I love January! I think I like it more than Christmastime, although both come with their own set of rituals, demands and expectations. It’s important to remember that we can make a fresh start any time, which I’ll cover here, but as it’s the New Year…
Every day is a fresh start, but 1 January is extra special
For some reason, New Year has always served as my reset point; my joy-and-motivation initiator – my reminder that every day is a fresh start. Certainly, that may be cliché, but I’m sure others see it the same way.
I also know I’m not alone in scrapping the whole ‘resolutions’ and ‘goal setting’ business. January 1 is a holiday, my uncle Doug and cousin Liz’s birthdays. The only pressure I want to experience is the cork popping out of a bottle of bubbly!
How to do January (or any time, for that matter) stress-free but with maximum impact then?
I’ve been practising for a few years and have simplified my start-fresh ritual.
Here’s what I’ve learnt:
A book, that is. I’ve spotted a pattern throughout my year – when I’m perpetually emailing or mindlessly scrolling Facebook each evening, I’m less happy than the times I’m engaged in a good read. I’m more of a non-fiction gal myself, but it doesn’t matter what your preference is. Find time to read. It’s too easy to fall out of the habit of reading books, but the practice has proven health benefits including improved memory and reduced stress.
Tip: Not sure where to start? Ask for recommendations on Facebook or talk to friends. Take it one step further and join a book club this year (there are countless options, both on and offline).
We are blessed with thousands of free interesting, inspiring and motivating resources at our fingertips. If you’re short on time, try the Blinkist app that summarises popular books into 15-minute sessions; or start a routine of listening to a Podcast once a week. Breathe and Calm are fabulous apps that will get even the most resistant amongst you into healthy meditation and mindfulness habits. The most accessible of course, is YouTube, with more hours of content than we can consume in four lifetimes. Much of it is even very good!
Tip: Sign-in to YouTube with your own unique account, so you can personalise your experience.
Make this the year you engage a coach or mentor. Since I opened up to this, my life has changed. I used to think I had to do it all on my own, but now I know for sure that surrounding myself with guides is wise.
To clarify, I see a ‘mentor’ as someone to look up to; whose footsteps I’d like to follow in, and who shares helpful advice. A coach, is usually someone who talks you through questions that help you come to a conclusion or solution that’s right for you.
Tip: Don’t worry if you’re not sure who these people might be in your life. If you’re on the lookout for a mentor, you’ll know when they appear. Or try Google – coaching is big business now.
Lean on gratitude as a tool moving into the New Year. Set an intention to consistently recall the things you’re grateful for. By giving energy to the good, you’ll attract more of it.
Tip: Start a habit of writing down five things you’re grateful for each morning and watch what happens.
Pick a tool, any tool – pen and paper, or an app like Evernote. Write down the things you want. It’s that easy. Think big; limitless. The power of putting it on paper is renowned, and for good reason. Many of us have seen the things we write down come true.
Tip: Don’t be too attached or specific. Instead, write down how you want to feel. For example, ‘I want to feel respected and be abundantly compensated for doing what I love’. Often what you ‘want’ comes in a form that you hadn’t imagined, so be open to the possibilities.
How do you see it? Let us know in the comments about your New Year’s rituals that work.
It began with something called a ‘happy planner’ that promised to keep me on track with my life goals list. The year, that is – I started off so well, planning ahead in my bright yellow hard-covered book that’s trimmed with gold and artistically decorated with beautiful landscape photography.
All my goals, neatly listed, poised for New Year’s success. Maybe you relate?
The un-happiness of a life goals list
I spent time working through my planner’s activities which included noting intentions, and rating my happiness in various areas of life with a view to taking action on anything that felt lacking. On a glance back, I see I also filled in the ‘reverse bucketlist’ pages, where instead of writing down all the things I wish to achieve, I listed those things I was already proud of accomplishing (a very nice activity, if you need a boost today).
While I did initially make the most of my ‘happy planner’, it has actually been sitting on top of a pile of half-read books since May!
The bright yellow HAPPY cover serves as a reminder each morning of the possibilities ahead. But in the evenings, it came to prompt panic over all I’d intended to do but not yet acted upon.
According to the internet, this is now a thing – ‘FOMOMG’ (fear of missing out [on] my goals).
What on earth is FOMOMG?
What to do then, if we feel like we’re not where we intended to be now? That is, if we haven’t saved the money we wanted to, got the job, bought the house, discovered the romance, finished (or started) a project we’d hoped to have in hand.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like we’re missing out, and some might agree it’s especially so at this time of year. Keen to not fall victim to this so-called FOMOMG, I resolved to lessen the pressure I admitted placing on myself.
