As you settle more comfortably into the notion that Winter is offering you the gift of rest, retreat and recharge, you can begin to see what a great opportunity this period can be for taking stock of your life; for evaluating lessons learned over the last year, and considering changes you might like to make as you approach the new year. We have established that the notion of death in the context of Winter is a positive occurrence, and so it will be particularly appropriate to focus on any parts of your life – maybe your own behaviours and habits, or external influences at work or through relationships – which may have reached a natural death, and which you should therefore release to use as compost material in the life, death, rebirth cycle. By discerning which changes need to be made, you will feel instantly lighter and free up energy that can be used instead to nurture new motivations and resources for the future.
Taking stock of where you are in this way is always a positive ritual – as it allows you to tune in more clearly to how you truly feel, and identify negative and unproductive influences – but we would like you to turn this Winter life inventory into a proper celebration. Reflect back on the year as a whole in depth, in order to both celebrate, and release it fully. Begin by listing all the forward steps you have taken – including any significant turning points, or new relationships (romantic, working or personal) which you have welcomed. Celebrate these, and allow yourself the chance to feel grateful, blessed and deserved of each – you have earned this celebration, and you should allow yourself the due credit.
Move on next to any lessons you have learned, or experiences you would like to move on from – but don’t allow yourself to become weighed down by the negatives of any of these situations. Even if it feels on the surface like this hasn’t been a great year for you, turn those negative occurrences on their heads by searching instead for the positives you can take from even the most painful of situations. By taking lessons from negative experiences, you can ascertain what type of things are healthier to avoid going forward – and you can release any tension which may still be built up from them. Really feel the sense of release as you put them firmly in the past, taking forward only the positive lessons gleaned from them as you move into 2018.
After completing this life inventory, you will be perfectly placed to turn your focus to making some resolutions for the new year. We have set up a series of exercises for you to do this most successfully – by invoking the Harmonizing philosophies and approaching the exercises with a different mindset, and a different goal setting agenda than the traditional approach. We strongly believe that in order to achieve things on a wider scale, you have to first find your own inner sense of alignment and happiness – as it is only through finding this balance, identifying your true needs and recognising what your intuition is telling you that these other goals will begin to fall into place.
This Season’s Ritual: Re-design your Resolutions
Often when we set ourselves New Year resolutions, we wind up feeling bad when we don’t follow them through. At Harmonizing, we believe that by making some crucial mindset adjustments and changing the agenda of your goal setting, you can begin to place yourself in a prime position to follow through on your resolutions for the year to come with a greater sense of accomplishment. Our aim in all that we teach is to help guide you into a sense of inner well-being. The following exercises are structures to place this at the forefront of your resolution process.
• Identify your core desires, and focus on how you CRAVE to FEEL (rather than what you hope to ACHIEVE)
One of the most instinctive mistakes we often make when setting ourselves goals is the way in which we structure them – begin this exercise by focusing on the way you want to feel, as opposed to on specific tasks you want to achieve. Take any specific tasks you want to aim for and, rather than concentrating on the steps you need to take to bring them to fruition, visualise the feelings you want to attain through achieving them – and instead strive to achieve those feelings. Question your true motives for wanting to achieve these goals in the first place – and if it is simply to prove something to other people, or because you feel it is something you SHOULD do, rather than something you TRULY want to do, then re-consider the goal in terms of how IT can HELP YOU to achieve the feelings you identified as mattering most to you.
If we work in alignment with what we truly feel, and give ourselves what we really need, our stress will diminish, our balance will return and our joy and productivity will increase. Therefore, working towards the simple goal of putting our own needs first is the most effective way of thriving; by concentrating on how we most wish to feel, everything else will natural fall into place.
And so, Step One in this exercise is identifying how you most crave to feel. 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 well-being – 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.
Step Two is reviewing your chosen words every twelve weeks, and changing 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 blasé.
• Scale down your goals to focus instead on all the little tasks and activities which are more immediately achievable; your potential will enrich naturally and bring the larger ambitions to YOU.
Another common error we make, which contributes to losing the motivation to see our resolutions through, 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. However, if we break these down into more manageable chunks – and treat each little step as if it is the overall goal in itself, without losing any anxiety over the bigger picture – we are more likely to persevere. We also tend to lack clarity on our true motivations behind setting ourselves goals; and so to ensure we are aiming for things we truly want, for the right reasons, begin this exercise by asking yourself these questions:
What do you most want to experience 2018 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? 2018 will be the year that…
Step two: 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 little goals and desires concerning each as you can think of; do this quickly and freely. Then from these, also identify one over-riding, more major goal, and break that 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 these little things as individual goals, and concentrate on each of these separately moving forward – rather than aiming solely for the end point. And, as always, only choose to keep those goals and ideas which will help you to generate your desired key feelings.
• Set the future to one side for a while, and concentrate instead on reflecting fully on the year just gone.
The last mistake we make is focusing solely on the NEW elements we are striving for; setting up new dreams without first taking proper stock of, and coming to terms with, all that has happened in the days and months leading up to the point of identifying this desire.
In order to set realistic goals for the year ahead, we must first decipher what matters most to us going forward, and whether these goals we first think of are actually the right things for us to aim for. We will also be far more productive and insightful if we allow ourselves to fully absorb the year just gone past; recognising the gifts we have been given, the healing we have experienced, the challenges we have struggled through and the progress we have made. Only through doing this can we move forward with our eyes wide open to the possibilities ahead, and find clarity in where exactly we should be aiming next.
To do this, work your way through this series of questions and exercises:
• What does 2017 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 2017 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?
Write out a rant about all the emotions and tensions you struggled with throughout the year – and then destroy it, and release them into the past.
Round off the exercise by making a list of all the things, both big and small, that you are grateful for; and finish on an optimistic note!
This article has been taken from our free digital magazine, Harmonizing Life. To receive a full copy of the magazine direct to your inbox, click HERE.
Articles for the current issue include : Self-Care Rituals • Nesting Tips •3 Time to Take a Life Inventory • Redesign your Resolution process – How to Align your Mind, Body and Soul • Winter Playlist • Yoga as an Antidote to the Chaos of Contemporary Life • Interviews with our Life Coaches •