8 Ways To Make 2011 Your Happiest Year Yet

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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As we flew over the lush green valleys of Kaua’i, waterfalls swollen and new streams of water created by the previous night’s heavy rains, my sister spotted a rainbow through the side window of the helicopter.

It seemed auspicious. The rainbow signified a path between Heaven and Earth in Greek mythology. Rainbows are supposed to bring good luck. Of course the leprechaun hides his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as well, as everyone knows. Would 2011 be a year of increased prosperity and abundance?

That, I believe, will be up to us. We are powerful creators, creating our lives as we go.

Make 2011 Your Happiest Year Yet

A Dream Holiday
Right now, I am living the dream, celebrating the remainder of the holiday season first in Hawai’i, then back in New York for a few days, before flying to India for a month. Traveling the world teaching workshops about living your dreams, and writing about it, is a dream come true for me. And that’s exactly what I’m up to in the world right now.

In India, I will be partnering with my spiritual teacher and friend, Nithya Shanti, to teach “joyshops” on Creating Your Happiest Year Yet. This is a total dream come true for me. Last year, I set the intention of creating and teaching “dream visioning” workshops in 2010.

I never could have imagined that dream would lead me to spend a month in India, teaching with someone who is a personal hero of mine.

The Power of Dreaming Big!
In 2010 I set the goal of leading at least 10 such workshops. I feel short of my goal, teaching only three in 2010. Yet I also organized five more workshops for other spiritual teachers I admire, bringing the count to eight (I count my involvement there as helping to fulfill the dream!). And, organized two more that had to be canceled due to circumstances and timing.

That’s 10 workshops total in a year. If I count both organizing and teaching, then I did hit my goal after all!

At the beginning of the year, however, it seemed out of reach. I had no idea how to accomplish it.

I started out by creating a workshop last January, partnering with a dear friend, and dreaming up the curriculum, based upon years of training with life coaches and work on my own self-development.

Our workshop on creating a plan for making 2010 the best year yet was a big success. And then other opportunities arose both to teach, and to create workshops for others. winding path to your  Happiest Year Yet

Following The Path Where It Leads
I also launched my own life coaching business in 2010, and now have coaching clients I work with on creating a vision and map for living their dreams. I love this work!

It took teaching and organizing workshops to help me find the courage to take on clients of my own. I’d been informally coaching people for years, and had worked and trained with many life coaches, and yet I needed to believe in my own ability to help others and to do this well. Lining up my first paying clients was a major victory for me!

Luckily they also love the work we are doing together, and have reflected back to me the fact that my work with them is helping them to make major positive changes in their lives. I’m so grateful for the chance to do work that is so fulfilling, and to make a difference in the lives of others.

And of course, I finished the draft manuscript of my book, living that dream out loud here on 8womendream. That was my biggest goal of the year ~ mission accomplished! In 2011 I plan to finish editing the manuscript and then find an agent! That’s part two of the book dream.

What Are Your Big Dreams?
When you get in action on living your big dreams, there is no telling where life will lead you, or what doors will open for you. It may surprise you!

There is magic in committing to living our passions. The universe often lines up to support us in the most surprising, fun, synchronistic ways. And then we may end up launching a new dream as a result!

As we bring 2010 to a close, I want to share some exercises that I do with my life coaching clients and some thoughts on how to dream even bigger in the New Year, start making those dreams a reality, and have more fun!

8 Ways To Make 2011 Your Happiest Year Yet

1. Decide that every day will be your happiest day of your life.
Say this aloud to yourself every morning! Try it; it just might make you giggle. Look in the mirror or lie in bed before rising and say, “Today is the happiest day of my life!” Setting an intention every morning to be happy, no matter what life may deliver, helps us to enjoy all the moments of our lives and to remember that while en route to living our dreams, ultimately it is the quality of the journey that counts. This is an exercise I adopted from my teacher, Nithya Shanti.

