This is a unique homing signal that allows you to course correct, get back on your flight path, and return to the home of your higher self. Now mind you, these are not specific steps like eat 10 organic wheat berries at 10 a.m., followed by ten counterclockwise circles, and 10 downward facing dogs. You are looking for a theme, a resonant and congruent theme, which speaks to where you are headed now. This is a very personal and unique process.

Let me give you an example: A few weeks ago, I had been considering this very thing while brushing my teeth one morning. In the back of my mind, I was thinking of something sharp and snappy. Of course, that is not the point at all, so I let the word “sparkly” swirl down the drain. And, then, it came to me; you know how those unbidden things appear out of seeming nothingness. The words I got for this year – and believe me, they took me by surprise – are “stand tall.” I looked in the mirror and said the words to myself and felt the clink, clink, clink as everything fell into alignment. I felt my shoulders drop, my heart open, and my breathing deepen by these two everyday words. Who knew?

Stand tall has little to do with my height which is decreasing as I write, but how I am to place myself in the world this coming year. It’s a pretty good mantra for my next 12 months. When in doubt about what to do, I check in and see, sense, feel, and know if the next step allows me to stand tall.

Are you ready to discern your word(s) for the year? Simmer down and settle in; get quiet, and see what unfolds. Allow your psyche to reveal itself in meditation, dreamwork, journaling, drawing, walking, knitting, or in the shower. You will know when it is right; you will know if you have to tweak it for a good fit. And then take that word and use it as your guiding force and guiding light throughout the year.

Come 2015, you are going to feel fabulous.

Author's Bio: 

Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, writer, and teacher. She has been the director of an urban drug clinic, founder/director of a holistic, psychotherapeutic center; and responder to trauma and crisis, such as the Newtown shootings, Hurricane Katrina, and 9/11. Adele is the author of Balancing Act: Reflections, Meditations, and Coping Strategies for Today’s Fast-Paced Whirl and Making Peace with Suicide: A Book of Hope, Understanding, and Comfort (2014). and