Four Tips for Actualizing New Year’s Intentions

Keri Nola, MA, LMHC

Ok, so we’re a few weeks into a new year and if you’re anything like me, now is usually the time when your passion, motivation and excitement about all those “good” intentions, resolutions and plans start to wane.

Don’t panic. This is normal, and I’ve got some suggestions on how to meet yourself where you are so you can still actualize your new year’s intentions in 2013.

If you are feeling stuck or unmotivated, ask yourself the following questions:

1)      Am I forcing something that no longer resonates with me?
Check Your Intention. First thing is first. We have to be certain the intentions we set still resonate with us. Review your list of intentions and see if you still feel connected to them. Allow yourself to adjust, clarify or change anything that does not resonate with you. Many times we struggle to maintain or actualize our intentions because we try to force ourselves into doing something that no longer aligns with our passion and purpose. Let yourself change your mind. Be flexible. Go with the flow of your intentions. Let your intentions guide you rather than you directing them.

2)      Are my intentions realistic?
Be realistic. It’s pretty typical to get rather over-zealous in our expectations and intentions when we initially establish them. Sometimes we become overwhelmed because we’ve taken a bigger bite than we can realistically chew. If you find you are overwhelmed, it may be because it’s time to re-write your intentions in a way that feels more manageable. Consider writing your intentions in steps you can take one at a time. For example, if your ultimate intention is to be in a fulfilling relationship, you may break it down into a few smaller steps: 1) Review past relationship patterns. 2) Identify what is keeping me repeating relationship patterns. 3) Clarify what fulfills me in a relationship. 4) Go on a date.

3)      Are my intentions within my control?
Release. Sometimes we set an intention that involves another person, and we disempower ourselves. Be sure your intention is about YOU. We do not control other people’s life paths. For example, if you are having difficulty getting along with a co-worker at the office, you wouldn’t intend for that person to get fired or leave because that is not within your realm of control. You could, however, intend for there to be peace and harmony in your relationships at work and allow the universe to bring that about in a divine way, which may mean this person leaving the job, having a turn-around in behavior, or you getting a promotion or transfer. It’s important to remember in human form, our ego often keeps us from seeing ALL the possibilities. The universe can see possibilities we often don’t, so let the universal energy work its’ magic in your life by surrendering some control.

4)      Am I being gentle with myself?
Be Gentle. Most importantly, moving forward with ease requires our kindness and compassion. Often times the uncertainty of doing something new and different in our lives brings about fear and anxiety. When we meet ourselves lovingly, acknowledging the fear, and encouraging small steps in the direction we wish to go, our path is usually smoother. Talk to yourself softly. Be mindful of your inner dialogue. Witness rather than judge yourself. Be curious about any pauses in progress and gently inquire within for information that can support you in moving forward.

Here’s to a year of welcoming more peace, love, and joy than ever before! How good can you stand it?

Keri Nola is author of “A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul,” and founder of Path to Growth LLC, a Central Florida-based integrative healing center that blends traditional and holistic techniques for journeys to peace. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nola provides psychotherapy and facilitates therapeutic retreats for those seeking to reconnect with their inner wisdom, particularly after trauma or loss. She also offers heart-inspired business consultations for healthcare professionals. For more information visit, on Facebook and Twitter @pathtogrowth.

NOTE: Picture of Keri Nola by Monica Alfonso

Editor’s Advice: My New Year of Self-Care

Last year I wrote a blog post “Five Resolutions for a Spiritual New Year,” and got great feedback from our readers about it. These five resolutions are still amazing ways to start your new year off right, so be sure to take a look if you missed it.

This year I wanted to share a little more of myself with you, and ask you to embark on a journey of self-care with me. So many of us spend time taking care of others – whether it’s at work, at home, with friends or extended family. If someone we care about is in need, we will drop everything to be by that person’s side. But do we do the same for ourselves? In fact, I bet some of you are so busy, you haven’t even noticed your own body and mind crying out for attention.

