I was recently asked to write something for an online publication to do with new years resolutions and how to look at them in a way which are less self punishing. Here I share my response with you in hope you can take some self care stepping in to the year ahead.
The new year is a time often associated with “good” intentions, making a “new” start and generally motivational change. I think reflection is important but without the self punishment. I think we are quick to put ourselves down about the years we have had or the decisions we have made and decide to make bold decisions about the changes we shall implement come January. I am interested in how we can be a little kinder to ourselves moving in to a new year and how making small changes can still be powerful ones. From my own experience, the most powerful changes in my life have come from listening to my body and following my intuition. Once my mind and body response have connected, a felt sense will be what triggers me in to action. Slowing down and taking time unpack your feelings and ideas can be a wonderful starting point.
Be mindful. More than anything, I would suggest taking some mindfulness in to your year. This doesn’t have to come in a meditation practice but in your everyday life. Allow yourself time to be mindful of your own body and thoughts. Being aware of our feelings, our anxieties, our stress responses, our joy and how they affect the body is a wonderful tool. I believe that the biggest change starts here, with our own observation and stillness. Once we are aware of something, change can often happen without much struggle. Following our feelings/sensations and intuition is a gift. Learning how to say no to the negative can be hard when it has become a pattern but making a conscious positive choice can trigger the brain to create new pathways.
Surround yourself with people that feed you in someway, this may be creatively, or they may be wonderful listeners, encouragers of ideas… non judgmental listening is a powerful tool and can help enable wonderful change. Perhaps you could also try this when listening to a friend?
Be aware of your judgements, both of the self and others. Looking at where the judgements are coming from and what’s feeding them can be really helpful in discovering a source of negativity and what may be stopping you.
Lastly, creativity can be a wonderful way in engaging with the mind and body. Is there something you have been thinking about trying but haven’t made time for? Making pots? Cooking? Gardening? Taking up meditation or yoga? Spending more time outside? A sport? All these can be considered creative practice. Something that you can feel immersed in and that helps you feel fully present. I would encourage this as a wonderful way to feeling in the new year. This immersion uses the same part of the brain that is related to our feelings and sensations so a lot of emotion can be accessed and released in creative activity.
I wish you all some rest and recuperation and a bright 2018!