Thursday, January 01, 2009

A New Year (a new opportunity to get it right)

I don't really make New Year's Resolutions, because I've never been good at sticking to them. But I do find the beginning of the year a good time to reflect on my past and to look forward to and plan my future. This post is a result of my reflecting on how to approach it this year.

I think before making resolutions it's important to review the past and evaluate how I have been living my life. What have I done in the past year? Are there things I might have done differently? Have I been a good person? How have I contributed to my wellbeing and the wellbeing of others? What skills and lessons did I learn? Did I grow spiritually? How did I treat myself physically? How are my relationships with the people who are important to me? How is my job going? Am I being the best person I can be in all areas of my life?

I think it's important to look back at these things without judgment. "It's not good or bad, it just is." Evaluating is not about beating yourself up; it's about determining where you stand on your journey. Before you can move forward, you must look at where you've been.

I can evaluate myself in a loving, non-critical way. It's okay that I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish. It's okay that sometimes I tried and failed. The good news is, it's not too late to try again. I can start over. Failure is part of learning. As with many things in this life, the journey is sometimes more important than the destination.

Everything that happens to us teaches us something. If in the past year I have had some hard times, I will look carefully at them to see what lessons they brought me. Did the experiences make me stronger? Did I learn something about myself? Can I use those lessons to make better choices in the future? If I answer no to all of those questions, I need to look within. Perhaps I didn't recognize the lesson at the time, but if I can see it now and learn from it, it will help me in the future. What might I have done differently? How might I have reacted differently to things I couldn't control? Hindsight is invaluable in preparing for the future.

It's also important to make note of all of the positive things that I did over the past year, the big ones and the little ones. I will pat myself on the back for the challenges I overcame and for the things I did to improve myself, my life and the lives of those around me. Maybe I didn't accomplish all my goals, but I made steps toward them. Even baby steps are important and deserve recognition.

This is also a good time to make a list of the things I am grateful for. What blessings came my way this year? What good times did I share with friends and family? It is important to acknowledge and be thankful for them and for all the good things in my life. And though it's not as easy, it's as or sometimes even more important to be grateful for the bad things too.

Once I have evaluated and gained an understanding of my recent past, I can begin creating my future. There are a lot of different ways to go about this. Visualization, outlines, lists, resolutions, vision boards, etc. My only "resolution" will be to make better choices. It will help me make better choices if I know where I'm going. If I know what I want in my life and what kind of person I want to be, it will help me make conscious choices in my day to day life.

In general, I will be working on the following areas: healthy living (eating better, exercising, using/consuming more natural products); clearing clutter; volunteering; improving my home; and spending more time with people I care about.

I am going to start my new year tomorrow. I will have some time to myself in the afternoon while Husband works, and I'm going to use that time for some serious meditation and reflection. I'm beginning Denise Linn's 28 day soul coaching program that day, and the first thing you do is evaluate where you are in your life and what you want to improve. (The Soul Coaching program is about spiritual cleansing, renewal and transformation. It involves clearing away mental, emotional and physical clutter in order to listen to your soul.)

Whatever you do at this time of year, I hope that the coming year brings you everything you desire.


  1. I love your post.

    I think reflection is important...maybe more important than making new promises.

    I've had a really rough year emotionally. But I don't fully regret it because I've learned so much.

    Someone had this really great analogy on their blog. You'd love it. I'd love to show it to you, but it was a locked entry.

    I'll try to recap. It pretty much talked about a carrot, egg, and coffee being put into boiling water. The carrot starts out strong, but becomes weak with the boiling water. The egg starts out weak...actually, not sure what happens to the egg. I guess it survives. But the best is the coffee because the boiling water makes it turn into something great.

    I guess what it's saying though is it matters less what happened to us...good or bad. I don't even know if it matters how we initially handled it all. I think it matters how we came out of it in the end.

    I had a HUGE fight with my family. It involved hysterical crying and me throwing a plate. It was a horrible scene. I felt close to having a breakdown. It was followed with fights via email and a month of coldness between me and my family.

    But to me what matters is we joke about that day now. We all get along again. We're speaking. We're fine. I'm not sitting in a mental hospital.

    I went through something bad, but I survived.

    It's kind of like I don't look at myself and feel ashamed for having had an eating disorder. I look at myself and feel proud that I overcame an eating disorder.

    Does that make sense?


    I sent out the package!! It might take a few weeks to get there.

  2. It makes perfect sense! Today's soul coaching exercise is to look back at events in your life and give them new meaning. Yesterday it was remembering the turning points of your life and when I was doing that, I did give one new meaning (not knowing that was today's exercise). You have given your experience with an eating disorder new meaning - realizing it wasn't something to be ashamed of. Good for you!! It's very empowering.