Types of goal setting, not goal-setting or indeed not giving a f*ck!
I’ve been reading some of Sarah Knight’s work – she’s the author of the No F*cks Given guides and presenter of a TED talk on the ‘magic of not giving a f*ck’ that’s reached over four million people. Clearly, many are curious to know if it’s ok to shed our excess ‘stuff’, and Sarah’s now famous for spreading the word on how to let go of things you really don’t need to care about.
Akin to decluttering your home, we’re encouraged to do the same with our minds. You can start this today by writing down a list of all the things that are taking up space in your head, then carefully considering which items you don’t need to care about. Really. For example, are you worrying that you’re not as caught up in your career as your friends are (well apparently, according to Instagram)? Let it go. It’s likely to work out the moment you begin to clean up your thoughts and focus on the things that truly matter.
Life goals to set for yourself: choose wonder not worry
I’ve also been dipping into Amber Rae’s Choose Wonder over Worry (another one stashed in my bedside pile of books). She helpfully points out that it’s not the things we don’t care about that are hard to let go of, but it’s letting go of all those things we DO want to achieve, plan for or create, that is so hard. To choose ‘wonder over worry’, means doing just that – letting some of the stress and pressure go, and focussing on the thing that is the most important to you.
Looking ahead, it’s time for me – and you, perhaps – to find joy in the moment. Embrace, don’t stress, over your dreams and goals.
Make time for a festive break; consider the good in your world, and your achievements; play with your kids or pets; focus on ONE thing you’re looking forward to pursuing next year. Let go of the clutter and embrace with me the understanding that setting goals is one thing, but realising those goals can change is the real key to happiness.
How do you see it – do you set goals anymore, or focus on intentions? I’d love to know – please drop me a line in the comments.
First published in the December 2018 issue of Get it Magazine, getit-magazine.com.au
Ever felt like you’re done with pleasing others especially when it’s not returned? Most of us have been there! Here’s my take on how to stop pleasing others and why we need to stop excusing ourselves…
For your own health: how to stop pleasing others
One evening when my nephew was very small, he dramatically stood up at the dinner table to declare, ‘Mummy, I need a moment’! Kids are hilarious.
Unfortunately as we grow older, we tend to drop the naive honesty, and when we really do need a moment, we rarely request it.
Can you relate to worrying excessively about managing other people’s wants over your own needs, saying ‘yes’ on autopilot, and over-explaining why you need to say ‘no’ to something?
Would you like to stop pleasing others all the time, even when you feel it’s not right?
With Mother’s Day upon us mid-month, I feel it’s pertinent to be one who stands up against ‘people-pleasing’.
Mums are renowned for putting themselves first, which is why this topic is top of mind.
That said, please do not take this editorial as a generalisation – I will not stereotype because there are people in my circles (yours too, I’m sure) – men and women – wearing all sorts of hats and still uncomfortably squirming at the table tagged, ‘people pleasers’.
I used to think the only way forward was to always do ‘good’ by others, at my own expense. Thankfully I had my unhealthy people-pleasing habits pointed out. Severe symptoms you may recognise are saying yes to everything including things I felt uncomfortable doing, and when I was totally exhausted, all to keep everyone else pleased.
Taking ‘me time’
Last month was buzzing with positive energy on the GC – an extra-long weekend and the Commonwealth Games. Fun times (especially when Prince Charles waved at me… honestly)!
By the same token, I dare say many of you were like me and scrambling to fit it all in – events with family and friends, the never-ending trail of life admin; travel for some, work for others and even moving house (I empathise with a fellow Get it girl who spent her holiday on that task).
Then there’s the nerve-racking life stuff that involves not just physical input but emotional investment too, like taking care of unwell loved-ones or saying farewell to those you won’t see in a while.
A scroll through Instagram and Facebook unsurprisingly showcased our good-time stories, but not the reality of the anxiety and over-commitment issues I was witnessing (then, and on-going for all of us). The familiar strain on faces across town reminded me that we need to practice balancing the line between self-care and selflessness.
Drop the ‘yes’ habit
Being very unhappy due to a long-term ‘yes habit’ and putting others first (even your most beloved) at all costs is not setting a positive example, but instead, sets a negative precedent.
There was a time when people-pleasing generated tears and havoc in my life. It’s why I feel for those around me when I recognise the tension and unnecessary lengthy explanations about not being able to say ‘yes’; or for those who regularly over-promise their time but always cancel on plans at the last minute (not a good look).
Take a moment. What’s the worst that can happen if you just say, ‘no’?
