Do you always set goals as new year’s resolutions – like giving up smoking, exercising more and being a nicer person?! Do you ever consider where you have been and what has worked and hasn’t worked when you set these goals? To borrow a quote from Terry Pratchett: “If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.” Terry Pratchett likes to use a bit of dark humour. To be fair… it’s not that you’re necessarily going wrong but it’s very possible that you’re likely to make much more well-informed and powerful intentions if you consider where you’ve been and where you are first.
In my last post I talked about reviewing your year as a way to celebrate the fruits from the seeds of your intentions and desires planted during the year. That was full moon.
New Moon was on the 26th Dec but we are still in the first week of the lunar cycle and the new moon phase. The new moon phase of a new year (and a new decade!) is a very auspicious time to plant seeds/set intentions for what you wish to see come into being in 2020. However, to become clear on these seeds it can be really useful to look backwards before moving forwards. Here’s why:
1) You can notice what worked and therefore focus on more of that
2) You can see why things worked and put more of that into action
3) You can notice what didn’t work and choose to have less of that
4) You can notice what didn’t work, why it didn’t work and then make changes
5) You can notice what changes you made and which of these worked and which didn’t work.
In the spirit of this practice I’ve put together a workbook to explore in this new moon/new year phase to get clarity and direction for going forwards. Please remember to use the information from the review exercise in my December post to bolster this practice.
I borrowed this practice from a podcast by Kate Northrup (queen of doing less to achieve more) and her husband Mike Watts, where they shared that they have a special book that they pull out at the end of each year to review the past year and set goals for the next (and also review the goals they set for the year that has just ended). They suggest using your Google Calendar or other calendar to review the year and jog your memory. If you have a journal that will be wonderful to help you review the year.
Remember that we need to be clear on what has worked, what hasn’t and what we liked and want more of to really bring about transformation rather than taking a couple of shots in the dark and hope that it will just work out!
If you feel up to it you could even do this exercise a 2nd time with a focus on your 10-year plan! Why not set up some intentions for the next decade as we move into 2020!
Here are a few notes on using the accompanying workbook:
Only answer the areas that feel relevant or adapt as needed to make them relevant.
With regard to the health section, when considering what worked and didn’t work consider what I have shared about how the tendency to hold, do, and be extra self-reliant can lead to depletion. Consider where you have adapted yourself and are not standing in your truth. Look at self-care practices and also practices to help you feel safe, secure and calm that I have shared in the Chronic Exhaustion Facebook Group (e.g. breathing, meditation, visualisation, grounding, talking to your inner child).
Look at what times of the day, the month, the seasons and the year were the hardest and see if you can adapt your routine this year to factor in doing less during these times so you have more energy to do more in the times when you feel good. Consider the lunar cycle, the menstrual cycle and general seasonal and annual patterns to notice your own patterns. Remember that you cannot function the same 24/7/365 so looking back at when you function well helps you to plan your life/goals/activities around these times. Notice when you are more inward and more outward in your energy and plan your schedule and socialising around these times. Ask yourself what had you done differently when you were feeling really good – supplements, diet, mindset, social life, creativity, self-care practices. These are all questions you can consider to review this area of your life.
When I talk about quantifiable goals these are where you can get all SMART about it! (That stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). These are typical new year resolutions that many people set. Can I encourage you to please try not to set down an entire thesis of how you think you need to be better and set yourself up for failure. Keep these goals realistic and achievable and also remember that these are preferences and not shoulds. Don’t forget to use what you uncover through the workbook so these goals are informed and conscious.
The qualifiable goals are how you would like to feel and what you would like to be e.g. to be more calm with the children and just hold what goes wrong with an attitude of ‘mistakes happen and we can all learn and grow from this!); to experience more ease and relaxation on a daily basis etc.
If this all just feels too much perhaps just choose one or two areas that are really important to you to be your focus for this year. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You can write a few words or write pages. Make the practice your own and only do it if resonates with you and feels like it will be of value versus feeling you ‘should’ as it seems the ‘right’ thing to do.
How about being more conscious but chucking perfect as some of your new year’s intentions!