Four Crucial Questions for A Beautiful New Year

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One of my favorite pockets of time throughout the entire year is upon us; the week between Christmas and New Years.  I try my damnedest to carve out some “deep work” time as I call it, in order to clear the space, reconnect to presence after all the going and indulging, and map out a vision for the coming new year.  My inner dreamer gets to dance around boldly and color outside the lines a bit.  If I’m lucky, I try to take a whole morning or afternoon to do so.

Today, as you let the turkey and toffee settle, perhaps still surrounded by family in from out of town or friends who stopped by to say hello, I want to leave you with some food for thought as we head into these final days of 2017.

I’m struck by the power of habit or ritual as a pre-emptive tool to greet each new day with, as opposed to drastic measures and knee-jerk reactions.  Over time, good habits create this soft light in our lives that accentuate our potential and undergirds our desires with balance as opposed to extremes. 

I know, it’s so tempting to let it all hang out the last several weeks of the year only to justify it January 1 with a brazen New Year’s Resolution that, in my experience, lasts about two weeks if I’m lucky. 

With each passing year, as I show up for myself and my community, I’m learning something invaluable: extreme, reactionary quick fixes are often just detours. Connection is always king.

If you have battled discouragement in the past because your desire for self-improvement took a sharp turn south when the diet and exercise plan you spent a fortune on went bust four days in, this is for you. 

If you rock resolutions, more power to you and I’d love to shake your hand.  In my experience, they always end like a hot and heavy, short-lived relationship.  I like to call them “whoosh” relationships: they promise the sun, moon, and stars, and then Bam! Like a cotton candy sugar rush, they crash and burn when the lights go up and the curtain falls.  It’s like the jerk of whip-lash—the “whoosh” of a cold whip of wind.  

Interestingly enough, I think humans find extremes far easier than balance.  We like to react out of fear instead of responding out of desire.  Marketing moguls exploit this behavior big time, and anyway you slice it, they’re clever.  They know that people go off the rails a bit over the holidays and wake up January 1 with a foggy head and a few extra pounds.  Swooping in, they save the day with their slashed gym membership prices and 30-day cleanse program promising a new you in just one month.

We’ve been hooked.  When those dollars are spent and the motivation trails off the next afternoon, we go looking for another option, or some leftover peppermint bark, whichever comes quicker.  

The shame cycle’s begun again.  

Perhaps I’m cynical, or perhaps I’ve had LOTS of practice reacting out of fear and manipulation rather than choosing what will truly satisfy me from a place of mindfulness and connection.

*If you jump on my website, you’ll see a logo and the story behind it on the home page.*  My approach to therapy and coaching is built on relationship, as I believe that when we begin to soften and mend our inner dialog and heal our relationship with self, external pieces of life follow suit and eventually thrive as well.  It’s not magic, it’s a journey and one I’m very much still on.

Today, I want to invite you into deeper connection with you by asking four questions that will lay some groundwork for the edits, goals, and habits you want to see take root in your life in 2018.  These are adapted from one of my favorite podcasts “The Accidental Creative” —so good I had to share!  Being mindful of desires, feelings, and curiosities will take us much further than stringent rules and regimens we place on ourselves.  Without the “why” the “how” is obsolete.

I hope you’ll join me and carve out some well-deserved time to journal around the picture you’d like to build for the coming year.  Come back to it over and over again.  Realign with its truth or tweak it if you need to deviate from the course.  The possibilities are endless.

Here we go:

• What do you want to feel more of in 2018? (e.g., energized, awake, confident, accepted)

• Where do you want to go in 2018?  (This can be figurative or literal. e.g., I want to explore a new city, yoga class, or I want to go from full-time to part-time at work so I can spend more time writing)

• What do you want to learn in 2018? (e.g., I want to learn to play drums or I want to learn to meditate)

• What do you want to change in 2018? (Reminder: this is desire driven, NOT fear driven!  Approach this from a place of “I’m enough” rather than insecurity.  e.g., I’d like to build in more margin for rest and play into my life.)

I can’t wait to hear your feedback on this exercise! When we give voice to this stuff, it crystalizes in our bones a bit more.  Let’s ease into 2018, listening, noticing, and responding to its inviting call to action.  If you’d like some extra light for the journey ahead, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Happy New Year!

Love & Gratitude,