Now that January is upon us, we will have countless images shoved under our nose to change our physical body and whole life (in about 30 days, so no pressure!!). We will be encouraged with ‘New Year, New You’ bullshit and led down a path of guilt and shame as we sign up for new gym membership or take the first step on the weighing scales. The weight loss/ diet industry makes BILLIONS each year (64 billion in the US alone in 2018) by marketing and selling products that we are led to believe we need to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. Advertisements and whole magazines will be dedicated to making you feel like you couldn’t possibly be happy, fulfilled or healthy if you’re not the size of the airbrushed models shown.
We know all about Photoshop and filters, but these headlines still trigger our insecurities and draw us in because that is what they are intending to do. Millions are spent creating campaigns and researching the psychology behind it all so don’t feel bad if you feel like you are being sucked back into a 30-day detox after the Christmas holidays. Our worth is not measured by the number on the scales or the measurement of our hips. Our health is not defined by what size our clothes are, I can range between 2-3 sizes in different shops. We are all made up of different shapes and sizes and often we strive for a body shape/ weight that is so far out of reach that we could spend a lifetime eating ‘clean’ and working out and still not achieve it. But rest assured there will be a continuous stream of new diets or exercises regimes to try. Diets don’t work, they are restrictive and obsessive and short lived. They only prove to cause fear, anxiety and control around our eating habits and reward this behaviour with cheat meals and binge eating.
That is not to say that you shouldn’t eat healthier or set an intention to get fitter or stronger. Making positive changes to our lives is a good thing. Growth should always be encouraged and supported in all areas of our lives. We are constantly changing, learning, growing, letting go and blooming once again. We live our lives in cycles as does nature and so as the winter cycle comes to an end, it makes sense that we would want to prepare for the spring. However, it is still winter, a time to nourish and heal, a time of introspection and reflection. A time where we can look back on the past year, take the lessons and blessings and carry them with us into the new year as we realign with our values, with what lights us up and fulfils us and with the desires for the next cycle to come.
Usually at New Year people make grand plans and resolutions because they feel they are lacking in some area of their life. They feel as if they ‘should’ be doing better. They feel as if they have failed to succeed or achieve something. They feel as if they need to reach a certain destination or goal to be happy, fulfilled, healthy or successful. They are told again and again by advertisements and media that who they are is not good enough. This conditional thinking and living encouraged by those who profit from our insecurities will actually be the rope that binds us to this way of living rather than set us free. When we make a call to action from a place of guilt, shame, lack we are acting because we think we ‘should’ and therefore we will spend our time constantly striving and never arriving at the place we so desperately seek.
This January instead of making a list of resolutions that evoke guilt, shame and resentment and low self-worth, I suggest taking a few weeks to reflect and realign with what you truly want to bring into this coming year. Let’s get the garden ready, clear the soil, get rid of the weeds and dead leaves, chose the seeds you want to grow, nourish, nurture them and tend to them daily and watch as they grow and bloom as the year unfolds. Remember the grass is greener, where you water it. We know when we tend to the garden that the seeds are growing, in the time they should, we don’t keep digging back up the soil to see if the seed is still there. Know that you are changing and growing in your own time too, trust and enjoy the process.
Here are some journal prompts to reflect and realign on in January, to help clear the garden and decide what flowers to plant. Writing this stuff down can bring huge insights and healing, give yourself the time to write it down.
- What are your proud moments/ achievements of the past year?
- What did you learn this year? What lessons learned were necessary for your growth?
- What lessons were particularly hard? Are they healed/healing/ in need of external support and if so, where can you get it?
- What are the highlights of the past year?
- What are you most grateful for this year? (read more on gratitude here)
- Who was your greatest support this year? Do you need more support going forward? What or who might that look like?
- What are you leaving behind and not bringing into the next year? What no longer serves you, your growth or your happiness? What do you want to let go of?
- Write a list of all that things that light you up, that make you deliriously happy, peaceful or content. Think about when you were younger and what you loved to do. Write everything down from the simple to the grand e.g. fresh bed sheets to travelling to faraway countries. Make time and space in your life for these this year.
- What feeling/ emotional state do you want to feel more of this coming year? Why? Sit with this for a few moments and really feel it in within your whole being. We want things and set goals because we think that once we achieve them, we will be happier, fulfilled. We forget that we can evoke these feelings and emotional states every day by being present and by doing more of the things that light us up. Instead of getting stuck in a cycle of set a goal, be unfulfilled and lacking in an area of our life until/ if/ when we achieve it, we can realign with the emotional state/feeling /value that is at the core of our action.
- What is your heart and soul calling out for? More….? If you weren’t afraid of anything, what would you love to do/see/feel/ be? If failing wasn’t an option, what would you love to do/see/feel /be? Sit with this one also and see what comes up for you, you may be surprised at what shows up, the most important thing is to listen and trust what you hear.
- Write down the baby steps you can take over the coming weeks/months/ year. This is a guide and may (most likely will) change as you move through the year. Don’t try to micromanage every step, stay aligned with what your heart and soul is truly calling out for and make small steps towards it.
Each year in our lives is like a snapshot of laughter and pain, growth and release, achievement and defeat. Some years are lighter than others, some we wish we could live again and again while others we can’t wait to say goodbye to. Whatever your past year felt like, know that a new year, with a whole set of chapters is awaiting you and you get to write and direct each one. You don’t need to achieve it all in the first month and you don’t need to spend lots of money to achieve it. You are perfectly worthy and whole as you are. All the answers you seek are within you and the guidance and support of friends, loved ones or professionals can be found. When we reconnect and realign with our heart and soul, the right people will suddenly appear to guide and support us on the next section of our journey.
I can’t wait to see how we bloom and grow this year!