There are a lot of ideas out there about how to approach planning for the new year. Pick a word for the year, or a theme. Set goals. Do a vision board.
 
But if you were to ask me, “What one thing could I do to set myself up for a joyful, vibrant, fulfilling 2012?” it would be this: identify your core nutrients.
 
You know about the physical core nutrients you need: Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, and so on. You need some calcium and some iron. You need your Omega-3s.
 
Consider that you also have some emotional and spiritual core nutrients – things that are absolutely essential to your emotional and spiritual health. To your feeling good. To your feeling alive. To your feeling like yourself.
 
While we all have the same physical core nutrients, we each have a different set of emotional and spiritual core nutrients. We’ve each got to figure out what our core nutrients are.
 
Here’s how to do that:
 
Step 1: Think back on the experiences that made you feel most alive, most in flow, most like you were just fully yourself. Write down one or two of these experiences. It’s okay if you have to go back 20 years to find an experience that made you feel this way. It might be directing the high school theater production or babysitting a child you adored or climbing a mountain. Whatever shows up is fine.
 
Step 2: Now ask yourself, what were some of the elements that made that experience so fulfilling? For example, if your experience was “climbing a mountain” – you might realize it was a few things: the challenge, plus being in nature, plus the feeling of being in a community with your fellow climbers that for you, made this experience so satisfying.
 
Step 3: Next, ask yourself: what core nutrients was I getting through this experience? What things was I being fed through this – things that are vital to my spirit’s health and wellbeing? Maybe you discover that yes, nature is one of your core nutrients. Maybe you discover that novelty – seeing things you’ve never seen before – is a core nutrient for you.
 
Step 4: Develop a list of 5 core nutrients. Thinking back on different fulfilling experiences in your life, identify 5 core nutrients. Core nutrients are always qualities – not activities. “Surfing” isn’t a core nutrient, but “connecting with water” or “being in my body” might be. Pay attention to what experiences felt the most vital, alive, in flow – not just what was pleasurable or what made your ego feel good.
 
Step 5: Now, here’s the fun part. Look at your 2012 in light of your 5 core nutrients. What will you do in 2012 to make sure you are getting your daily dose of each one? How will you shift routines and priorities to make sure you get your minimum requirement of these ingredients that are essential to your wellbeing? How creative can you get in finding them *in* your job, or *in* your parenting? How brave can you get in making time for them outside of those things?
 
Tell me about your core nutrients below!
 
Love,
 
Tara
 
**Special thanks to the Coaches Training Institute, whose curriculum on values is the basis for my core nutrients framework.
 
In other news, registration for the next session of Playing Big, my leadership program for women who want to change the world for the better, opens in a few weeks! The program begins in January 2012.
 
The Playing Big course is for you if:
* You want to be more effective and have a greater impact in changing the world
* You feel a calling or a creative inspiration — but you aren’t moving forward with it as powerfully as you could
* You are held back by self-doubt, fear, or procrastination
* You suspect it would be a whole lot more fun to play bigger. (YOU ARE RIGHT.)
 
This is my core program: an in-depth, six month process, where I teach the tools that have been most powerful for me and for my women clients in our own journeys to playing bigger in the world.
 
If you’d like to be on the advance list for updates about Playing Big, sign up here. You’ll receive updates on course details, be the first to know when registration opens, and have access to the early registration discount. Click here to sign up.
 
***
My book, Your Other Names: Poems for Wise Living is here, and I’m delighted to share that its a top 50 Poetry Best Seller at Amazon.com.
 
Life gets hectic. In the midst of busy days, too many emails, family and work pressures, we get caught up in the whirlwind. We get lost from ourselves. We all need ways to return, to find center again, to tap into a sense of peace. That’s what my new book, Your Other Names, provides: short readings that provide a pathway back to gratitude and peace. Click here to learn more about it.