The energies of Winter have naturally drawn us inward.Rest,recuperation and reflection seem to come easily. And after the shortest day of the year, we really feel the trek towards a new year has truly begun.We feel the pull towards the growth and vitality of spring. And so it is only natural that we begin to set intentions and ambitions for the next cycle of our lives.
Lets dig deeper this year. Lets get to know ourselves better, all the aspects of ourselves. Most NY Resolutions are too superficial, binary, too physical, too outwardly. Holistic fitness and health goals can help us go much deeper in self-development.As we evolve, we need to extend our ambitions beyond the physical self to encompass all the layers internal and external, tangible and spiritual, individual and collective of ourselves.
There is little value in stampeding forwards without looking back. So tune inwards and do a little reflection on your behaviour, your choices and your achievments (or lack of) over the last year.Do this without judgement or negativity. Its often useful to do this with a notepad, writing it all down during a peaceful,quiet time.
- What have you been proud of? When you look back, notice how you FEEL when you think about the events of the year. Feel in your heart. Take a moment to be grateful.
- Out of everything that has happened, what holds the most value? What is most meaningful to you? This will give you a sense of what is most important to you and help you set goals with purpose.
- What have been your challenges or barriers? Acknowledge them kindly. They have been there as part of your human journey. If you live consciously you can use them to learn the lessons they bring and so can help you grow and develop…if you are aware and honest about them. We are where we are because of the choices we make on a daily basis…the little things…and that leads to us succeeding or failing.Looking back in quiet contemplation and avoiding the trap of victimhood, its easy to see the patterns we allow ourselves to be sucked into that seem insurmountble when we are actually living them out.List them and think of ways to overcome them if you feel there is value in doing so. Choose the person you want to be. And start making the changes to make that quantum shift.
- What kind of person were you? And what kind of person do you want to be? Are there any aspects you need to change to bring these two into alignment? I like to ask a question…it my seem morbid but its perfectly reasonable..”How would you like people to remember you after your death…what would you like folk to say about you at your funeral?” Meditating upon your mortality is an extremeley valuable activity. There’s not much else that puts everything into perpective quicker than that! Think of words that you would like people to say. For me its things like: inspiring,loving,compassionate, giving, knowledgeable etc. And so for me, these must form the basis of my resolutions.
- Looking forward into the year ahead,a daily meditation practice is a must for 21st century living. Our ancestors were far superior than us at being in tune with our fundamental needs as human beings.They understood the need to remain grounded in our human experience yet still be able to connect to the collective consciousness and to the Divine. Your meditation can be done lying, sitting on a chair, cross-legged on the floor, an introspective walk in nature, using movement of QiGong or Yoga. You can even do mini-meditations…in the car while waiting for kids, before setting off on your commute home from work, on the train, in the bus, in a queue…Meditation can be just the act of pulling yourself to the present moment and breathing consciously and if you can just tapping into your heartspace.
A healthy mind and body is a must for any kind of development and progress. And of course, losing weight, giving up junk food and getting fit are amongst the most common resolutions.To improve ourselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually we must take our bodies on the journey with us, to put it into the best physiological condition we can. When the bodies needs are met, we feel EASE in our physical self and we can then meet the needs of all aspects of our deeper selves more easily.
Think about practices that can be implemented on different levels, so
- A gentle daily practice to keep supple and mobile. Easy, not goal-orientated, requiring little time or motivation, eg a 2 minute mobilty routine first thing in the morning, or little movement intervals throughout the day, regular fidgeting, pcing, ahking and shimmying!
- A more intense practice less often, maybe 2 or 3 times a week. Lifting some weights, a run, a cycle ride, an exercise class. Try and ensure you get strength work (resistance/weights) in no matter what age, sex or condition you are in! Work safely to your own pace and level.
- An activity that gives you joy and pleasure: zumba, a dance around the kitchen, playing with the kids, a weekend hike out in the hills etc.
- An activity involving nature- immersion. I can’t overstate how crucial this is for mental and physical health. Get outdoors! If you live in concrete jungle with no access to a park, just get out and look up at the sky Nature is grounding and no matter how healthy we think we are, we all need to be more grounded to thrive in this artificially created,physically destructive, mentally toxic environment we live in.
- A mind-body-breath based practice. Any practice that slows you down, allows you to focus inward and brings attention to your breath.Yoga,TaiChi, Martial arts, Meditation, Gentle stretching, walking in nature etc are all examples. These types of exercises raise our conciousness and help us tap deeply into our spirituality…a bit of spiritual fitness!
- With respect to diet and food…well, think about nourishing your body. The body requires periods of fasting and feasting. It needs rest from eating all day long, so time-restricted eating is a very beneficial practice whatever diet you choose. And whatever you do choose, the diet that takes you away from processed foods and the food industry and back towards nature will be the healthiest!
Once you have thought deeply about these things it becomes easier to set meaningful resolutions or goals.
Then set your intention and just be consistent.Be mindful that the path ahead will not be smooth. Neither is it meant to be. Each rollercoaster loop,each challenge, each barrier presented is just sent to make us grow further, to develop stronger and to be better people. And seek guidance, ask for help, use experts, read books, google…do whatever it takes to help yourself along the way. Those of us who are going through difficulties presently or have experienced past trauma, or Adverse Childhood Experiences will know all too well how triggers can occur out of the blue to completely derail our progress. Thats ok. Be extra kind to yourself, show yourself the compassion you would give another human being,learn to love yourself and give yourself space and time to deal with whatever has come up to deal with. Keep your intentions in mind and refocus, pick yourself up and start again.
Change your mindset to look upon your fitness/health practice as an immensely nourishing and vital part of your day which allows you to be the best you can be…a compassionate mother/father/child, a productive employee, a giving citizen, a loyal friend and so on. Taker it wider and deeper than just the selfish pursuit of a body type or a look or a performance goal.
We are so blessed to be given opportunites to become better human beings. And looking into 2020, this new decade, I feel we are changing and realising the old ways of living are no longer working. Its time to open our hearts, come together and change our worlds individually, locally and hopefully globally
Here’s to the spreading of peace and love in 2020!
Please let me know if you found this helpful…or share your own experiences too.