A New Way to Set “Resolutions”


Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, but I actually like New Year’s “Resolutions.”

I also enjoy taking the hundreds of books off of my book shelf each year, caressing them gently with a dust cloth, making out with them, and adding them to the book app on my phone, so that I don’t buy the exact same book when I go into Barnes & Noble and think “Ooooh, this looks great.” (Yeah, it was. The first time I read it ten years ago.) I adore how the process of rearranging them is all mine and has nothing to do with alphabetization, but more to do with how much I loved them (if I remember reading them at all.) I’m an anal Virgo Warrior Librarian, for sure.

Yeah, I hear all of you… “Resolutions are bullshit, what makes January so special, it’s just another month. You’ll only last till February…” And on it goes.

But, to me, there’s something powerful about a fresh start; a brand new year; the first day of a string of 365 days. It makes me want to clean shit with Q-tips. I find myself saying “put some Windex on it.” It makes me want to try again. It makes me want to get rid of the Jagermeister stained clothes from my bartending days that are still, in truth, staining my psyche. It makes me want to think about the potential that the new year holds.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know, I hear you – any day can be a fresh start. You can choose to begin anytime. You can pick March – “his shoes are purple.” It’s true, but in this month I just feel it a little more potently. It’s not yet been mired down by a random Tuesday in June when I feel hopeless and go back to bed for two weeks with watered down cans of Cream of Celery soup and stale Zesta crackers.

I set some powerful intentions this year on January 1st. Big intentions. Intentions I have no idea about how they’re going to come to pass. And in these past 20 days some of them are already like little green seeds curling and popping out of rich icy soil. The potential and mystery of them are magic – like psychedelic-fairies-popping-out-of-black-top-hats-shitting-rainbow-colored-piles kind of magic.

A Different Way to Set “Resolutions”

I learned this intention setting process from my friend Mike Robbins. Essentially you write out an intention – almost like an affirmation. Something like this, for example, in the area of Spirituality:

I have a deep and abiding relationship with Source, feel reconnected and in tune with the magic all around me.

Then you write out your goals in regards to spirituality. Here are a few of mine:

  1. I am a clear channel for the spiritual/religious aspects of my novel.
  2. I go on a spiritual vacation full of magic.
  3. I read spiritual books that deepen my awareness and that resonate with me.
  4. I bend re-bar. (Another post for another time.)

Lastly, you list out actions you can take to meet your goals around spirituality. Like these of mine:

  • Write each day
  • Read books that resonate with me full of aha moments and which deepen my connection.
  • Say what I’m grateful for each night before bed.
  • Workshops & or Spiritual Retreat.
  • 2 Sessions with someone to work on the spiritual this year

And around and around it goes. I do this for Spirituality, Health, Family/Relationships/Friendships, Work/Life Purpose, Money, Home/Environment, Fun, & Charity. Not unlike assessing the stones in Lissa Rankin’s Whole Health Cairn.

There is something so profound about this process of getting very clear and actually doing something about it. In fact, it reminds me of the saying “The Universe isn’t going to give you whack, if you don’t know what you want.” (Or something like that.) It also reminds me of what’s so lacking in books like The Secret. You can’t just sit there and wish for the Ferrari, you need to feel it, you need to get off your arse and “actionably” move in that direction in some way, then you need to release the attachments to whether or not you’ll be tooling around in that car. (And there’s more… this isn’t a lesson on what’s lacking in The Secret.)

But one thing I know for sure. Truly. The Universe can’t give you what it is you think you want if you haven’t even given thought to what you want.

