A New Year and a New You!
If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am. ~Cyril Cusack
It’s that time again! Time to box up the decorations, put away your party clothes and get serious. New Years Day signaled an end to the excess of the holidays and a fresh start to a brand new year. Before you break out your journal and start setting goals and writing lists, think for a moment – what’s the secret to making your New Year’s resolutions stick?
Take your time, and set goals based on who you are, not the person your mother or father or significant other think you should be. Don’t take other people’s standards as a mandate that you need to change. Does a picture in a magazine or a critical comment from a friend make you feel like you have to whip yourself, home, or career, into shape? Before you start jotting down “to-dos”, spend some time contemplating what you really want, and get in touch with your own feelings. You make the rules, and there’s no rule that says New Year’s resolutions have to be nailed down in the first week of January. The best way to make sure your resolutions will stick around is to set goals that are appealing and meaningful for you.
Think out of the box when it comes to health and fitness. Getting in shape, eating healthy and losing weight are popular resolutions that tend to show up on the same lists year after year. If your healthy intentions routinely go awry, shake things up a little this year. Instead of counting calories, set a goal to eat more veggies and swap out coffee and soft drinks for herbal tea and cool water. If the gym doesn’t inspire you, go for walks or snow-shoeing. Take baby steps, and have fun along the way!
Schedule time for fun. New Years resolutions don’t have to be hard work. Here’s an easy one – resolve to spend more time doing things that bring you happiness and fulfillment. Exactly what that means is different for everyone. For me it’s spending time in nature, meditating, going to movies with my husband, and swimming. For you it might be discussing a good book with a friend, taking your dog to the park, or taking a long walk on the beach. Think about what activities bring you joy and make it a priority to schedule them into your day.
Get help if you need it. While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, smoking or engaging in other addictive behavior, many are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change on their own. If you plan to kick a destructive habit, know that there is a world of help and support available. If you’re ready to make a change, enlist the help of a friend, counselor, and/or support group, and take time to heal the unprocessed emotions that might be contributing to your addiction.
Can’t think of a resolution? Try my old standbys. As a spiritual teacher, I encourage journaling and meditating – they can absolutely change your life. Choking down and suppressing your emotions is all too common in our society, but to be truly healthy and happy you have to acknowledge your feelings and live in truth. Journal writing can help you to do that. If that sounds appealing to you, it’s simple to start. Resolve to write in your journal every day, use a notebook or computer – whatever you like, but most important, be honest! It’s time to honor your feelings and your journal is the place to do it. Don’t hold anything back! Meditation is another way to tap into your feelings – a daily practice of 20 minutes can be an amazing gift you give yourself. Meditation will help you manage stress, heal your body and your psyche, and find your true path in life. In every one of my healing courses, I teach my students about the power of journaling and meditation – I urge you to try them!
As you look forward to starting the New Year and progressing along on your journey of spiritual growth, I urge you to start from a place of unconditional love, and be sure to include yourself. Shine your light on you and the people around you, and give yourself the gift of self-love and acceptance!