So here we are January 2nd 2017 and social media is awash with posts declaring New Years Resolutions and so for some the pressure begins to build. Did you know that 90% of New Years Resolutions are broken by January 15th. So why, at this time of year, do we set ourselves up to fail in the face of someone else’s ideal? In our mind the dialogue of what we ‘should’ be doing rings loudly! Yet, just for a moment, ask yourself ‘does this fill me with joy’? If it does, great! If it doesn’t, there may be another way.
For the last 3 years I have not set any New Years Resolutions, don’t get me wrong, over the last 3 years I have achieved some incredible things, both personally and professionally. Some of the highlights of this year have been, training for and completing the gruelling Yorkshire warrior in April. Alongside that, collaborating with 2 other amazing coaches to deliver a brand new 6-month Lifestyle programme, encompassing Leadership, Health and Nutrition and Mindset, a pilot programme, which we will continue to build on this year. I’ve also embarked on the path to become a PSYCH-K Instructor, which will mean that I can teach the technique that I use with all my clients. I always get to work with the most amazing clients too and have met and worked with some really incredible people this year, all of whom make me feel very humble with their commitment to change.
It certainly has been an amazing year of achievement! But I didn’t achieve all of this by setting New Years Resolutions.
So what does resolution mean to me… Well, the dictionary definition is quite clear, but also very interesting and goes some way to explain to me why I feel the way I do about New Years resolutions.
Noun: resolution; plural noun: resolutions
- A firm decision to do or not to do something.
- The quality of being determined or resolute.
- The action of solving a problem or contentious matter – The peaceful resolution of all disputes.
Music. – The passing of a discord into a concord during the course of changing harmony.
Medicine. – The disappearance of a symptom or condition.
Chemistry. –The process of reducing or separating something into constituent parts or components.
- The smallest interval measurable by a telescope or other scientific instrument; the resolving power. The degree of detail visible in a photographic or television image. – ‘High resolution monitor.’
Latin – resolvere – to loosen, release
What I began to realise over the years and especially working with clients, supporting them to achieve their goals, is that when we set New Years Resolutions we aren’t using the word resolution to it’s fullest potential. To me, the Latin roots in the word ‘resolvere’, to loosen and release are where the beauty lies at the beginning of a New Year.
As we leave behind the previous year, for me, it is extremely important to allow myself a period of reflection, that goes beyond the first few days of the New Year, whilst the Christmas decorations still hang in front of our eyes and the smell of fireworks linger in the air.
I believe that if we dash headlong into the New Year at breakneck speed we miss a fundamental opportunity to really acknowledge and release the experiences, gifts and opportunities from the previous year. Sometimes these come in the guise of extremely painful experiences that we would rather not think about or just forget and move on. I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘I’m so glad to see the back of 2016!’ Whilst that may be true, I know from experience that those difficult times also have the potential to create the biggest growth for us, if we allow them.
I work with clients all the time who have encountered the most difficult of times and are absolutely shining examples of courage and grace, using their experiences to make them better people and to help others, this is often because they have achieved some level of resolution. I have also worked with those who feel stuck, or remain attached to experiences from the past that continues to torture them in the present because they haven’t yet achieved the resolution they are looking for. Let me be very clear, there is never any judgement here, we are all absolutely doing the best we can with what life presents. However, I too, like many of us have personal experience of the value of space to reflect, and to heal, and to let go, whether alone or supported by someone else. I also have experience of the energy it takes to carry past grief or hurt with us through day to day life and the wisdom of the body in trying to alert us to this.
So when I look at the full meaning behind the word and the roots of the word Resolution, I see and feel a different energy. For me it is about reflection, creating space to review, and I mean really review every aspect of 2016, the things left undone, giving them space to resolve. I ask myself what do I need to do to achieve completion if something feels undone.