Help a friend out
As friends and colleagues too, we need to look out for each other. Don’t let another people-please for you, if you’re honestly aware they may not have the capacity right now.
I still struggle to say ‘no’. I actually get excited about a lot of things and love to say ‘yes’! But, I’ve made peace with a few things in this regard: I can’t please everyone, but I’m finally ok with that. I can do it all, just not all at once! I can say no, in my own way by managing expectations and understanding my priorities. If there’s guilt, then I just have to deal with it. Keeping all people happy all of the time is rather impossible, and I’ve actually realised a ‘yes habit’ can lead to your good intentions and time being taken for granted. Ouch.
I’ve learnt that saying ‘no’ is not necessarily selfish, and saying ‘yes’ to compromise and setting boundaries is wise. Offering a thoughtful ‘no’ will give you greater peace and better position you to support others in the long run.
How do you see it? Share in the comments below or find me on social media.
Another year, another lesson learnt (hopefully). I reflect every January on my new year rituals, and like to think I wise up each time around. Perhaps…
New Year rituals – 2018 pondering
Welcome to the new year! Old habits die hard, right? For this month we’ll still write the date as ‘2017’, analyse our horoscope (even if we don’t believe), and determine that this is the year of less gin and more gym. Yes absolutely, (tomorrow)!
Many of us also repeat a new year ritual and I’ve come to relish in mine. After a run of January 1sts where I was left feeling more than a little let down and empty, I realised that the act of having refresh routine was what might save me.
Signs – what signs?
For a bit of light relief, the first thing I seek is signs it will be a year of promise. I’m delighted to discover that it’s the Chinese year of the dog. Anything to do with dogs is good by me!
I know nothing of numerology, yet I find myself dabbling with numbers: 2+0+1+8 – an eleven year, which breaks down to one plus one equalling two, marking the ‘beginning of a new direction’, so my online research explains.
Numbers and signs lift my spirits, but we know nothing happens without action and intention. So, after I’ve had my fun looking at what’s in the stars, my personal ritual gets old-school as I turn off the computer and turn back to pen and paper.
The important part of a new year ritual: write it down!
As far as I’m concerned, the power of writing things down is not to be underestimated. A few years ago, we went on a winter trip abroad and I used a long-haul flight home to Queensland to have a think about what I’d like to come out of the year ahead.
I peeled open my shiny new diary for the year – clean pages representing the chance at an organised, fresh start. In an appropriate space up the front, I wrote a list of things I hoped for. I didn’t have any real method in mind, I simply noted my desires.
We landed back in Australia and I went about filling my diary with events, tasks and to-do lists, enjoying the delicious satisfaction of crossing items off, marking as ‘done’. At some point later in the year, I went fishing around in the front of the book looking for a note I had paper-clipped inside, and I spotted the list I’d made on the plane.
Amazed, I realised that many things I’d written down (but had forgotten about) had come true. I felt like I’d experienced a little bit of magic in that discovery!
How do you want to feel?
Since then, I’ve been more conscious about my new year ‘write it down’ ritual, and I’ve tweaked it to make it as powerful as possible. I try not to be too prescriptive in terms of detail. Instead, I write down how I want to feel. This bit has become important to me. I have discovered that what I (think I) want, or what is for the greatest good, might not come in the exact package I imagine.
Some of my list includes, ‘I want to feel valued and respected at work’, ‘I want to feel inspired by the creative people who surround me’, ‘I want to feel fit and healthy’. Coming at the new year with this attitude – imagining it, and repeating these mantras – helps me detach from specific outcomes, and inevitably brings me a wealth of opportunities better than I could have dreamed of.
My new year ritual closes with two important acts: giving thanks, and letting go.
Gratitude to my people, lessons, loves and experiences that make and break. And, dropping (as hard as this can be) toxic grudges and situations that simply do not serve me.
Desires, dogs and new directions – feels good to me. What’s on the cards for you this month? We’d love to hear about your refresh rituals. Do drop us a line with your own words of wisdom, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Happy New Year!
First published in the January 2018 issue of Get it Magazine - read it at getit-magazine.com.au
I now have loads of law of attraction success stories, which I feel fortunate about. But there was a time when this was all new. Recently, I experienced a really really terrible week. That was followed by several weeks prior that weren’t much better.
Appreciating the journey: my law of attraction success stories
I’d been faced with countless deadlines and challenging situations in all of life’s fundamental areas. Top it off with a seriously ill loved-one and me feeling generally unsupported. I hit one of those awful places in time where I was finding it difficult to get up in the morning. Inevitably something had to give, and it’s where one of my big law of attraction success stories begins.
I was stuck on where to start and how to ask for help to see things differently.
