How To Align Your Thoughts & Intentions For A More Authentic Life

I know I say it every year but I can’t believe it’s already December.  A lot has happened over the last 12 months and yet it feels like the time flew by.  It’s always in December when we think about year end and the start of a new year and a new chapter in our lives. Really, every day closes the book on the past year of days, doesn’t it. 

But December is different. It’s a busy time filled with doing. This is a time when we’re thinking a lot about others. We’re spending more time with family and friends and really all of humanity. Go somewhere and try to find a parking spot and you’ll know what I’m talking about. In the midst of all this busyness, there’s something opposite that happens. We reflect on our faith. We think a lot about those we love. We reflect on the loss we’ve experienced, particularly loved ones. And we anticipate the new year and where we’re going.

The problem is you want to make 2019 a great year but you’re not feeling confident about how to go about it. You know you’re facing some things that are troubling ~ and by troubling I mean that stuff that keeps you up at night, whatever it is for you. 

You may be feeling tentative about the new year. Even if you’ve always been a confident person, you may be feeling uncertain and unsettled. It’s hard to look forward to change when you don’t know what it means for you. It’s hard to be excited about the unknown. It’s easy to feel unsettled when you may not know the right path to take. It’s really challenging to stay centered and confident when you feel like you’re headed in a direction you don’t want. 

The thing is, change will happen with or without your input. You can affect change or change  can have an effect on you. There are so many distractions in this world that it’s easy to let things happen. You go through life without really thinking about it. You let your life happen without giving it intention. 

One of my favorite sayings comes from Henry Ford. He was talking about the power of our thoughts and our intentions. He said that If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right!

So I ask you, as you reflect on your year, as you enjoy these holidays, and as you enter the new year, what do you want to be right about? You can be right about all the negativity in your life or you can be right about all the good things in your life.  What do you want to be right about? What do you want to focus your attention on? What do you want to have as your intention right now, in this minute?

If you’ve been listening to these episodes, you probably already know I’m an interior designer. Decorating and making things look beautiful is second nature to me but what I really want to do is help people align themselves with the lifestyle they authentically desire. I started podcasting because I wanted to start a conversation about how to curate experiences into your life that bring you joy, connection and fulfillment.  

My life changed dramatically a few years ago when I went from from raising my family in the suburbs to becoming an empty nester at the beach. Now I’m curating new experiences of my life. I’m using the word curate because it’s a bit of an art form to me. I’m a bit selective about what I want to include in my days. I like to walk beside the ocean at sunset most days. I like to really breath in the salt air and listen to the waves crash. I notice how the colors are different each day, whether it’s sunny or cloudy, windy or still. It’s a curated experience, more like making an exceptional cup of coffee than a thing I want to check off from my to-do list. 

When you start thinking about your intention for where you find yourself today, a kind of transformation takes place inside you.  Your life will feel more authentic. 

Sometimes when you’re trying to look into the future, it’s as clear as mud.  You can’t make anything out. I’ve had a lot of moments like that and I spent too much time feeling anxious. Who wants to feel that way? No one! No one wants to feel anxious. I made it through the turbulent time and I want to share what I learned so you can side step it. I have some ideas that may be useful to you.

Today I’d like to share something with you that’s like a giant hug you give yourself. Does that sound nice to you?  If so, please stay with me.  It’s a 3 step process that will help you in your quest to live a truly authentic life. It will help you focus on all the good stuff in your life.

Now one of the reasons I love podcasting so much is that the people who listen to podcasts are doers. What are you doing right now?  Whether you’re walking or driving, running errands or folding laundry, you can listen along right now. You can replay this episode if you miss anything.  Because it’s likely you’re doing something else as you’re listening to this podcast, I also created a free downloadable cheat sheet that has reflection questions.  The questions will help you reflect on the content I’m sharing with you today and how it applies to your life. The reflection is meant to help you create a road map highlighting the best parts of your journey this past year and the general direction you’re headed for 2019.  You can download it from this page.

