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Listen Deeply | Katharine Chestnut

It’s Not Time for a “New You”

Sometimes New Year’s resolutions are fun — a fresh start and setting new goals for a ‘new you’ can be invigorating and inspirational! 

Well, for some it can be fun. 

For others, the whole self-improvement mindset and industry can feel a little toxic. The idea that we need to tirelessly work at improving ourselves is kind of antithetical to something that I hold to be true: There is no perfect version of myself. Yes, I’m changing and healing, but my “imperfections” are what make me human and authentic. 

What do I intend for this year? Hope is strategy (bigger picture). vs Intention is more tactical.

Hope is about hearing and listening your hopes is necessary to even set your intentions.

Instead of committing to resolutions of a ‘new you’ that whittle away at my true, authentic self, I’m setting intentions for the new year. Care to join me? 

New You 2022 Intention | Katharine Chestnut
My own 2022 Inner Affiramation

Listening More Fully

I don’t typically do resolutions for a ‘new you’, but this year I did journal about my hope and intention. My Inner Affirmations journaling repeatedly presented a word that I clearly want (need?) to focus on: Listen

In today’s digital world, everyone has a platform to voice their opinion, to share their thoughts on every last topic under the sun. I started wondering: What happens when we stop talking and start listening more? 

When I LISTEN, that’s when the really good stuff happens. When I slow down enough to listen — to myself, my peers, my guides or to the Universe — I hear some pretty interesting things: 

  • I hear the silence of things sleeping during the winter season, a reminder to slow down and rest. 
  • I hear feedback from my friends, who assure me that I’m supported and loved. 
  • I hear my own heart and breath, a reminder that I am alive and present, in this moment.  

Love Who I Am Today

Yes, planning and looking ahead at the new year is exciting! It’s a new adventure, in some ways, and I have a lot that I’m looking forward to. 

I’m setting an intention to be more present this year. This isn’t a ‘new you’, it’s continuing to practice the mindfulness has helped me immensely in the last few years. I’m slowing down enough to be in the present moment.

When I can accept and love myself there, right in that moment — even with the mistakes I’ve made and the wounds I’m healing — I know that I’ll bring that same self love into the new year with me. 

I’m going to love who I am TODAY. (Not the future, “better” version of me.)

Practice More Acceptance

When the pandemic hit two years ago, I noticed more media reports using the term “unprecedented” to describe the times we live in. To say that this specific virus, or any disaster, was expected or could’ve been planned for, though, seems a little silly. 

It’s not really news, but we don’t get to plan the future. And that’s really hard to accept for humans. But there’s a Yiddish saying: “Man plans, and God laughs.” 

In other words, we can prepare for best and worst case scenarios, and respond to changes as they come. All of that prepping will not prevent the disasters, however. 

It’s super frustrating (especially when you’re really great at planning, like I am). I’ve learned that I can ease that frustration with acceptance. I can accept the things I do have control over. I can accept what’s in front of me and what I am able to prepare for. I have a community of people to ask for help if I need it, and I have the resources I need to stay safe and healthy — that I can accept. 

And it’s funny — feeling that acceptance makes space for more gratitude in my life, since I’m not fixating on the idea of total control over my future. It’s challenging … and acceptance is a much less anxious way of living.   

Embrace My Authenticity

To me, being authentic means fully showing up for myself. That can look a few different ways, but I know what authenticity feels like: I have to slow down enough to even notice what’s going on in my body. 

I have to practice intentionality, and I’ve learned how to improve on that practice over the years. In my recent book, Inner Affirmations, I talk about how we might fully show up for ourselves and practice this authenticity.

“Intentional exercises — anything from breath work to yoga to meditation — all do a great job of s-l-o-w-i-n-g you down. You’re forced to focus on just being in your body in these types of practices. And because you get out of your head, away from distracting thoughts and a racing mind, your ego also quiets down and falls away into the background. 

This kind of activity allows you to be with your authentic self — your chattering, demanding ego doesn’t get in the way.”

You can get your copy of my #1 bestseller here.

Showing Up Intentionally

I’m looking forward to what 2022 will bring, but in order to practice being present (and not getting ahead of myself), I’ve made a list of intentional habits that will help to ground me through this year. 

  • Meditation gives me the space I need to truly listen, focus and stay quiet. (If I need a little support, a guided meditation always helps.)
  • Keep up with my journaling practice, which has become a supportive and beautiful ritual in my everyday life.  
  • Check in with my community! Having a support system and accountability can help immensely when we’re building more intentional habits — join us on Insight Timer or Instagram to follow along. 

Need support for your own intentional practices in 2022? Start the new year (and your week) off right:  Join me on Insight Timer every week for support and inspiration!