New Year, New Intentions

A new year is upon us and with it the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. This is an ideal time to focus on new intentions and aspire for a happier and healthier life.

I think it’s fair to say we are all familiar with the challenge of finding balance with work and play; we find this same challenge with our greatest intentions for ourselves. In an effort to encourage your success with your New Year’s resolutions and goals, I will share some of my favorite practices used to inspire my daily activities and amplify my ability to focus on goals. Mindful strategies for success might make all the difference in how easily you stay on course with your intentions for a happier and healthier you. I know they have for me.

At the start of each year, I first set my attention on how my emotional, spiritual and physical wellness can offer much-needed discipline that helps to create healthy habits. I reflect on areas I feel need more effort and also reflect on accomplishments I have made throughout the year. Taking a balanced approach is realistic and also instills the practice of mindful awareness of oneself.

After my assessment of my emotional, spiritual and physical wellness, I make a vision board. I have discovered the action of making a vision board is one of the greatest practices I’ve used as a tool of manifestation. It is also a fun, therapeutic ritual of creative expression used to not only achieve goals, but to maintain happiness throughout the year.

Vision boards — made from empty cardboard boxes, cereal boxes or paper board — are great a New Year’s project. They can be themed for a specific purpose, used for short-term goals, and for planning major milestones in life. For example, I made a vision board for my 40s. I am grateful for the many years it has helped me with achieving goals and dreams. Truly, you could make a vision board for anything big or small. They can also be great fun for kids.

Making a vision board is a very easy process. Collect magazines from around your home. Flip through the pages and tear out any that stand out to you (in images and/or words). Think of this part of the process as being somewhat like free writing. Don’t think too much about what you’re doing. Once you have collected a small pile of pages, look at them and cut out every word or image that pops out to you. You can also glue cut-out pieces of magazine pages onto your vision board.

Now that you have your vision board made, you have a great tool to help you strategize your success for your New Year’s aspirations. Vision boards are a tool of manifestation designed to support your progress. It is important you place the board where you can look at it each day, allowing it to inspire you. This is especially important for when life gets busy and you find yourself struggling with balance between work and play. Your vision board will gently remind you of your dreams, goals and your intentions. Your creation of a vision board is an external expression of internal work and desires manifesting in physical form. The energetic action of creation is potent and can help transform your dreams into reality.

Chakras, also known as wheels of light, are recognized as vital energy centers within the human body. They are unseen, yet highly regarded as important areas to care for to help attain vitality, health and spiritual enlightenment.

Creativity is an action of the lower chakras, specifically the second chakra. The first chakra is the root, which has to do with stability and security, while the second (located at the sacrum) is the center of creativity and the third chakra located above the belly button. Located at the solar plexus is the center of personal power.

Incorporating a creative awareness and connection with one’s chakras can help release outworn patterns of self-sabotage and then assist one in attaining personal and professional growth. Your vision board serves as a creative expression of your greatest version of you. Working creatively with one’s intentions, goals and aspirations can feel very rewarding and help better attract opportunities as outworn pattens and old habits slowly fade away.

Incorporating daily rituals of meditation, mantra, affirmation, prayer, and reading spiritual material or poetry can literally ground one into action, facilitate mindful awareness and inspire deeper connection. Being grounded and inspired are critical in achieving goals and dreams, even if you only have 10 to 15 minutes per day to practice. Never underestimate the power of consistent practices, as they are invaluable even if only resulting in baby steps toward one’s goals.

Daily rituals will fully support the creative potency of your vision board while also energizing your progress in attaining your goals. Daily practices can include essential oils, spiritual reading, pranayama (yogic breathing practices), mantra meditation and yoga. These are consistent daily practices I use to ground me into who I am and make it easier for me to navigate the challenges that arise in my personal and professional life.

Each month, I devote time to journal during the new and full moon. Amplifying my meditation practice with specific essential oils to facilitate transformation, I capitalize on the lunar energy to dig deep and do my personal work. During the year, I also incorporate seasonal rituals for both summer and winter solstices, spring and autumn equinox, including seasonal holidays throughout the year, offers lots of time to celebrate, grow and renew. Personally, I have found over the past 25 years for me to take the extra time to reflect, honor and celebrate has provided me with a deeper connection to myself, a reverence for the natural world, respect for others and gratitude for my precious human life.

I would like to suggest a few more things to support your creative process and action this new year of 2021. Keep in mind that yoga is based on a practice over 5,000 years. The ancient wisdom of yoga has withstood the test of time. Practicing yoga consistently even for a short period of time each day can support your development of healthy habits. Moving the body with mindful awareness of breath will also remakes physical and energetic tension and/or blocks. This movement will deepen awareness of with your chakras; over time, you will discover how working with the systems within to heal, transform and manifest, you will find simple ways to live in joy each day with what you already have accomplished.

Using Sanskrit mantras to support my emotional, spiritual and physical health and wellness is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial practices I have ever taken on. Though a monotheistic religion, Hinduism has many gods/goddesses and deities whose names (when uttered) evoke an energetic vibration that instantly works with our chakra centers. Similar to prayers or working with angels, mantras can assist with many things in life. One of my favorite mantras for removing obstacles: “Om Gum Ganapatayaei A Namaha.”

Incorporating spiritual reading material can be beneficial as well. Among some effective reads is “Start Now! A Book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises” by Rudolph Steiner. And let’s not forget that using essential oils can support your wellness. I would suggest, for best results, using doTerra’s Frankincense, Wild Orange and Lavender. Custom blends are available for pick up or delivery in Keene.

If you’re seeking more suggestions for how yoga and essential oils can support your self-informed wellness care, visit Email me at to let me know you read this article and you’ll be entered to win a free virtual 20-minute guided yoga meditation session.

Michelle Davis is an esthetician, Reiki practitioner, yoga instructor and owner of Essential Wellness in Keene.