Step 1 is to start with your wins—the things that went well this year.  Your wins are the things you’re happy about. Let’s focus on these 3 categories in your life:  people, places, and things. When I say people, I mean the people you’ve engaged with over the past year. When I say places, I mean the places where you’ve spent your time this past year.  The last category is all about the wonderful things you did over the past year.

I’m going to encourage you to write down your answers because this is a feel good exercise and you’ll enjoy revisiting this list.  There’s something about writing things down on paper that’s very settling so I encourage you to do that. If you’re doing something else right now, you can say your answers to yourself so don’t let the fact that you can’t write things down right now stop you from listening and playing along. You can grab my cheat sheet and write everything down later. You won’t need to re-listen because I’ve got the question prompts on that cheat sheet.

Okay, are you ready? Let’s start with the people in your life and your relationships. These extend from your closest family and friends to your neighbors, your co-workers, and acquaintances within your larger community. It should even include the relationship you have with yourself and with your God. 

I know you have a lot of people in your life and it may take you time to think through the good things that happened in your relationships over the last year. 

Think about all the positive relationships in your life where you only want the very best for the other person and they want the very best for you. Do you have  relationships that enrich your soul where you feel comfortable sharing your inner most thoughts? Did you mentor or coach someone to their greatness? Are there people in your life who help you see things in ways that are enlightening. Did you have anything special happening in any of your relationships that feels like a win? Did you develop any new relationships that deepened your life satisfaction?

I feel lucky to have a lot of friendships that have spanned many years where we still get together even if it means flying in from all over the country. When we’re together it’s like we were never apart. Our hearts connect. It’s a blessing to have people like that in your life. But I also feel lucky and blessed to have new friendships with people who are enriching my life and helping me to grow and evolve. I have to say it’s a surprise to me how impactful new friendships can be. So as you’re thinking about your wins over the last year, don’t forget new relationships that were formed. 

There’s so much goodness in our lives. The friendships that bond us to one another hold a special place in our hearts. Reflect on all the positive people in your life. Write down your gratitude.

If you allow yourself to reflect on over time, you’ll probably remember more moments of connection. Take the time now to write down what immediately comes to you and you can add to this section later. 

Next, I’d like you to think about the places where you spent your time this year. Certain places in the world have been designated as blue zones because people there live longer, healthier lives. Blue Zone researchers have discovered that place is one of the most important predictors of longevity. The place where you live can have a profound effect on your health and well-being. 

Home is your sanctuary, your comfort zone, the place where you should feel safe, secure, nurtured, and supported. It should be a place of connection with your family, friends, and neighbors. As we change, our home should support those changes.

For this reflection, think about all the places where you’ve felt happy this year. Your home, your garden, taking walks in nature, perhaps a beautiful park, the beach, the mountains, a cafe where you like to meet friends, the places you’ve traveled to this year, perhaps a vacation spot. What about where you work? Write down the places you love where you felt your best this last year ~ places that fill you with contentment.

As I said before, if you’re walking or driving or doing something else and you can’t write things down right now,  there's a free fun sheet you can download. It gives you space to write and it has question prompts so you don’t have to take any notes as you listen. 

Now let’s go to the third area of your life. We’ve talked about the people and places that have filled you with positivity this past year. We haven’t talked about the things you’ve done that have given meaning and purpose to your life. 

I’d like you to think about your self care over the last year and if you had wins there. You may be asking yourself what is self care? It’s going to be unique for you but hopefully it includes taking care of yourself inside and out. Prayer and gratitude make my list. Sleep, heart pumping exercise, stretching, healthy food, being in nature, and all the other things we do to take care of ourselves may be significant for you this year. I’d like you to think about this in the broadest sense and see if you’ve had any wins in this area over  the last 12 months. 

Are there any systems and routines you put  in place that have been a big success for you over the last year?  What are they? Congratulate yourself for adopting systems and routines that are helping you. 

