The curtain of 2016 has fallen and into 2017 we go! How we wound up the events and relationships cultivated in 2016, may herald or shape how our 2017 will become. That one short sentence holds a tall order and much power! It is up to each of us to take the steps and consider options for creating and transitioning into the new year.
There are no definitive rules to define how and when to take on life reviews. January 1st is not a deadline, but rather another starting point to determine what you want to do and the direction you want your life to go in. Talking with friends and family, as well as getting involved with some similar interest groups may provide the motivation and inspiration you need to move forward.
Here are ideas to help you jump start some personal work.
Review and Reflect, Then Renew – Find some time, whether it’s a few hours or even days, where you are alone and without distractions (no TV, no Facebook). Ideally you will have no impending appointments or obligations. Use this time to review last year’s journals, business plans, financial decisions (easy to do with bank statements and ledgers), medical files and other relevant files. Go through the file folders in your desk (or computer) and create “to-do” piles. You may choose to organize or completely throw out unnecessary paperwork and clutter. You might begin a list of things to complete. As you review your year, identify common themes or habits that pop up during the audit. Analyze those challenges, losses and triumphs. It is up to you to choose how to use these personal revelations as feedback to change or reaffirm the direction in which you are headed. Naturally we will continue to feed our desires and successes, the things that make us feel good and productive. We may also discover a need to change our behaviors or take precautions towards possible events which have hurt us or held us back from our successes in the past year. This will not be an easy feat! A self-review is time consuming but it’s necessary to move forward and improve how we approach our lives. As you work through this process, you will have analyzed and discovered useful information and insight to help guide you towards creating short and long term plans, goals, and intentions.
After reviewing the hard data, take time to look around your living space. Reflect on your living areas; the rooms in your home, your car, other places you spend lots of time (buses, work spaces or restaurants). Think about what serves you in these areas? What about these spaces makes you happy, productive, etc.? What environments can you let go of? What within the environment is broken and can be removed to create space in the room and mind? What, right at this moment, can immediately go to the Goodwill or exchange piles, recycling or trash? Which transportation routine might you benefit from changing? You can start a list for imperative items that require repair, replace and deep cleaning. You may find that in this process, another list of things you need may evolve. Consider things that will enhance, warm up and create an inviting space.
As you go deeper into your life review, memories of cherished events or creative pursuits may come up. You may feel inclined to re-immerse yourself in a loved hobby, people or adventures which may have temporarily escaped from your current daily life. Embrace this ability to revisit the old at a current time.
To ensure that you follow through with your intentions and goals, I suggest you list actionable steps towards one or more goals. Make the steps realistic. For example, if your goal is to eliminate eating dairy products (popular at times), don’t start out intending to not eat any cheese again ever. How about cleaning out your refrigerator of cheeses leftover the first week? Then determine and purchase for the next week half the amount of cheese you usually consume and try a 50% reduction phase. You may find that you get hungrier because you had depended on cheese for energy or fuel. In order to keep the plan on track, replace the nutrients you would have consumed in dairy products in other products such as nuts, crackers, boiled eggs and any other sources for energy. It might take a few weeks before you decide to reduce this quantity a bit more. Take it slowly! There’s no need to rush.
Work on approaching your goals one at a time so that you can focus clearly on the intentions of each goal. Multi-tasking can be distracting and cause us to re-clutter our lives. After getting Goal A’s routine in place, it’s time to add the next step. Are you ready to add the first step for Goal B? If Goal B was to write in your journal more often you might begin a habit of writing on certain days. My advice and suggestion is to set the goals with reasonable steps and within a timeline to institute the steps. As you give yourself more time to develop these regular life review processes, the ability to change will lead to a better outcome for success.
Take a completely different approach is simply making an ongoing list of “I choose” statements. This will help you with making decisions in your life. For example: “I choose vegetables in each meal;” “I choose friends over TV;” “I choose extra walks around the block rather than watching the news more than 15 minutes.” By defining positive “I choose” statements you have affirmed for yourself actions you prefer and are willing to choose when you have options or free time. Some people post these on their mirrors or refrigerators so that they are reminded daily of the choices they have made or are choosing to make.
Another fun way to look at your life is to write a list or poem of “I am” statements. Include roles you hold, secret identities, adjectives which describe your morals or ethics and body descriptions as well. Personal descriptions can include movements, types of thoughts, feelings as well as physical and mental abilities such as “I am strong,” or “I am a wild spirit.” Create these statements, repeat them daily and watch them manifest in your life! Sounds silly but if you don’t own it, it won’t happen!
2017 has opened with much hope and anticipation for this new year. Newsletters announce new programs and workshops to sign up for. Taxes area just around the corner. New job opportunities will emerge this spring after the winter softens. Buds will come up as the days return to the Pacific Northwest. Your emergence into spring will be confident with the new plans and goals that you have created for yourself.
However you choose to use the new information and the choices you make to shape your upcoming year is totally up to you! Remember that this is a process you can use to help you plan to move forward. Resolutions work for some, while others feel they can be too rigid and all-encompassing, thus an automatic failure. Intentions sound good, but in many cases they remain as intentions without a supporting action plan. I suggest making goals with steps toward achieving each goals. This means breaking each goal into a series of steps.
I would love to hear your opinions about these ideas and if any transformed your thoughts and wants into successful actions. Please contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org or through the comments below.
Happy new year and Namaste!
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