Practical Well-Being

Kinder, Gentler New Year's Resolutions

Begin the New Year with clarity, ready for new opportunities.

Kinder, Gentler New Year's Resolutions
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Another new year is dawning! How are you feeling as you sit on the precipice of 2014?

Whether you are happily swirling with the energy of the holidays or have chosen a more quiet path this winter, it’s likely that whispers of New Year’s resolutions are now edging into your thoughts. Our culture pushes us to create these resolutions. Our list of “shoulds” surreptitiously punctures our daydreams and urges us forward to begin January with a plan. No one says we have to. Yet with winter’s chill encouraging us to hibernate and be internally focused, it could be a good time to take stock of what has and has not been working and let that help determine how to move forward, resolutions or not.

Making a list of things to do and checking it twice is our standby; but let’s approach 2014 from a different perspective. This is an invitation to look instead at how you “be” rather than at what you do. We all have the ability to present ourselves in a myriad of ways. We can be coy, confident, gentle, loving, aggressive, persistent, detached, attentive, forceful, considerate, and so much more. How you show up in a situation, which “you” you bring, heavily influences its outcome. The more aware you are of all your ways of being and their varying degrees of efficacy, the more choices you have about bringing your best “you” to the forefront.

Taking stock honestly of what has been working and what hasn’t will allow you to mark this time on the calendar with a heightened awareness and a better understanding of yourself. Then you can begin the New Year cleanly and with clarity, ready for new opportunities.

To make the process easy and swift, find about 30 minutes when you won’t be interrupted and have plenty of paper ready. Writing longhand forces your mind to slow down and is better than the computer for this. Do your best to be gentle and observe yourself from a neutral perspective. Close your eyes, take several deep abdominal breaths to calm and clear your mind, and invite your neutral self to come forward. Now make a list of the assorted ways of being you bring to all your interactions with others. Reflect also on how you think others may perceive you. Others’ perceptions and reactions are powerful information because they are indicators of how we’re showing up.