Read the latest from our columnist, transformational counsellor, and blogger, Lisa Bent. Check in each month, right here, where she covers personal development, mental health, social issues and a whole lot more…
Welcome to December and my last article for 2017. This month “tis the season to be jolly” as we exchange gifts, be with loved ones and enjoy some time off. For me this month is also about reflection, resetting and renewing, as I review the year gone by and plan for the new year ahead.
Reflection, which is part of self-awareness, is one of the most important skills and traits to possess. “New Year, New Me” is a saying that I hear a lot throughout December and January every year. It sounds good but unless reflection takes place, it will be ‘New Year, Same Me’.
To move forward you have to look back and reflect to see how far you have come; what you did or did not achieve and why. As humans, ‘why?’ is a constant question when things happen outside of our control as we need to try to understand. The same question applies to self, ‘Why didn’t I do that?’ or ‘Why did I do that?’ I would say is not always present at the forefront of self-analysis.
So many of us fall off the goal wagon before the end of January. This is due to a few factors, the goal wasn’t broken down over a set period of time, passion and/or purpose was not in the goal but negative self-talk was.
Below are a few questions, answer the one that you identify with the most.
1.Did you keep your promise to go to the gym 3 times a week? If not, why not?
2.Did you cut out the unhealthy things the doctor told you to? if not, why not?
3.Did you follow through on a project, hobby, course? If not, why not?
4.Did you hit your savings target? If not, why not?
5.Did you learn the new language you wanted to this year? If not, why not?
I will take a guess and say a lack of time will appear in some of these answers. It’s easy to blame time as time cannot respond, but it continues with or without you. Therefore, it isn’t lack of time it is lack of time management. I get it. I understand it.
At times, I think my whole purpose on this earth is to master the meaning of work/life balance. Balance isn’t attainable, (I’m sorry, but it isn’t) Balance visually for me is a set of scales at the same level, I have tried to get this and that is like searching for perfection, that is unattainable too.
So instead, this year harmonizing is what I have tried to do; dance and be in a loving work and life flow. It’s like one of the dances on Strictly Come Dancing, where the male dancer leads (work) and the female dancer (personal/life) is in harmony and in sync but when she sees a little space she jumps into the splits, does a backflip and spins before rejoining her partner. Both are together and yet separate but they are in harmony nevertheless.
Time is a rhythm you can’t beat. We all have the same hours in a day, and we all portion it up differently. Your body also has a rhythm, are you listening to it? Reset. Use the Christmas holidays to wind down. Reflection and stillness go well together so carve out uninterrupted time for you. Reset your body and your mind.
Self-talk is the biggest destroyer of plans. Your mind (out of fear) tells you all the reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t do something. Reflect on the plans and the things you didn’t do and identify what your negative self-talk said. See how it is untrue and reset. Wipe clean. Clean slate. Create. Renew.
By November I am usually shattered, the change in weather, darker evenings and mornings – so I welcome the break in December. Lie-in’s, good food and chill time renews my mind and body. Reflecting and resetting enables me to choose to create new thoughts and ideas about myself and situations. When you are in it, you are sometimes too close and cannot see the wood for the trees. Looking back will allow you to see things without the intense emotion which will help inform you on how to move forward.
If you fell off the goal wagon don’t beat yourself up, understand why you fell off. Many people rather than understanding, decide not to make goals as it upsets them when they fail. If you identify this as something you do, I invite you to reflect as the lack of self-responsibility is likely to show up in other areas of your life. Look back to find the pattern. Reset. Renew.
Each of us is on a journey, with different paths and purposes. Within that journey we experience and encounter many things that impact how we react, think and behave. By reviewing what we have done, said we were going to do and didn’t do, to acknowledging how we feel about things, we can identify what we need to do to attain better health, well-being and of course our goals. So reviewing this year and acknowledging your achievements is a great thing to do before launching into the next.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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