Do you keep getting sick, or still can’t get rid of that cold from last month? Maybe your immune system is trying to tell you something.

Are you suffering from chronic pain in some way, but just keep popping ibuprofen in hopes that it will go away. Maybe your body needs rest, or your mind is creating a distraction in the body for something emotional that is going on.

This year, I decided to focus on self-care because for me, it has always been an area I am lacking. It really became clear to me this summer when I found myself in bed with Shingles, and then a few months later with a neck spasm that wouldn’t let go for more than three weeks! I decided to take a look within and see where I am abandoning myself. And it wasn’t a pretty picture.

Here is how I am starting the year off differently:

1– I found a new yoga studio in December, and have been going to classes two to three times per week. It’s only been five weeks, but I notice a big difference in my mental, emotional and physical life.

2– I’ve decided to try acupuncture since three different people in a matter of weeks told me how wonderful it was, and how much they believe I would benefit from it. (O.K. universe, I got the hint. I’ll make an appointment!)

3– I am doing another cycle of the 28-day book “The Magic.” If you missed my blog post about this book, you need to take a look. It produces amazing results and helps to keep you in a state of gratitude – the best place to be!

4– Recently, I received a new book to review. It’s called “May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness,” by Gabrielle Bernstein. Since I don’t believe in coincidence, I decided to embark on this 40-day journey of learning to release fear and replace it with love. Bernstein’s work is based on “A Course in Miracles,” and so far (it’s Day 5) I am amazed by the simplicity yet effectiveness of its exercises.

5– In the coming weeks, I plan to review an online course by Sonia Choquette called “Creating Your Heart’s Desire,” which helps bring you back in touch with your spirit, and tap into the power of attraction. Stay tuned for a review on this in a future Editor’s Advice column!

These are just a few of the ways I’m focusing on self-care and improving my life – physically, mentally and emotionally. I’ve incorporated each of these into my daily routine, and I already feel lighter.

I encourage you to pick at least one thing to do for yourself this year, and stick to it. Whether its taking yoga once a week, meditating for 5 minutes every morning and night, taking an online course, following a self-help guided book … or just doing something nice for yourself at least once a day. The goal is to check in with yourself and find what area of your life needs you the most. And then show up for yourself the way you would your best friend.

Join me, and let me know how your mission goes! Leave a comment, or email me at

Blessing and love to you all in 2013!


Tammy Mastroberte
Founder, Publisher & Editorial Director
Elevated Existence Magazine


Advice From Sonia Choquette for 2013

Best-selling author Sonia Choquette teaches people how to live from their spirit and let go of the ego. She helps others increase the awareness of their intuition and learn to use it in every day life, and she provides a number of tools and techniques for accomplishing these things and more.

We recently came across a video Choquette made offering specific tools for navigating the new energy we are moving into in 2013, and wanted to share them with our readers!

“The world conditions right now are really tough for a lot of people, and they are throwing us into a lot of chaos and fear and anxiety,” Choquette explains in the video where she offers five tools to help “navigate these transformational times without losing your center and without losing your confidence.”

Here are the five tools she shares:

Tool No. 1: Remember Your Spirit – Our spirit is the most authentic part of who we are, says Choquette. It is where inspiration, creativity and divinity are found, and it is our spirit not our ego that will move us through the changes we are facing right now.  So how do we “remember our spirit?” Choquette recommends focusing on what we love and what makes us happy, explaining she loves to travel, be physically active, be with her family and her children, and to tell stories. “Just remember what you love and say so – not just think it. Write it down.”

Tool No. 2: Remember Your Gifts – Each of us comes into this physical world with unique gifts and talents, and we need to both remember and acknowledge them.

“I have the gift of teaching and intuition and the ability to guide people,” says Choquette. “I have the gift of loving large and fearlessly … those are the gifts that I am to incorporate into my life.”

