“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
“I used to have this toy, a magic slate. You wrote or drew on it and then, just by pulling up the plastic cover, everything you did disappeared and you could start new. Maybe everyone feels that on New Year’s Eve: They can pull up the magic sheet and rewrite their lives.” ~ V.C. Andre
“Same mind with same old ideas enters the same old year; only the new mind with new ideas enters the New Year!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
Resolutions. Goals. Resistance. Change. Pressure. Ugh! The traditional way of approaching New Year’s is to push against something that you think isn’t right in order to force something new to take place.
Is it any wonder we have a culture of getting totally bombed the night before? After all, who wants to face that level of stress sober?
Well, instead of girding yourself in order to face with grim determination your austerity resolutions, why don’t you enter this year with a sense of curiosity and wonder?
Here are 5 questions to gently redirect your actions and outcomes. These questions offer you a new way of being for a new year.
- What would I like to feel the most this year?
The underlying driver for all resolutions is a new feeling. You want to change something because you believe it will change how you feel. That’s like trying to alter a movie by poking at the screen.
Instead of forcing things, get in touch with the feeling you want to have. Is it more freedom, abundance, fun, peace, or love? Once you’ve identified what’s actually missing then focus on that – let the external take care of itself.
Weight is the best example of this because it is so clear. You want to lose weight because you want to feel better about yourself. If your thighs were smaller then you’d be happier.
Well, what if you focused on ways to feel happier with the thighs you already have? Treat yourself with care. Think happy thoughts about yourself instead of critical ones. Embrace your faults and quirks – revel in your uniqueness. Ironically, once you shift into focusing on a direct path to happiness some of your external outcomes might shift also.
Choose your feeling and create that for yourself. What makes you happy? Walking in the woods? Sitting by the ocean? Being in a book club? Bubble baths? Whatever it is for you, do those things. If you are happy might you make different food choices? Would you need to use food to comfort and destress if you were already in a good mood?
Free yourself from trying to make something happen and focus instead on feeling fantastic.
- Who am I going to let off the hook and love unconditionally, just as they are?
Now that you’ve taken yourself off the hook for your “faults”, who else can you accept just as they are?
The important part is to choose someone that you have had past struggles with, for that’s your indicator that you have some triggers there. (Hint: this exercise might seem to be about the other person but really it’s all about you.)
Practice no judgement when you are with this person; just accept what is there for you in every moment. Remind yourself when things begin to get tense that the stress you feel is a direct result of some expectation or judgement you have about how things are supposed to be.
Unconditionally love this person. Open your heart and accept them just as they are. As you practice this you will also be loving and accepting yourself just as you are; you cannot share love without feeling love.
- How will I get back on the path when I stray?
I promise you things will fall apart. That’s not failure, it’s just the way it is. All changes need time to integrate and you will revert to your old, familiar ways of being. Knowing that, what is available to you to get back on your path?
When things go haywire focus on reflection, recovery, and repair to bring you back. Reflect on what happened from a neutral place, minus the usual self-judgment in your head. Know that to be human is to make mistakes. The important thing is to repair what needs to be repaired and recover.
Apologize, take responsibility, and clean up any messes without condemnation. Then have a plan to get back on track: like meditating, having a friend available as a sounding board, or taking a brisk walk. Build your safety net at the start so it’ll be ready when you need it.
- Who can I help achieve their dreams this year?
Jump off the me, me, me train and get involved in helping someone else. Open your life up and share your time, talents and self in the service of another.
Choose someone you know and commit to aiding in their dream. Encourage, listen, be present, and help them keep their commitments. Expand your focus and you’ll expand your life.
- Who do I want to be this year?
Choose a word that cultivates a trait you need more of and make your new mantra, “I am ______.”
What could you be more of? Considerate? Generous? Forgiving? Kind? Words have the power of creation so pick a word and resonate with it. Claim it as your own. Incorporate it in your thoughts. Pretty soon you will begin manifesting as this in your daily life.
The great part of this exercise is by focusing on who you want to be naturally shifts your actions. As you focus on being more considerate you show up as thoughtful in your interactions. If you focus on being more forgiving you act with more compassion and less resentment.
This year shed some of your old ways in a more gentle and fun manner. Greet this year with excitement and anticipation because these 5 questions have the power to transform you from the inside out.
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” ~ Brad Paisley