In the past when I have entered a New Year or any other period of time with a fixed idea of what I have wanted to achieve, it has felt brittle and hard and things don’t grow organically this way, not for me anyway. When I have focused single-mindedly on achieving things in a particular way, I have often missed other opportunities, because I’m too focused on a given outcome. What I have learned is that it’s fantastic to have Goals, heck I have lots of goals for this year and I set goals every single month, smaller goals that are taking me towards my big Goals. However, I listen and I watch and I stay open along the way so that I now no longer miss opportunities and I SEE pathways opening up that I could never have dreamed of if I had a fixed idea of how things should look. I no longer get frustrated because things aren’t going the way I planned, instead I trust that there is a bigger plan, a plan that is much bigger than I can see.
During 2016 I wrote an online course in its entirety and was committed to delivering it, or at least launching it by the end of the year. However, here I am at the beginning of 2017 and I haven’t launched. Why? Because I have followed the energy of where 2016 has taken me, and I know, even though I have talked to clients about my course, that it’s still not ready to be birthed, maybe it never will be. I no longer have any investment in the outcome when birthing new things, I’ve found that they tend to quickly take on a life of their own and we become their guide as much as their creator, they become ready when the time is right. In October 2016 I realised that there is something else I need to do first, another part of the jigsaw revealed itself and this part must come first. It’s possible that the course may never happen, at this stage I’m not sure, nothing is lost, I use the tools I’ve created for my course all the time in my 1-1 sessions, either way I know the way forward will become clear. So the key is to remain flexible and unconcerned if this makes me look flaky to others. Hell, I’ve achieved so many other things this year I’m sure it will counteract this dodgy belief which emerged that others might think I’m a bit flaky if I don’t follow through and launch, and if it doesn’t I’ll just change that dodgy belief!
There is another reason why I feel compelled to share my ideas about this subject and that is to do with the numerology of the Year 2016 versus 2017. 2016 is a number 9 Year, which is all about completion and letting go of old patterns, essentially tying up lose ends. Lots of my clients were feeling this in a big way towards the end of the year but didn’t really know why, they just felt a need to resolve situations or emotions and to let go. The opposite is true of the energy around 2017. 2017 is a number 1 Year. This is all about new beginnings, new starts and cycles. Look at the many celebrity deaths throughout 2016 and especially in December. This is the beginning of a New Year but also of a new cycle a kind of rebirth, so there is incredible potential to create whatever you want. BUT, it’s also very important not to drag any old stuff with you that might slow you down.
SO here is my own personal guide for you to check in with when thinking about making any New Years Resolution.
- Does the idea of New Years resolution fill you with energy and ‘get up and go’, or does it drain your energy and feel like a ‘should’, instead of a ‘could?’
- If the idea of making a firm decision to do or not do something is based on running in the opposite direction from something. Look at why you are running. What created that habit or behaviour? How is it serving you in some way? Look at what’s under the surface and work with that.
- Be compassionate with yourself, you are NOT broken and you do NOT need fixing. You may have strayed a little off your path and are not keen on where you have found yourself right now, but remember that you are doing the best you can and that no one got anywhere fast by endlessly berating themselves.
- Take a good look at 2016 and look at what is left unresolved, allow yourself to fully look at this and again be compassionate in your approach. In order to galvanise energy to move forward into the New Year it’s helpful to let go of the things that we are hanging onto that are draining our energy. It’s like clearing the clutter to make space for new things!
- Did you know that symptoms that show up in our body are often signposts or messengers, when we truly listen to them and seek emotional resolution (often what’s under the surface) those symptoms/messengers have done their job and there is the potential for them to be released. Our body, mind and spirit are able to seek harmony this way.
- When we look at the previous year and separate it into its constituent parts, (these parts divided into any way that is meaningful to you), such as, family, relationships, work, fun and adventure, health etc. When we do this and review these areas in ‘high resolution’ clearly seeing what is working and what is not, we really see the pathway ahead.
- From this place it is easy to set goals, to define your direction and to harness the energy to take you there.
- Finally, ask yourself, who do I need to be in 2017? What do I need to believe to be the best me I can be in 2017? Follow what makes you feel good, not what others expect of you!
This is what I’ll be doing throughout January and by the beginning of February I will have fully engaged with 2017, having let go of 2016 in the best possible way, in gratitude for all the gifts it has given me.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts…
If there is anything I can help you to achieve or let go of in 2017 I’d be honoured to do so.
photography credit – Brigitte Tohm / unsplash.com