My mood matched that of the now-wintry grey English skies.
As one to usually be able to drag myself out of feeling miserable, I found myself in a place where I didn’t know what to do next. I was depressed, teary and withdrawn.
I waited for the clock to tick down at work each day. I felt utterly awful, and even more down because usually I’m happy there. I enjoy my days and make a point of trying to make someone else’s day a bit brighter too.
Ironically, someone I turn to for genuine and useful advice was also having a terrible week. While I appreciated the odd bit of sympathy gained here and there, I basically felt really alone.
Getting out of a hard place
Seems to be the way when down times hit. I’m sure you know the feeling well – we’ve all been to this place.
There’s a difference between feeling a bit down and being depressed, and my mind wasn’t in a great place. I was depressed.
Thanks to the tools I now carry with me though – those law of attraction success stories – I knew it was up to me to crawl out of it, no matter how hopeless I felt.
Engaging with the law of attraction: small changes
I still insisted on hiding under my warm quilt covers instead of going to the gym in the mornings. But despite feeling like I was easily set-off at every tiny little thing that could be perceived to be going wrong each day, during my morning commute I endeavoured to try to lift my own spirits.
Friends know I’m a huge fan of author and speaker, Gabrielle Bernstein, and her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, had been sitting on my Kindle for a few weeks.
I felt like it might be time to open it up.
On the bus each morning, I read just a few pages at a time, absorbing one small idea a day and taking it with me into work.
The one thing that struck me in the opening pages of the book was Gabrielle’s discussion about how we are the dreamers of our dream; we are responsible for what we see.
I knew that I was feeling sad and disappointed, and that there were reasons which had led me to that place. I have learnt that it’s ok to feel down about things sometimes, for a little while.
But, I knew the way I was feeling was not how I wanted to continue feeling. I didn’t want to be taking it with me everywhere and I sure as hell didn’t want to be projecting it into the world. I’m well aware that what I put out will come back in larger doses.
I wasn’t even sure where or how to ask for help and didn’t have any idea how I’d be able to shift what I was seeing in front of me.
I highlighted in Gabby’s book:
“You don’t have to be a world leader to have a radical shift in perception. Sometimes it can be as simple as choosing to perceive your job with more gratitude or your family with more love.”
I practised this in my head and in writing, and it helped a bit.
I knew if nothing else, just trying would raise my energy (and therefore what I was attracting) just a notch.
How to ask for help and to see things differently
I was still in a horrible place and this didn’t help me move through to anywhere significantly better. I felt particularly low that I was lost and without an idea of what to do moving forward.
Which is why this next part of Gabby’s law of attraction success stories and advice was very helpful and as always, timely. It’s why I feel compelled to write a few words about it.
You see, I’ve realised in recent years that we don’t have to have the answers all the time. We don’t necessarily need to worry about figuring out what to do. (This coming from someone who feels very uneasy without a plan!)
All we need to do is ask for help.
“I need help. I want to see things differently.”
I am completely aware of this strategy but typical of being in a hopeless funk, we often forget to follow the advice we give to others.
I’ve used this strategy previously when I’ve been at the end of my options (or seemingly so). I’ve called on my law of attraction success stories and experience when I have wanted to make a difference to loved ones having a hard time.
I stop and ask for help – a miracle even. And, I must say, I’ve seen it work each time.
The part about seeking a different perspective is reasonably new to me – or at least, specifically seeking a new perspective as a strategy is novel.
But how would it work?
I wasn’t sure, but it seemed straightforward and something that I could call on even when I was feeling hopeless.
I went about making this my daily mantra – asking to see things differently.
I fumbled my way through the week still feeling like a right old miserable mess, and half feeling like my crazy self-help strategies were failing me.
But being the believer that I am, I persisted.
“Help me see things differently”.
And then it happened, out of literally nowhere, some news that changed the way I would view a scenario that was getting me down the most.
Something that had felt hugely disappointing turned out to be hopeful.
Then the next day, additional information came my way that lifted a veil of uncertainty over another upsetting situation that I’ve been holding space for.
I’d asked to see things differently. I had no idea how any of it would go, after all, that’s part of the reason I was feeling so depressed – I couldn’t see my way out of problems I was perceiving.
I kept asking to see things differently. Low and behold, that’s what happened in a relatively short amount of time from when I started asking for help!
Apparently the universe does have my back, and I’m glad to have had the chance to witness it.
Want more practical law of attraction exercises and advice? Read more here about how to implement gratitude, manifest money and dream analysis to make shifts in your reality.
Do you have any law of attraction success stories to share that might help someone else? Or did this piece help you? Let me know in the comments.