Remembering and acknowledging our gifts is the foundation of our purpose, she notes, explaining many people struggle to find their purpose in life, but she believes it’s always about acknowledging our gifts and using them.

Do you have the gift of service, organization, support, leadership, humor, creativity, nurturing? We were all given many gifts, and Choquette recommends acknowledging a dozen of them, and then picking out those not used often to begin applying in our lives.

“You can also ask people you know what they think your gifts are – maybe you have something you don’t even acknowledge,” she says. “It’s important in these transformational times to acknowledge and use our gifts.”

Tool No. 3:  Acknowledge Your Fears Dead On – By speaking our fears out loud, and anchoring ourselves in the present, over time our fears will subside, Choquette explains.

“Stand in front of a mirror or with a friend and start acknowledging your fears out loud,” she notes. “I call this tool ‘emptying the garbage.’”

Some examples are:

“I am afraid my relationships are taking a turn for the worst, and I might lose people I love.”

“I am afraid I won’t make the financial income I need to be safe and provide a grounded home for myself and loves ones.”

“I am afraid people will reject me if I show them who I really am.”

“I am afraid to be vulnerable and actually ask for help.”

“I’m afraid of change and what might come will throw me out of control.”

“Every time you say you are afraid, look at something in the physical realm right in front of you and breathe,” she says, explaining this helps to anchor us in the present moment. “Take a breath because fear takes you to a place that doesn’t exist, so you want to balance that out by anchoring yourself in present time where we are here and now … breathe and acknowledge [your] fears are not real, and they are controlling [you] if [you] hide them.”

Our fears keep us from being in the present moment, and that is the only moment we can create and make new choices, she says. This exercise will liberate these fears, and keep us from being here and now – and being present is the only place we can create and make new choices. This exercise will liberate us from fears that take our power away and will give us our energy back.

Tool No. 4: Ask Your Spirit for Guidance – When faced with choices and decisions, asking our spirit, sixth sense or intuition for guidance is the place to start, says Choquette.

“For example, ‘I am vey insecure about my job and whether or not I will be financially stable,’” she says. “Take a breath, and put your hand on your heart. Close your eyes and say, ‘My spirit says …’ or “My heart says …’ and then see what comes out. Maybe my heart says, ‘I’ll be ok.’ Maybe my heart says, ‘change is coming, but I will respond and be very creative, and my work is safe.’”

This exercise can be done with anything because our spirit is always there to guide us, Choquette explains.

Tool No. 5: Remember to Breathe – When we are in the state of anxiety and fight of flight, we are disconnected from our spirit, which is our sense of creativity and power. We also hold our breath, and Choquette teaches the quickest way to get back to spirit is to take a deep, conscious breath.

“A wonderful breath [exercise] is to breathe in though the nose and out through the mouth and let out the sound ‘Ahhhhh,’” she teaches. “Do that whenever you feel overwhelmed, anxious … take a finger and thumb together, and breathe in ‘I am,’ and breath out ‘Ahhhh … calm.’” This is also a great exercise to do before the previous one where you ask your spirit for guidance. Go right into “My spirit says….”

By allowing ourselves a few moments every day to use these tools, we can ground ourselves into the present, anchor our spirit into our body, and approach the day in a new way.

“These tools work and I encourage you to use them,” says Choquette. “I think you will find that they give you instant results, open your world up, help you remember that you are a co-creator in your life, and it’s not just happening to you, and that you have a divine spirit, inner voice and intuition that like a GPS, which can navigate you above the turbulence and put you back in clear space.”

For more on Sonia Choquette, including online courses and live workshops, visit

3 Steps to Mindfully Wrap Up 2012

By Keri Nola, MA, LMHC

Another year has passed gifting us with an additional collection of memories, transitions, and events to add to our life’s experience. In order to integrate these happenings and successfully move forward, it is helpful for us to find meaningful ways to reflect on the steps we’ve taken over the year, celebrate our progress, and establish our intentions for the year ahead.

