The notion of beginning afresh is liberating. With each new year, we are offered the opportunity to wipe away the mistakes of the previous year, to celebrate the successes and to reconsider our desires for the near future. With the new year starting just as Winter really hits its stride, the timing is perfect to gift yourself some proper time out to fully reflect on where you are and what you want.
The process of writing resolutions is a great incentive to dig deep. At Harmonizing, we advise a heart-centred approach – looking at how you crave to feel, rather than what you hope to achieve. And the first step in the resolution process is to step back and take stock, with a life inventory exercise. If you want to set some truly meaningful intentions for the year to come, you’ll need to begin by looking backwards.
your harmonizing life inventory for the new year
If you want to make 2020 the year where you finally create realistic resolutions that will stick, your first step is fully absorbing the year just gone by. Recognise the gifts you’ve been given, the healing you’ve experienced, the challenges you’ve struggled through and the progress you’ve made. Doing this will allow you to move forward with eyes wide open to the possibilities ahead, and a renewed clarity in where you’d like to go.
step one – celebrate your successes
This inventory process encourages you to reflect back on your year as a whole, to allow you to embrace and then release it, to leave you fired up and free to focus on moving forwards. Let’s start with the positives – make a list of all the forward steps you’ve taken throughout the year. This should include any significant turning points, as well as new relationships (romantic, working or personal) which have had a welcome and positive impact. Take a moment to linger on each, and allow yourself to feel grateful and deserving of each in turn.
step two – learning from your mistakes
The next step is to list any experiences which have affected you negatively. This might feel uncomfortable, but it is important to acknowledge anything which might still be weighing upon you in order to unburden yourself. Once you have this list, go back through the items and search for something positive which you can take from each – it might be a lesson on what to avoid, an adjustment in mindset or something positive that followed, which wouldn’t have otherwise. Write this list on a separate piece of paper. Turning your most painful experiences on their head can help you to release remaining tension, and identify what might be healthier to avoid going forward. Now throw away the first list and hold on to the second – really feel the sense of release as you leave the negatives firmly in the past, and hold onto only the positive lessons gained as you move forward into 2020.
step three – identify and let go of negative and unproductive influences
In this Winter season we witness the circle of life most clearly, with the trees and flowerbeds lying barren amongst the frost. Yet it is only through the death of these plants that new life is able to blossom come Spring. In this context, death is not only healthy, but necessary to future growth – and it is with this in mind that you should begin your personal reflections.
Are there any elements in your life which you think might be healthier to let go of? Consider relationships which may no longer have a positive influence on you, or maybe behaviours or habits of your own which may be holding you back. Work out which of these you would like to work on, and which you might need to release from your life. By allowing yourself to recognise and release these toxic elements from your life, you’ll feel instantly lighter and will have freed up precious energy to focus on moving forward into positive experiences.
Some further questions to consider:
- What does 2019 immediately make you think of? What dreams came true?
- What lessons did you learn?
- What did you learn about yourself, and what was this because of?
- What happened this year that transformed you?
- What things that were difficult to go through did you learn a lot from?
- What things did you let go of?
- What are you happy because of? What was the most incredible thing you discovered about yourself?
- What did 2020 lead you to?
- What are you proud of yourself for?
- What were the areas which felt out of whack, and what could be done to change them?
With your life inventory now complete, you’ll be ready to begin your resolution process for the new year. At Harmonizing, we believe that by making some crucial mindset adjustments and changing the agenda of your goal setting, you will find it easier to follow through on what you set yourself. Our aim in all that we do is to help guide you into a sense of inner well-being, and so we have set up a couple of exercises to place this at the forefront of your resolution process.
identify your core desires – focus on how you CRAVE to FEEL
One of the most instinctive mistakes made when setting ourselves goals is the way in which we structure them. When thinking through your resolutions this year, begin by focusing on the way you want to feel, as opposed to specific tasks you want to achieve. If you work in alignment with what you truly feel – and give yourself what you really need – your stress will diminish, your balance will return and your joy and productivity will increase. Therefore, working towards the simple goal of putting your own needs first is the most effective way of thriving; by concentrating on how you most wish to feel, everything else will naturally fall into place.
Take some space to think about those things you would like to achieve, and then consider WHY you want to achieve them. Visualise the feelings you want to attain through this achievement. Question your true motives for wanting to achieve each goal – if you discover it is mainly to prove something to other people, or because you feel it is expected of you as opposed to something you truly DESIRE to do, then it is time to either discard or reconsider. View each goal in terms of how it can help you to achieve the feelings you most want to feel. We’ll help you to work this out below:
Choose five words which you most wish to feel and experience each day. Once you have chosen these five aspirational feelings, break down your life into separate areas – such as work, relationships and personal wellbeing – and think of gentle changes you could make in each, in order to experience these feelings every day. Try to think of what sort of things you could do every day to introduce these feelings into your life. You can generate any feeling for yourself with willingness and commitment.
Review your chosen words every twelve weeks, and change them if necessary. This ensures you remain in sync with your true feelings as they develop and change – and retains motivation, so that you don’t become immune.
scale down your goals – bring the larger ambitions to YOU
Another common error we make is that we tend to start out over-ambitious. By setting ourselves up with goals that are too large they will seem overwhelming, and therefore unachievable. Instead, try breaking each ambition down into more manageable chunks – treating each little step as if it is the overall goal in itself, while letting go of the bigger picture. We also tend to lack clarity on our true motivations behind setting ourselves goals; and so to ensure you are aiming for things you truly want, for the right reasons, begin this exercise by asking yourself these questions:
- What do you most want to experience 2020 as?
- What do you want to feel this year?
- What experiences would you like to release?
- What would you like to give yourself the gift of?
- What do you promise yourself you will do?
- 2020 will be the year that…
Separate out the areas of your life you want to make resolutions in, such as your creative life and your career, and list out as many goals and desires concerning each as you can think of. Do this quickly and freely, without overthinking. Then look back over these and identify one over-riding, more major goal, and break this down into lots of little things you can do to help work towards this; such as events or workshops you could attend, or people you would like to meet and connect with. View each of these little things as individual goals, and concentrate on these separately moving forward – rather than aiming solely for the end point.
Remember – as before, choose only to focus on those goals and ideas which will help you to generate your desired key feelings.
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