A recent visit to the theatre to see the wonderful A Christmas Carol made me think about the need to take stock of the past to ground myself firmly in the present and make the most of the time that we have yet to spend.
So, this blog is the first of a two-parter to wave off the old year. The second part will help you to kick off the new with a different take on the commercial ‘New Year Resolutions.’ This first part focuses on looking back at 2017 and assessing what you’ve learnt or are grateful for before you get caught up in New Year festivities and resolution mania.
As we limber up to the brand spanking New Year, the newspapers are full of stories, pictures and sound bites of the year ‘that was’, nationally and internationally. Before you embrace the annual New Year Resolution extravaganza of aims, exercise regimes, new you’s and diets spare a moment in the next few days to recap on what the year has meant for you. Take time to express gratitude and really appreciate the events of the past year.
Osouji to clean the corners of your mind
In Japan, there are many new year traditions, one that has stayed with me is the new year cleaning ritual Osouji which I have reframed as a psychological tool as well as a practical one. As well as cleaning the home I like to check in with my heart and mind at regular intervals. At this time of year especially when we take time to pause and take stock, it’s a time to see whether there is anything to say goodbye to or hold on to. Before we can welcome anything or anyone new into our lives, be it new clothes or furniture, or a relationship, we have to make physical and psychological space. The same is true with our hearts and minds – make space before you welcome in new thoughts or intentions for the year to come.
There’ll have been good times and bad. Of the latter, there may have been a few that can be reframed into positive life lessons. For better or for worse, take time to still your thoughts and focus on the lessons of 2017.
My Top Five 2017 Takeaways
It is really difficult to select five – I have chosen those that I can build on in the year to come:
1. Top of the pops for me has been spending time with loved ones and being grateful for all of the positive things in their lives.
2. A close second has been good health and normal inflammatory markers which means I am managing Crohn’s well through my alternative diet and lifestyle choices.
3. Third place goes to the head bang on Easter Sunday that fuelled my sixth sense and made me more grateful for life itself – eager not to miss a moment.
4. Fourth place is the knock-on effect of number 3 – it has encouraged me to write more often and through the setting of deadlines I’ve written with more purpose in the past six months than my entire life to date!
5. And last, but not least, in fifth place, I’ve chosen to celebrate the positive effects of the mind-body marriage through yoga and meditation.
Once you’ve made your own list of 2017 Takeaways think about whether you want different ones to be on the list at the end of next year. Or, are some of your 2017 takeaways keepers?
Although there are many life events that we can’t control, there are some that are within our field of influence. In advance of 31st December take the time to look back and reflect before you let out the old to make space for the new.
In Part two I will help you to tap into life-affirming resolutions that have real meaning for you…