When I first read The Secret and watched the movie I remember thinking about my novel incessantly. I would sit there and picture my novel published with the words “International Bestseller” embossed at the top. I would see my novel at the top of the NYT Bestseller List – for years. I could feel it deep down in my bones and thus I would squeal, despite myself, whenever I would feel that feeling. I even made the book cover complete with the artwork I wanted to grace it, the blurbs on the back, the review by the New York Times, even the publisher on the spine and I pinned it, with love and hope, on my vision board. But I hadn’t been sitting my ass in that chair and actually been putting words to blank pages. What did I think would happen? The fairies would fly over to my computer and shit fibrous fairy dust on my keyboard and write it for me? That I would wake up one morn after slurping two pots of Red Ginger tea and look over at my desk to see a bound, edited masterpiece that was all packed up and ready to be shipped to agents?  Yeah, I sort of think I did think that somehow, but now that I’ve returned from la-la land, I realize that you do need to set very clear intentions, very clear goals, and have some action steps to put them into place.

That’s when the magic happens.  Not before that, not while you’re sleeping and fairies are crapping fairy dust on your inaction – that comes later.

Case in point

(I’m not sure why I put this under my “Money” section and not my “Work/Life Purpose” section, but I did and I’m not questioning it.)

Intention: I am wholly financially abundant, aware, and healthy.  Money flows and expands with ease and I no longer have to “work hard” to obtain money.  I lovingly release any and all limiting beliefs around money and am wealthy in my relationships, friendships, and financial life.

Goal: I begin doing more coaching/space holding and explore the possibility of working more in that capacity than day to day routine tasks. I fill myself and learn to work with my empath energy in a way that is fulfilling and magical for myself and others. This work fills me up, but doesn’t deplete me. I learn to hold this space in a healthy way, so as to do this work even more.

Actions/Practices:  Talk to another empath about ways to increase my space holding business and work on ways to increase and work with my empathic nature.

As I said, I wrote all these on January 1, 2013. I took that action. I called another empath and asked for her advice. I got a list of resources from her to work on. She shared with me the foundation of a coaching program that, while unexplainable, lights my fire like nothing has for quite some time. I started reading books on the subjects of empaths and wayfinders. And… voila, three days later I got a call from someone who wants me to be the spaceholder for their business. Just like that.

Here’s the beauty. I didn’t have to have all the answers before the fairies started defecating all over my visions. My intention is pretty damn clear, right? But I wrote that goal and I honestly had no unearthly idea what that would look like. And I was very okay with that. In fact, I remember saying to myself, “I don’t need to know the cursed ‘hows.’” I trusted that the answers would reveal themselves to me.

When I made that “action” call to a fellow empath, I said to her, “I have no idea what this looks like, but this… is how I’m feeling.” And it’s like that damned fairy, through this empath, shat the answer right into my lap and then, relieved of her burden, smiled at me.

And let me tell you… the joy around that feeling of connection, trust, and giving in to whatever will be without attachment, is unsurpassed. It’s better than steamy sex, ice-cold Jägermeister, and the lapping of puppy tongues on your cheek.

I still don’t have the answers to all of this. I’m fumbling around, blind-folded, I definitely can’t see it all. I don’t need to. But I can smell the fairy poo pervading every nook and cranny of my life right now. I’m stepping in it and smearing it everywhere. I’d daresay I’m ready to wipe it on the walls. And I’m remaining open to what comes.

10 replies
  1. Midge
    Midge says:

    This was exactly what I wanted to read for my good-night story. I’m going to sleep on it, dream on it, and reread it in the morning. Thank you, Melanie.

  2. Midge
    Midge says:

    This morning, I have created a clear intention, I’ve also set a real goal, and I now have my arse in the chair. Today, I write. And I’ve lit my faerie poop candle to illuminate my way.

    • Melanie Bates
      Melanie Bates says:

      Woot, Midge, I’m super thrilled for you, love. Keep me posted on the fairy droppings that are sure to come.


  3. Ken
    Ken says:

    This is awesome Melanie. I think I’m starting to smell a bit of that fairy poo myself, it seems a bit salty to me 😉 . Hugs, Ken

  4. Amy
    Amy says:

    I just found your website today and like the ideas that you post here. Can you fill me in on what an empath is and where I can start looking for others like that in my area? Thanks!


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