The start of a new year, a blank slate, an opportunity to make changes. I love the start of a new year, closing the door to the old year and stepping into the unknown: 365 days ahead of opportunities, new challenges, new discoveries and adventures.
I’ve long since given up on setting resolutions though – so many years of setting unattainable resolutions that fall by the wayside by mid-January. The majority of new year’s resolutions fail within the first 2-3 weeks because people suddenly make drastic changes without getting the mid fully on board – joining the gym/diet groups to be fitter, healthier, lighter, stronger then the initial enthusiasm wears off, it’s winter and you just want to hibernate, eat comforting food and stay at home. We’ve suddenly pushed ourselves right out of our comfort zone, which is exactly where we need to be to make changes, but if it’s too much too quickly the mind just wants to take the quickest route back to the comfort zone – picking up a takeaway/cake/wine/beer/ etc etc on the way! And then there’s the feelings of failure kicking in – the negative chatter, the downward spiral, before we know it we’ve eaten more cake, drank more wine, missed the gym sessions, we’re beating ourselves up even more!
Although I don’t set new years resolutions anymore I still love to plan and set goals, but not just yet. In traditional Chinese medicine winter is considered a time for recharging, restoring and reflecting rather than taking action. Definitely not the time to be making radical changes to diet or lifestyle. Instead of resolutions I like to set some intentions for the year ahead that I can then build on as the year progresses. As winter is a time for reflection it’s the perfect time to ask yourself some searching questions so that when spring comes you’ve got some seedlings to start tending.
As I was reflecting on 2017 a lesson that kept popping up for me was remembering to stay present, enjoy the here and now as the present is all we have. Last year is now memories, the future unknown. I have to find a balance between setting my intentions and then relaxing and letting the universe take over. So I set aside some planning time – time specifically dedicated to reflection, daydreaming and manifesting. An afternoon or an evening, I get cosy, light a candle, make a pot of tea, put on some inspiring music, reflect, dream, & let my imagination run wild.
So grab your notebook and set yourself a bit of dream time. Some questions to prompt you in reflecting:
- What did you achieve in the past year?
- What worked/didn’t work and what you can learn from the experiences?
- Are there patterns that keep repeating? What needs to change to stop the patterns repeating
- What would be good to take forward into 2018, what can you let go of?
- What do you dream of doing? Let your imagination free for a while. Let go of the ‘buts’ that stop you and let your mind be free to wander. What steps would you need to take to make some of this a reality?
As you reflect on these you can then start to build up a bigger picture and sense of direction over the winter months so that when spring arrives and the energy starts to increase you can start planting seeds to nurture and grow over the summer months. You’ll then be reaping the rewards later in the year.
Whatever your intentions you can start making small changes, If it’s to be healthier committing to adding a few more veggies to your diet. Maybe some gentle exercise – going for a winter walk, some gentle restorative yoga. By starting small & taking gradual steps you can get the mind on board much more easily, it doesn’t feel like big scary change. It makes staying on track much easier and as the small changes become habits you can start adding more changes through the year, building and building.
So what intentions are you setting this year? What about the intention to look after yourself, self-care, nurture and nourish?
Come and join me for some yoga where you’ll have time to relax, restore and reflect:
Tuesdays Restorative 8-9:15pm & Thursdays Yin 8-9:15pm (Starts 18th January) bot at Seasonal Yoga Academy, Darnley Street, Glasgow, G41 2SE
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