As one year ends and another begins we naturally start to reflect on the year that is drawing to a close. Whatever theme may have run through your life for the past 12 months we can all undoubtedly find elements to cherish that we wish to hold onto. Moments of calm and serenity, of hectic festivities, reconnecting with old friends, deepening relationships with family, glimpsing that perfect sunrise on the commute to work or hearing a Loon's call echo across a lake on a warm summer's night. Despite being able to identify these moments of wonder and joy our focus slowly and predictively shifts and we start to ruminate on the things we didn't achieve in the past year. The coffee dates we didn't keep, the marathons we didn't run, the weight we didn't lose, the promotion we never attained and the mountains we didn't climb. All too readily we assume blame for the things we haven't accomplished, while at the same time we shy away from taking pride in that which we made happen.
We have a tendency to berate ourselves for the promises that were made and not kept, those resolutions we announced into the wind as we sat on this same calendar ridge 12 months ago ... Maybe the issue is not that we failed in the goals we set for ourselves but that we simply set the wrong goals.
We measure ourselves against airbrushed celebrities, and the seemingly herculean successes of others. We judge our lives on our friends' filtered snapshots from social media, adding our own subtext to the images of everyone else 'living their best life'. We formulate goals based on what we think we should want for ourselves. We spend so much time looking outwards at what everyone else appears to be achieving that we slowly begin to lose sight of who we are as individuals. When we stop looking in the mirror we stop recognising who we are.
2019 will inevitably bring about change for eveyone of us, as we travel through the next 365 day rotation around the sun every encounter and experience that we have will reshape us slighty. We will laugh and cry, we will feel pleasure and pain, we will be disappointed and thrilled, we will love and grieve. Being mindful of these experiences and the impact that they have on us is perhaps the best, and only, resolution we should even consider. Let's bypass the tired and banal cliche of 'new year, new you'. We should discard the shackles of expectation that we will be a different person at 12:01 on Jan 1st than we were at 11:59 on Dec 31st and actually just begin to experience our own lives. Showing up and being present for the experiences we encounter can help us to recognise the impact that our experiences have on us. We can slowly start to recognise patterns of behaviour and the emotions attached to the consequences of what we do. That's the moment where real change occurs, where we begin to shape our world based on who and what we are and not who and what we think we ought to be. I already know that I will hit snooze if I set my alarm for 5am with the intention of making it to the gym before work. I also know that I will feel awful all day when that happens. I can ignore the reality that I'm simply not a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed early riser and create a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. I can also set my alarm for 6.30 and do a workout routine at home or take a walk before breakfast. A routine set by you for you is much more likely to garner positive results.
So while we are all focussed on 'Out with the old and in with the new' let's cut loose the tradition of setting ourselves up for failure by trying to be someone that we are not and start working towards becoming more in tune with our actions and emotions so we can begin to embrace the opportunities and challenges that we will encounter as we show up to our own lives.
Let's resolve to simply get to know ourselves a little better, to let go of the ideology of perfection and measure our acheivements against our own progress. Moving forwards is moving in the right direction regardless of the pace or the distance covered. "New year, new you" creates a feeling of failure from the start, as if being yourself isn't enough ... Let's get in touch with who we really are, explore our strengths and weaknesses and get comfortable with our entire being ... New year, same old me, just a little happier, kinder and more relaxed.