2. Commit to your own health and wellness above all.
Living our dreams to the fullest requires energy. In order to do and be all that we wish to in the world, we need to treat our bodies well, and to honor our spirits. Decide on what your spiritual and exercise practices will be in 2010, and then honor that! Remember that every time you meditate, eat healthy, or go for a walk, you are giving your body and soul a gift. Reward yourself for the times you do practice, vs. beating yourselves up for the days when you don’t!

3. Give what you wish to receive.
If your big dream is to fall in love, or launch a business, support others in doing the same. It’s not only good “karma,” it feels good too, and what we give, we receive back in abundance. So play match-maker for single friends, or help a friend plan her wedding. Cheer on a friend who is giving a new business venture a shot! All the good you do will find its way back to you.

4. Ask your soul what it wants to do and be in the world!
We all have a deep reservoir of inner wisdom to tap into. Pose big questions to yourself. Who are you? What are you here to do in the world? What will make you happiest? Ask these questions, and then take the time to journal about it. You may be surprised what arises if you simply give yourself the freedom to flow with what comes and jot it down.

5. Envision a beautiful future.
Spend some time visualizing what you want for your life at the end of your life; in 20 years; in 10 years. What does your dream life look like? Visualize it, feel the feelings, see and smell and hear the sounds of what it will be like. Then, write down a vision for your future!

6. Make peace with your past.
If you feel incomplete with your past, do the work you need to do to forgive yourself and others. You are where you are now for a reason, and it is the perfect place to be on your own evolutionary journey. Besides, you can’t change anything that happened in the past, and worrying about it is just wasted energy! So make amends if you need to and just let the rest go. Celebrate being here now!

7. Set clear goals and make sure some are “stretch” goals!
When John F. Kennedy decided that the United States would send a man to the moon in ten years, no one could imagine yet how this would possibly happen. Challenge yourself to do what seems impossible for you, knowing that you are also capable of much more than you can easily imagine! And set some clear goals in areas of your life that matter to you, including health, relationships, career, community service, finances, fun and adventure.

8. Create a dream map!
Now, start to map out some action steps that can help you make your goals a reality. You don’t have to know every step on the path, you just need to start moving! As the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!”

Perhaps most importantly, have fun with it! This is your life, after all! Don’t forget to live it!

Here’s to living our dreams together and making 2011 your happiest year yet!


Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton, and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House – a dream come true! Now, to get it published! Lisa is also a lindy hopper, blues dancer and belly dancer, and a globe-trotter. Her post day is Tuesday.

  • Heather Montgomery, CEO & serial entrepreneur

    Lisa – thanks for the reminder to focus on my health. That’s always the last on the list – which is not good!

    Looking forward to an incredible dream year for everyone – H

  • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

    Thanks to you I am consistently reminded to meditate above all else, which I have managed to do every day for the past month.

    Rigorous exercise does not make Hypothyroid patients feel better, but in fact makes them crash, so I think I am going to look into Yoga next year from a woman I’ve been admiring in the area for some time, so we can add that to my dream list in 2011.

    I have a great feeling about 2011 – for all of us.

    Great post – Cath

  • Dear Remy, awww thx beautiful :) I’m so honored to be a part of this journey with you, and inspired by your positivity and all you accomplish too ~ Way to go achieving all of your goals last year, and I KNOW you will this year as well (me, too!) ~ even if we don’t quite know the “how” of it yet! That is where the faith comes in, and the courageous life of the artist ~ as the quote goes, making leap after leap in the dark. :)

    Thanks for the good wishes… Am sooo excited for my upcoming travels, and yes what a blessing and a joy to have so much time with my spiritual mentor! I feel blessed beyond belief and words.

    Here’s to a joyful, peaceful, happy, abundant, prosperous year!


  • Remy G

    believing in your dreams, even if you have no idea HOW or WHEN they will happen – just the belief you will get there – is big for me. You give me lots of energy, Lisa, and focus on moving ahead. Thank you for your insights! Have a wonderful flight home, and then a rush to repack and fly away again! I cant imagine what it would be like to spend all that time with spiritual mentors of mine. Wonderful! xox Rem