…out with the old ‘goals’ and in with some smart, mindful actions that are very NOW
I think after 37 years of experience I’m a little done with devising goals when preparing for a new year; but I do believe in setting intentions and maintaining some kind of vision about where you see yourself headed.
If you can’t see it (or importantly, feel it) then how do you know ‘it’ when it shows up?
I’m often asked about the processes I implement coming into a new year, because in recent times I’ve developed a suite of tools and tips that have proven to be helpful for friends trying to either set themselves up for the months ahead, or recover (faster) from bad news and tough times.
While we do have the opportunity at any time of the year to begin fresh; even any time of the month, week or day (and God knows I’ve been practising that recently), January is a nice time to try to set yourself up for a positive start.
I’d like to share what works for me, and what I’m doing now to prepare for the new year. Personally this year has had definite high points, however it ended up a bit rocky. But that’s ok – it’s life, right? As Anne [of Green Gables] says, each day is a chance to start fresh.
How I’m preparing for the new year
I seek positive, helpful books for reading during the holidays
I plan to use the holiday break to get stuck into a few good reads intended to motivate and inspire me. My go-to authors are people like Gabby Bernstein and Rebecca Campbell who write about life, business, spirituality and strategies on how to make space in your life for the important stuff, as well as how to move through difficult times faster.
Of course, your go-to books might be about goal setting, fitness, healthy eating, mindfulness or on a subject you aim to know more about in 2017 like learning a language. It’s all good!
I find investing just twenty minutes a day in reading something positive, interesting and helpful can shift your energy and perception. If you’re too tired to read, try finding a podcast or listen to audio books as an alternative.
I subscribe to regular free broadcasts
We’ve all heard of YouTube, but did you know you can utilise it for much more than getting the odd laugh out of dog and cat clips?
If you sign up for an account (and here’s why you should do that) you can subscribe to inspiring broadcasters you find on the platform. Some YouTubers now have more influence than most people on television, and no matter what you’re into, there’s a daily or weekly vlogger who can supply you with a dose of inspiration and motivation each week.
About a year ago I got into watching Doreen Virtue‘s weekly oracle card readings. She’s cute and quirky but quite possibly not for everyone (obviously, angel cards and tarot isn’t for everyone, anyway!). However, every Monday morning first thing I take a look at her ten to fifteen minute broadcast for the week (I’ve come to love her). She reads three cards that she pulls from a deck and quite surprisingly I find her readings to be accurate.
BUT I should stress that I’m not actually looking at this to view my ‘fortune’ for the week. I watch it for the messages I can take away to apply to situations in my life, whether they be challenging work or personal problems that I’m looking for a fresh perspective on, or words of wisdom I can share as advice with friends.
These resources are free and at our fingertips, and finding something to engage with on a regular basis that encourages a positive perspective shift – whatever you need – is a healthy way to pass the time, I think. It’s something I’ll focus on with any spare time this holiday season, and a habit I’ll continue into next year. I hope you choose to take advantage of this type of resource too.
I’ve engaged advice from a coach
An opportunity to work with a life and business coach popped up in my sphere very recently. I’ve engaged in this type of activity before but for a slightly different purpose (back then I had the intention of gaining a new perspective on building my own business). This time around, I’m aiming to see things differently in my life and career and to learn new strategies for dealing with situations that are unfamiliar to me.
I find I’m very happy to help and mentor others and am proud to have achieved a level of success in doing so. But when it comes to getting yourself out of a rut sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes – and someone who is trained in this art is even better!
In our first session I outlined issues that I could simply not see a way out of, and left the session with a set of action points that really gave me my power back and made me feel so so much better and in control.
I realised that engaging in this activity before the new year is preferable to starting after January 1 has ticked over (although obviously any time is a good time to begin).
When I talk about ‘coaching’ though, for you this could mean in the fitness, health, Yoga, meditation, business, personal or spiritual sense. I think we can all do with guidance, and you definitely need the help of the right person, but if you’re on the lookout for them, I believe you’ll know and feel it when they appear.
And of course, if you’re serious about making real change (eg. getting fit, quitting smoking) make a call and set up an appointment with an expert now, and maybe even invite a friend along too so you can keep each other accountable.
I get serious about gratitude
There’s no faster way to make yourself feel better or to attract positive things than to mindfully consider all the things and people you’re grateful for.
Big, small, unexpected or the constants in your life – begin it now and I guarantee in under 60 seconds you’ll feel better about yourself and the world.
Using kindness and gratitude as a tool moving into the new year, set the intention to remember these things; recall them, revisit the list, add to it and send a little love back to those people on it to remind them about the good in the world.
This isn’t about forgetting the atrocities that go on around us; on the contrary, it puts things into perspective and is a reminder to help out where we can. Also, by giving more energy to the drama the television news generates, we’re perpetuating that negativity and it’s not helpful!
There are just as many like-minded souls such as you and I who are doing our best to bring the light – we can never have or contribute too much of that!
On that note, I really enjoyed this story by Bernadette Russell in Balance Magazine (December 2016) on being kind at Christmastime and how often the nicest thing we can offer anyone is our time.
I write things down
Using a good old notebook or an app like Evernote or OneNote, write down the things you want!
I have several years worth of experience writing ideas, wishes, dreams, plans down (funnily enough, often done during long flights); I’ve written down what I want to see happen, that I intend or that I want… I have later come across these lists and am so surprised to see what has actually manifested!
The power of putting it on paper is proclaimed by so many motivational speakers, coaches, authors, successful entrepreneurs… you name it. I don’t know what the magic behind it is (although I know a bit about the Law of Attraction and believe it to be true from personal experience); but write it down because wow, I’ve seen it work first hand – even before I knew about any of the things I talk and write about today.
A tip: try not to be too manipulative when it comes to specifics around working in a certain business or seeking a particular person as your new romantic partner; a neat trick to try is writing down how you want to feel.
In other words, what you want or what is for the greater good might not come in the exact form you imagine, but it will come, and it will be better. Write it down.
In one of my favourite Gabby Bernstein lectures (via podcast on iTunes) she talks about how to develop what she calls a ‘desire statement‘.
The process is made up of three parts:
- Write down a list of what you want right now in your life;
- Then make another list about how these things will make you feel;
- Following this activity free write (that is, simply write whatever comes to mind, no editing) for two to ten minutes after pondering these things you want to receive in your life right now.
- When you’re done, go back and underline any significant words or phrases that particularly resonate with you.
- From there write and edit your ‘desire statement’ into a clean, succinct, positively worded paragraph that you should then read and reflect on day and night. Use language like, “I want to be abundantly rewarded for a job I love and in a workplace where I’m valued…” rather than, “I don’t want to have trouble paying my bills and I don’t want a job where I’m not respected.” (note the difference in language used).
Surround yourself with your new intention, read it aloud consistently, and watch it come to life.
This manifestation technique has worked for me and friends so I personally vouch for the process. All it takes to work is your time commitment.
If you want an example of one of these or would like input on your own for the new year, feel free to email me or drop me a line in the comments.
Christmas can be indulgent – who cares, just go with it. But be aware of balancing some healthy activity for your body, mind and soul.
After a tough few months I’ve become very aware of the fact that I don’t want to be someone who moans or ‘carries on’. Yes, life is filled with hard times, difficult characters, sickness, sadness, challenges both personal and professional, but without those things we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good. Nor would we be able to lean on faith and positive, nurturing activities that we can take responsibility for on our own (like the ideas I have outlined above)!
If I can help just one with something in here, then I’ve done my job. Drop me a line in the comments if an idea here has sparked inspiration in you, or if you have other tips to add then we’re always grateful to hear from you.