Did you have a big accomplishment? Did you start something new or finish something new or finish something you’ve been working on for a very long time? Maybe you made some good progress on an important goal. This podcast is something new that I started this year. I wanted to start a conversation about intentionally designing our second half. Thank you for being part of this conversation. If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll email me topics you’re most interested in and I hope you’ll join my newsletter and our private Facebook Group. I’m hopeful that our community will grow in the future but right now I’m very thankful for being able to start this podcast and that you are listening.

We’ve been talking about all the things that went well over the last 12 months that you can celebrate as wins. Sit with all that goodness. Pat yourself on the back. Congratulate yourself.  Fill yourself up with gratitude that these things were wins. This is really good stuff. Most of us don’t spend enough time thinking about all the goodness in our lives and feeling gratitude bubble up from within ourselves.

What you’ve just written down or said aloud—these are the guide posts as you move forward into the next year. Stay in this positive mindset.

Now we’re ready for step 2 in this 3 step process. We’re going to change directions completely.  Now I want you to think about 3 years from now. Why three years you ask? Well, three years isn’t too far in the future but it’s not right away either. It’s just far enough in the future to feel comfortable for new ideas to come true. 

So I ask you, in an ideal setting, how would you like to engage with life 3 years from now? What does that picture look like for you? Think about those areas you just wrote down as wins for this year. Would you continue to grow in those areas? Imagine anything you want as if you’re waving a magic wand. Describe what you’re relationships would be like. Where would you spend your time?  What things would you do?

Listen to the stirrings of your heart. Name them out loud.  You want something different. Maybe for you it’s just a little bit different or maybe you want to make a big change. What is it? What’s inside you wanting to come out?

Don’t worry about how you’ll get there. Just listen to the stirrings of your heart. Don’t worry if what you want is practical or realistic or achievable. Don’t stop yourself from your authentic dreams.  Write it all down.

We’re at the last step, step 3, in what I described at the beginning of this podcast as giving yourself a hug. I’m going to ask you to be playful and curious for this part. What do you think you would you have to give up to step into those dreams? What you think you have to give up might not be real. It might be imaginary and not true at all. Observe your thoughts about giving something up without attachment to those thoughts. What makes those dreams scary for you? What makes you want to put the brakes on those dreams? Observe your thoughts. What are you questioning? Play with this in your mind. Just be curious. Play with the question ‘Why wouldn’t I want my dreams to come true?’

Does it seem normal that if a part of you wants something, another part of you might resist what you want? Could resisting change feel safer to you in some ways? 

Could it be that resisting change is actually more risky than you think? What if it was? What if putting the brakes on your dreams could make you ill? 

Have you ever noticed how all kinds of external events can come into play and stop our forward momentum? I wonder if it’s because we think we can or we think we can’t…. It’s really common to feel conflicted about what we want. I think when we’re aligned with our deepest truths, that’s when the universe aligns with us. Take this moment to give voice to what’s deep inside you. Give voice to the conflict inside you that keeps you from being in alignment with your dreams. 

The thoughts you carry deep inside are powerful. Take some time this week to get in touch with those thoughts and write down your insights. You get to decide if they serve you well right now in your life. If those thoughts are keeping you from what you really desire deep down inside yourself, then those thoughts you have are not serving you well. You don’t have to hold onto them. You can let go of those thoughts.

We all want to make the most of the new year. Hang with me, my friend, for greater energy and confidence. Together, we’ll talk about releasing all the anxiety that comes from change.  We’ll talk about being more aligned with your greatest desires. You can go it alone but if you’re serious about designing your second half with intention, let’s continue this conversation. Don’t miss out on any of the bonus content I’m sharing. Become an insider by signing up on on this page.9  Discover 5 Secrets To Avoid Regrets & Missteps As You Design Your Second Half and more.  Let’s journey together.


"When we're aligned with our deepest truths, the universe aligns with us." ~Nancy DelSanto on Design Your Second Half, the podcast
Wishing you a lifestyle you love,

 ~ Nancy
To be inspired by past podcast posts, click here.