It’s that time of year where many people set themselves New Years resolutions. Out with the old, in the with new and all that. I’ve got to admit I’ve never been a fan of this process and I’m pretty sure for many people, it doesn’t really work to help make long term positive changes. Here’s why:
- A lot of us set long term resolutions without breaking down how to get there (what the mini actions and mini wins will be), so we often fall at the first hurdle and then get discouraged. Even if we have made progress, we fail to see the small achievements that have happened along the way.
- We don’t define exactly what we want, often setting very non-specific goals. This leaves us in a situation where we don’t have anything specific to measure our successes against or have a clear picture of where we’re heading and what we really want.
- We set ourselves resolutions that aren’t in alignment with our internal views of ourselves or our true values and beliefs. This means we experience confliction along the way, as we try to make changes that don’t really fit with our own identity or the things we really hold as important.
- We give ourselves really challenging goals that are outside of what we can actually manage. Highly aspirational goals also require us to develop new competencies, some of which may be beyond our current abilities.
- We focus on aesthetical, materialistic or situational resolutions, rather than working on changing our mindset and the thought patterns that correlate with the habit or environment that we want to change. This means that we can often feel overwhelmed by the resolution, or underwhelmed by its actual impact on our life if/when we achieve it.
- If the resolution is not achieved, then it can result in what we like to call ‘a failure’ and let’s face it, nobody likes to feel like this.
This is essentially my opinion and perhaps setting resolutions work well for you which is great! Perhaps you are naturally gifted at defining what it is you really want, what you’ll do to get there, what obstacles you might face and what changes you need to make (thought patterns, behaviours, habits etc.). If not, I’d like to share my method which is a little different from the norm, to hopefully support you in moving into the next chapter in a mindful way.
The first part of my method, is to reflect a little. This means writing down, talking about or mentally noting good stuff from the year previously. This doesn’t have to be specific goals met or achieved, it can be anything from people, to places, to thoughts or things that have bought happiness and pleasure to ones life.
Many of us start the New Year in a sugar coated negative way. We talk or think about the things that didn’t work well or things we’re not happy with and then use this information to create new goals. In principle this can work but what about all the good stuff? Negativity as a spring board for motivation in my opinion, isn’t as effective as moving forwards in a grateful and mindful state. To help show you what I mean by this, I’ve listed below some thoughts and things which have created joy in my life. There are many of course but here are just a few.
Waking up before anyone else. That secret moment as the sun rises that feels like it’s made just for you.
People who laugh at their own jokes and celebrate their own successes.
Recognising that self-care is not selfish.
Learning to say ‘no’ when the time is right.
Embracing change. Breathing and letting go.
Stretching and finding out how to stay still in my body and my mind (If only for 5 minutes).
Just going for it. Without the fear of failure. Without worrying about the end result.
That cosy sleepy Savasanna situation after yoga.
Finding new artists, new podcasts, new writers, new music and new places.
New found friends and old friends that always remain.
Surrounding myself with like minded individuals.
Finding strength that I never knew I had.
The post workout feeling.
Writing and relating to others.
Turning the page of a new book.
Big breakfasts and bigger brunches.
Hot baths and hot cups of tea.
Wide open windows that flood a room with light.
The smell of salt spray from waves and sun cream on skin.
Flowers and woodland walks.
All of the above, and many more of the things that have bought about joy and happiness, I aim to keep doing, keep learning from and keep surrounding myself with in the New Year. Understanding this helps to form a good level of appreciation and gratitude as the year comes to an end. This also then helps to inform the next stage, which involves building positive affirmations and considered intentions for the New Year. Doing this with a good self awareness as to what is important to you and what you appreciate in life (be it big or small), is a mindful way to move from one year into the next.
More to come soon!