This year I invite you to consider using a few questions to guide you in a gentle, mindful end of the year ritual that welcomes compassion and supports you in moving forward in the direction you deserve and desire.


  • What have I learned this year?
  • What am I proud of myself for this year?
  • What aspects of myself have I discovered and embraced?

End of the year reflections allow us to gently remember, acknowledge, and honor events, experiences and progress that occurred throughout the year. You may consider writing these down to revisit at a later time, or just reminisce about them mentally. I will say it can be an enriching experience to review our yearly reflections from one year to the next as it provides a unique way to “zoom out” and capture a glimpse at the bigger picture of our experiences.


  • How can I honor and celebrate the progress I’ve made in my personal evolution this year?
  • Is there anyone I want to invite to join me in my celebration?
  • Who can I express gratitude to for being a part of my journey this year?

Celebrations are an important aspect of our progress. Too often we focus on the places we believe we have fallen short and forget to acknowledge the valuable steps we have in fact taken in the direction of our highest purpose. Personalize a celebration ritual that honors YOU.


  • In 2013, I intend to…
  • My hope for myself in the New Year is…
  • This coming year I give myself permission to…
  • In the New Year, I choose to let go of…

I prefer intention setting to the more traditional resolution making as this ritual is less oriented with the judgment of success or failure, but rather assists us in aligning with the energy of our desires, which helps us be more capable of inviting them into being.

May your reflections, celebrations, and intentions support you in journeying inward and reconnecting with your most authentic self as you transition into the year ahead.

Keri Nola is author of “A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul,” and founder of Path to Growth LLC, a Central Florida-based integrative healing center that blends traditional and holistic techniques for journeys to peace. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nola provides psychotherapy and facilitates therapeutic retreats for those seeking to reconnect with their inner wisdom, particularly after trauma or loss. She also offers heart-inspired business consultations for healthcare professionals. For more information visit, on Facebook and Twitter @pathtogrowth.

NOTE: Picture of Keri Nola by Monica Alfonso

Five Resolutions for a Spiritual New Year

Every year we make resolutions with the intention of “getting it right” this year. We vow to lose weight, join a gym or quit smoking, but it seems by the time January 2 rolls around, we already doubt our ability to keep them. And by the second or third week of the month they are a distant memory.

This year, instead of making your usual resolutions, try a few that will connect you with your higher self, and with the Divine source inside us all. If you start here, the other stuff will fall into place.

Here are five spiritual resolutions worth making and keeping this year:

1. Spend time quieting your mind every day. Meditation, whether using a mantra or simply concentrating on your breath, can help you connect to the truth and strength within. It will raise your vibration, lower your blood pressure and improve your life in countless ways.

2. Every morning when you wake up and every evening when you go to sleep, check in with your angels and spirit guides. Thank them for their guidance and ask them to open your eyes, ears and heart to the messages and signs they send you throughout the day — then pay attention to them when they come your way!

3. Create a gratitude journal and write down five things you are grateful for each day. Then write down five things you want to attract in your life as if you have already received them, and thank the Divine for sending them into your life.

4. Come up with at least five ways to give back – to your friends, family, community or the world. Whether you volunteer at a local community center, nursing home or hospital; create a family game night where once a month you come together with family to laugh, love and have fun; or donate to a charity such as Habitat for Humanity, or your local PBS Television station, do something to give back without expecting anything in return.

5. Make a list of affirmations to say to yourself as you are getting ready for the day, or getting ready for bed. Concentrate on topics where you are trying to manifest something, or an area of your life you want to improve. For example, for abundance and money, “Signs of abundance are all around me, and money flows to me easily and often.” For health and healing, “My body is healthy, whole and complete. I feel better with each passing day. All is well.”

Happy New Year from Elevated Existence! May this year be filled with blessings and love for us all!

Tammy Mastroberte
Founder, Publisher & Editorial Director
Elevated Existence Magazine