Do the expectations of a New Year make you feel anxious and or bad about yourself?
They do for me! I catch myself listing all my shortcomings as well as a ton of things I ‘should do’ to improve myself. I am immediately plunged into believing I am not enough and I must quickly do something, anything about it. Luckily, I am well trained in (eventually) catching these rascally thoughts and can implement tools to transpose them into ways to help me.
Before I contemplate changes of any kind, I first look back on the year just passed and give myself credit for all that I did and for the experiences I had. Then, I let go of all that was disappointing or painful as best I can. This year, I wrote out my disappointments on paper, then burned them. Outside, of course. Next, I imagine myself in December 2015. Do I want my experience to be different than what it is right now? If the answer is yes, then I start by acknowledging that right here, right now “I am enough.” Even if things are exactly the same for me in December 2015 as they are right now, that is o.k. Maybe 2014 threw a bunch of things at me that will require me to spend 2015 adjusting and absorbing and not adding anything. If it feels good to move forward, I ‘entertain’ possibilities instead of enforcing rules and lists of goals to accomplish. I become curious instead of driven. Are my desires and goals in line with my truest self, or am I doing what I think ‘others’ expect of me? Will pursuing what I think are my desires, expand my experiences or keep me small, safe, doing what I’ve always done?
When I am ready, and I don’t ‘make’ myself do this on January 1st! I will begin to play with my possibilities like this:
Step 1 – make lists. I write down everything I ‘think’ I desire and want to pursue and or create.
Step 2 – get in my happy place! I do this by meditating. Sometimes I can get ‘there’ and sometimes I use a guided meditation. There are many good ones on YouTube.
Step 3 – When I know I am out of my head (flight/fight - worry) and in my ‘zone’ (safe and I can feel love for myself and others) I then contemplate each ‘item’ on my list. And observe. When I think about doing/having this item do I feel open and expanded and a ‘yes?’ or do I shrink, tighten up and feel ‘no?’
Step 4 – Discard the ‘nos.’ set aside the ‘not sures.’ there may be some thought work to do around these
Step 5 – Begin to play with the ‘yes’ list. I will then begin to imagine being/having this ‘yes’ item. I really feel it. I might like to then make a vision board; finding images that represent the feeling or the item itself and arrange them on a sheet of paper or poster board so that I can reference the ideas and feelings often and quickly. (I am doing an in-home 2015 Vision Board class on January 14th. Contact me if you would like the details and an invitation.)
Step 6 – I begin to implement steps to get from there to here. Yes, I said ‘there’ first. By working backward from there until now I can begin to construct concrete steps to take that will move me from where I am now and point me to where I want to be there!
Step 7 – Treats & Rewards. I have a list already prepared of small and large treats and rewards that I will give myself whenever I accomplish anything I set out to do, no matter how small. This not only makes daily life much more fun for me, it is working with my brain, letting it know that positive re-enforcement makes for permanent changes.
My ‘plans’ for myself for 2015 are all about having many fun experiences. You will likely read about all of them here!
Whether you pursue anything in 2015 or not, I wish you peace and joy above all. A very sincere Happy New Year to you.