As the year comes to an end, many people feel compelled to do something. What that something is varies from reflecting on the year's successes and failures, in some form bringing closure to the year, or creating vision boards and planning for the future. I would suggest finding some combination that leaves you embracing presence.
It is important to reflect on the year, but it is even more important to do so without judgment. Is that really possible? YES! Instead of using language that already implies judgment, go about things a bit differently. For example, instead of categorising situations as successes and failures, you can:
- recall what goals and/or intentions you set at the beginning of the year and speak gratitude for what you were able to do and recognise what requires a different approach going forward;
- observe the (unforeseen) circumstances that changed your direction and to what extent those changes served your vision;
- practice self-compassion.
When creating a new plan for the new year, it is similarly important to not let your wants and desires have you caught up. A few small shifts in mindset can ease the pressure an achievement-driven approach to long-term planning often brings.
- Goals are results-oriented and can thus be really useful for short-term missions. However, setting intentions for mid- to long-term plans allows room for flexibility and adaptability as they become necessary. Intentions are process-oriented and thus provide space for learning throughout.
- Focusing on a position can leave you with little wiggle room, so bring your attention to the underlying interest(s). For example, instead of setting a goal to meditate for 30 minutes everyday, you can set an intention to strengthen your meditation practice so that it becomes regular and feels less like a chore. In this example, the underlying interest is to build a habit of regular meditation without it feeling forced. Forcing oneself to meditate 30 minutes a day will leave a person disappointed, or worse, not meditating on the days they feel like they can't find the 30 minutes they require to do so.
- Practice self-compassion by planning less. Leave room for joy, for the painful, for the unexpected. Leave room to slow down, to breathe.
And that brings us back to presence.
Wishing everyone a safe and soulful journey into 2018!