First let me say that I love the ritual associated with the New Year, the one of reflecting and goal setting. I love planning. However after years of planning, and very little action, I've come to associate New Year's resolutions with failure and doom. I admit to feeling ashamed about these past failures and have come to question my ability to follow through with them. Hence these past few years I've come to avoid this ritual.
I really dislike allowing fear to dictate my actions. So I'm going to give it another go. This time I'm focusing on weeks and months rather than a year. That way it's much easier for me to stay cognizant of what I want and what I need.
Kimberly Wilson is a gal who inspires people, me included. I went back to her December 2005 podcast to find that inspiration as I consider my life's next steps. She advocates starting with reflection, then creating intention and following up with action.
Beginning with reflection, Kimberly asks that we consider these questions. I've included some of my answers to these questions.
1. Courage, facing life issues that frightened me. The outcomes didn't always resolve as I would have liked,but I learned that the fear alone sucks up an incredible amount of energy. 2. Relaxing in the knowledge of what I can change and what I cannot.
What didn’t work?
1. Sporadic exercise. 2. Unlimited sweets. 3. Little time to myself (no vacation, trying to accommodate others' needs at the expense of my own). 4. Eating out frequently. 5. Eating mostly on pre-packaged foods when cooking at home. 6. Having the tv on frequently (ok, daily, even after canceling cable I've used dvds regularly just to have something one even though I may not be paying attention). 7. Procrastinating on household chores and work assignments.
What lessons did you learn?
1. What others think of me isn't nearly so important as what I think of myself. 2. Others don't think about me much. In fact, people generally think mostly of themselves. 3. Cooking whole foods at home is essential to my health. 4. I am addicted to refined sugar. If I don't control it; it controls me. 5. If I allow myself to backslide into old habits (e.g., sedentary lifestyle, not cooking, lack of balanced diet), I gain weight. 6. The physical sensation of hunger does not always indicate a hunger for food. It can also indicate a hunger for relaxation, stress release, rest, fulfillment, fun, etc. For those of us who have used eating as a coping mechanism, it can be quite easy to confuse the signals our body is sending. When you feel that pang, ask yourself what you are truly hungry for. The answer might surprise you. 7. I need to use a budget and check in with it on a weekly basis to meet my financial goals. 8. I need to keep updated to-do lists if I have any hope of accomplishing my goals at work, and perhaps even at home and my personal needs. 9. Feeling sorry for myself affords me absolutely no benefit. It neither moves me forward nor does it give me any solace. 10. My life is really quite full and enjoyable just as it is. I am enough, just as I am.
Kimberly further suggests asking yourself these questions.
How will you operate differently? Who were the key players in your life? Will this change? Do you want this to change? What did you hope to do but didn’t or didn’t have the resources to do? What would you like to do differently?
What have your reflections taught you about yourself?
Once you've finished reflecting, it's time to set intentions. More on that to come.