Happy New Year!
When we think of a New Year, we think of a new beginning - a chance for a 'whole new you'. There can be a lot of pressure on us to start the year off with a big bang and set a whole lot of big goals.
Living in the Northern Hemisphere, the Gregorian Calendar gives us New Years Day right in the middle of winter. A time when much of nature is dormant, sleeping through the cold spell and waiting for the world to reawaken.
How about we let ourselves have this time to rest instead of pushing ourselves to be a new, improved version of ourselves?
January isn't the ideal time to be pushing ourselves to lose weight, do more exercise, learn to speak a new language..... So let's look at some ways we can take a more mindful approach to the New Year.
Be gentle with yourself
A New Year can be a good time for a fresh start and to make positive changes, but there can also be a lot of unrealistic expectations. Be gentle with yourself as you enter the New Year.
Remember that progress takes time, that it is OK to take things slowly and focus on the process rather than the outcome. Practice self-compassion rather that self-criticism.
Listen to what your body needs
When we're being inundated with messages to kick start our diet in the new year or try this new workout to get the 'perfect body' remember to listen to your body. What does it need? A hardcore exercise class or a gentle walk in the woods? A low calorie diet or nourishing foods to sustain your body in the depths of winter? Listen to how your body is feeling and what it needs right now.
Set mindful intentions
What is the difference between a goal and an intention? A goal is the outcome that you want to acheive in the future. An intention is a theme you can harness to create alignment in your life. An intention gives you a purpose to focus on.
New Year Goals can often be big and lofty, and put a lot of pressure on us to attain them. Then when we don't, we feel the burn of failure.
Instead create intentions for how you want to feel or how you want your life to look. Think an intention of 'I want to nourish my body with healthy foods' rather than a goal of losing 10lbs.
Connect with Nature
It is easy to lose our connection with nature in the winter, when it is cold and wet outside. Yet nature gives us a sense of peace and calm, and can help reduce stress. Wrap up warm and go for a walk around a park, or go for a winter walk on the beach or even just take your morning coffee outside to enjoy the fresh air.
Rather than jumping into the new year with both feet, trying to achieve endless goals straight away, start taking small steps to get where you want to be. If you want to exercise more, rather than expecting to be able to run 10k straight away, start small with a 10 minute walk and gradually build up. Slowly start adding healthier, more nourishing foods into your diet to replace the junk food rather than trying to overhaul your whole diet in one go.
Take some time to focus on loving and nurturing yourself. Reflect on what brings you joy and happiness. Take time to relax and practice self-care, letting yourself have enough sleep, and eating healthy meals. Do something each day that brings you peace - reading a book, writing in your journal, soaking in an aromatherapy bath.