29 Dec Happy New Year!
It’s that time of year where many of us set new intentions, goals and resolutions.
We get to reset the odometer back to zero. We get to start again. Wipe the slate clean. Start fresh.
Here we go! But before we do, it’s helpful to know where we’re starting from.
As last year came to a close, you may have reflected on the year behind you
I, personally do this every December. I look at my life from a distance, with a wide angle lens rather than from the zoom lens, where I normally live my moment-to-moment, day-to-day life.
I like to think that my day-to-day living is like zooming in telescopically with my camera lens on one petal of a beautiful flower. Here, I see all the details, the nuances, the intricacies of one petal of one flower. I get to know it intimately.
My yearly review is like stepping far away from that one beautiful flower, changing the lens to get a wide angle shot of the entire garden. Here I can see the abundance of flowers, colours and varieties on a much larger scale. I can barely even notice that one petal that I was so focused on earlier.
The wide landscape shot gives me a totally different appreciation of my surroundings. I see the beauty of everything around me, how it all fits together in perfect harmony, even though it may not look like that from the middle of the garden when I’m entrenched in one little flower petal.
When I step away and see things with my wide angle perspective, I am reminded of how perfect things really are. Sometimes I’m just too narrowly focused to appreciate what is around me.
If reviewing your year is not a common practice for you, if could be helpful to take a couple of minutes to highlight some memorable things from your past year.
- They could be big things, moments, trips, lessons, heart breaks, sadness, opportunities, accomplishments, personal growth experiences, funny times, books you read, people you’ve met, whatever comes to your mind.
- You may find that once you start making a list, you’ll get on a roll and that your memories come pouring in.
I personally do this in a journal every year so that I can go back, reflect and compare it to what I intended to do at the beginning of the year. It also allows me to see how far I’ve come and all of the unplanned side trips that I’ve taken to get to where I am now.
Which leads to my next annual practice…
Setting intentions for the coming year
When we flip our calendars from one year to the next, it seems like a natural time to set new intentions, goals and dreams into motion.
We tend to want to recommit to what we’d like to change about ourselves or our lives. Maybe some of us even write down the same aspiration from the previous year (or years) that we quite haven’t got around to changing yet.
I know this drill all too well. I can’t tell you how many times where I’ve seen the same big old goal written down at the beginning of the year to find it in the journal of the next year and the year after that, then after that.
If you find yourself in this pattern and you want to change something big in your life, I can tell you from personal and professional experience, that you must start with ONE step. One small step until it becomes emeshed in you, into your daily routine until it’s a habit.
Please don’t expect to change your entire landscape picture overnight, or in one month, maybe even in six months or even this year (depending on how big your goal is). It takes time to change the colour of each petal of every flower so that you end up with an entirely different picture.
If you’re looking to make a drastic change to your landscape, it can seem like an overwhelming task. But it can be done, it just takes time and repetitive daily actions. You start with one small step and keep repeating that step over and over again. Just as if you were repainting one petal on one flower at a time. If you keep repainting one petal every day, you’ll soon have an entirely new picture.
Unfortunately that’s why so many resolutions are forgotten or abandoned. It seems way too hard to change everything overnight and live your life differently starting the next day.
If you wake up on New Year’s Day and think;
Today is the first day of another year and I vow to do things completely differently this year
I think you’d be setting yourself up for disappointment. Changing everything overnight is a lofty expectation for anyone!
Lasting changes are a result of creating new habits. Habits are formed by repetitively doing the same thing day after day
I’ve spent the last few years helping people make BIG changes in their lives. I can tell you that while these big changes were happening the steps that were being taken were not huge strides. In fact they may not have been noticeable at all. That is, until you could see the accumulative effects of repeating the same small steps over time.
That does not mean, drastic change is not possible. It is! I see it happen every day. The trouble is that when change is happening, you barely even notice it.
That’s the thing with taking small steps toward change. The steps you take in the beginning feel as if you’re not going anywhere, that nothing is happening, nothing is changing. But it is. Slowly. And one day you notice that you’re miles away from where you started.
These small steps may seem so insignificant that they’d be pretty easy to skip. Like no one would even notice if you didn’t take them. In fact, no one would likely notice if you didn’t do them at all.
That’s the beauty and the downfall of taking small steps. They’re so easy to do and just as easy NOT to do.
It seems pretty easy to skip drinking 2 litres of water today because I’ve been busy, I’ve been on the run all day or I’ve been travelling, or I’m __________ (fill in the blank with any excuse). But it’s also pretty easy to drink 8 cups of water every day if that is the only thing you have to concentrate on.
Then suddenly, it’s a habit and you don’t even have to think about it any more. Now you have more energy, your skin glows, you look younger, your digestion has improved, you’ve regulated your body weight, your joints are limber and you didn’t even notice the change. All because it happened so gradually.
If you need guidance or help changing whatever it is that you keep promising yourself but have yet to do, I’m here to help you. I have some great “change” tools that I know work. I’d be happy to share them with you.
I have to tell you that taking small steps to make big changes may not be sexy or glamorous, but they will get you there.
Being your coach, I’ll help you be accountable to yourself and to your aspirations. And to finally crossing that long standing goal off of your list.
If you’d rather take the DIY route and start making changes gradually yourself, I’d highly recommend reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. It’s a great place to start to make lasting changes in your life.
While I don’t believe there are any shortcuts, if you’d rather skip reading the book or hiring a coach and make changes yourself, it could be helpful to start by making a list in each area of your life with your long term plans (health, happiness, relationships, career, personal development, finances, making a lasting impact, etc.). Then break the list down into one actionable step from each area of your life that you can do on a daily basis to help get you to your goal.
Wishing you happiness & health as you paint your new landscape in 2016,
P.S. You can arrange a consultation with me from anywhere (by phone or Skype) and Book your appointment HERE.
P.P.S. I’d love to hear what you’re goals are for this coming year and how you ensure that you stay focused on them.